On this page there will be various videos demonstrating the special effects used in Lauren's harp ensemble piece Harps Across the North.
Demonstration VIDEOS COMING SHORTLY!!!
Hope is the Thing with Feathers
Inspired by the poem by Emily Dickenson, Hope is the Thing with Feathers is a Round in four parts and incorporates preparation with cardboard in the middle octave to create the effect of pitched drums. Inspired by the sense of 'ritual' and 'power' behind the New Zealand Haka, the Maori word for "hope" - tumanako - is broken up into separate syllables and woven into the Round so that the word in it's entirety is chanted three times throughout the piece.
Hope is the Thing with Feathers was written for the Old Malton Harp Group in North Yorkshire and funded by PRS Foundation Women Make Music.
Inspired by the Rain Stone poem by Simon Armitage,
Freshwater Tears is written in four parts and uses various extended techniques to create the effect of raindrops including xylophonics, percussive tapping on the harps and a special tremelo xylophonic glissando technique which Lauren has developed. This piece is inspired by the joy of rain which is so beautiful demonstrated in the poem,
Freshwater Tears was written for Harps North West in Cumbria and funded by PRS Foundation Women Make Music.
the sun and her flowers
Inspired by a short poem by Rupi Kaur, the sun and her flowers is written in four parts and uses various preparations including paper woven between the strings to make the sound of a Kalimba, paperclips & coils placed on the base of strings to make the sound of buzzing bees, and clips placed on a bass note to sound like a joyous and raucous rattle in the final part of this piece. After a calm introduction of short cadenzas the sun wakes up and the sound of the kalimba creates a groove over which the flowers dance.
the sun and her flowers was written for Harps of the North directed by Anita Aslin and funded by PRS Foundation Women Make Music.
In Autumn 2020, during a brief hiatus in between UK lockdowns, I was involved in a project to video a solo piece by my husband, Andy Scott with five incredible harpists.
Commissioned by Sioned Williams and premiered by her at the Purcell Room at the Southbank, London, Jukebox by Andy Scott was originally a five movement work based around the concept of a 1950's jukebox playing a series of vinyl singles of differing styles.
In 2020, Andy decided to write a new movement to complete the work, and this video is the media premier of this new and final version. Sioned plays the first (and newest) movement RPM, followed by Keziah Thomas JUMP, I play VINYL, Alex Rider GROOVE, Elizabeth Bass STYLUS and Eleanor Turner TURNTABLE.
It wasn't at all stressful recording our movements in the studio with all the other harpists watching!! It was such a joy to work on this project with such great harpists, and you can really tell from the concentration on our faces how much work we all put in to this project. The music needs to have a really strong internal pulse to be able to groove, and like Andy's other pieces for harp, it is challenging to play but very also very rewarding.
It's a fantastic new suite for solo harp (just under 15 minutes duration) and I really hope it will become a piece other harpists will want to learn and perform. PDF of sheet music available HERE
I've been thinking a lot lately about how much of my creative output is influence by words and images. Most of my recent compositions have been in direct response to poems that have hit home to me. Poetry by Christina Rossetti, Emily Dickenson, Simon Armitage and Rupi Kaur have all inspired music in me this past year.
I've always been interested in art since my school days when I studied it at A level. At the time I was in sixth form in London and by luck my school was in Pimlico and I would regularly go with a friend to the cafe at the Tate Gallery on The Embankment. Every time we went we would do a quick tour of our favourite paintings before descending down to the cafe for a cup of Earl Grey tea. It all seemed the height of sophistication as a teenager in the 1980s!
And here I am over 30 years later, starting a compositional journey as a middle aged woman in my 50s with all the poetry and imagery I've greedily consumed over the years swirling around my head, inspiring me to make music and it makes my heart sing.
Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging on Harpyness for over 10 years.
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