I'm not sure whether it's a peculiarity of the shape of my fingers, but over the years I have developed a technique for loud orchestral glisses when you just don't have time in the music to grab and use a felt pick. I can only do it with my 2nd finger (in both hands) so it only applies to upward glisses.
Its using the whole side of the 2nd finger
instead of the normal playing part of the finger tip.
So the main part in contact with the string is the boney part just below the first finger joint.
I find I can get a very loud sound - not as loud as using picks but louder than the normal way of playing them, and most importantly I have complete control over the tone and dynamic.
The down side though is that as well getting blisters on the finger in the normal playing position you also can end up with blisters on the side of your finger as well - so double the blisters on your 2nd fingers!
I was playing Elgar's Dream of Gerontious on Saturday (with only 1 harp instead of 2) so by time I got to doing a childrens concert at the Phil the next morning my fingers were really sore. I didn't think there was going to be much for me to do in the childrens concert, but there was the usual thing of not getting the music until the day and finding a surprise harp cadenza right at the end of the concert!
It was just a sort of extended flourish using glissandi but it was really useful using my odd gliss technique as my fingers were so sore.
I really need to find a name for this technique!
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Lauren Scott is a harpist & composer and has been blogging for over 10 years.
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