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Name That Tune!

Obviously music is a very important feature for special occasions. The music page on my website is titled “Partial Song List” because, although there are more than 160 pieces on my website list, I’m always adding new pieces, and there isn’t room to list every single piece I can play or have in my files. This includes music for orchestra, weddings, funerals, Christmas (sacred and secular), Hanukkah, parties, popular tunes, Celtic music, classical, standards from the “Great American Songbook,” New Age, light jazz, hymns, music from movies, TV, and Broadway shows; the list is long and always growing.

Some clients ask if I can play music not on my song list. I like to keep an open mind and open ears. We are so fortunate today to have amazing amounts of written music available via online retailers; a small percentage is arranged specially for harp; most is not. So we end up using a lot of piano music and making our own arrangements from that. (I have published four arrangements specifically for harp which are carried by the major harp music retailers: “A Thousand Years,” “Thinking Out Loud,” “Believe,” and “Wexford Carol.”)

The work to make a “harp-friendly" arrangement can take literally hours; then I have to learn and “live with” the piece and make adjustments to try to make it sound as much as possible like the original you love. Sometimes I have to rewrite the entire piece to make it work on the harp. Multiply that by X number of events, and you can see there must be a limit on how many pieces can be done. There are only so many hours in the day!

Some pieces don’t transfer well to the harp because of technical issues with the way the instrument functions or because the harp’s characteristic sound doesn’t best serve the music’s intent. In those cases I will suggest an alternate selection.

I do not charge for the time it takes to find and, if necessary, rewrite a piece; however the client is responsible for the cost of the music I need to work from, which is usually between $5 and $10 per piece, and I must choose the version which will best suit the harp. (I had one client who sent me a link to a free arrangement she found online of a popular song she wanted. It turned out to be harmonica music! I’d never seen anything like it and couldn’t make heads or tails of it.) Because of the time required to prepare music not in my repertoire, I must limit requests to no more than two pieces per client.

Some harpists specialize in certain styles of music, and very few of us do everything equally well. All of us do the best we can because we want to make you happy, and we want to share what we love about the harp with others.

Please call or send an email if you have any questions. I’d love to hear from you!

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