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Writing for Harp Workshop

It's really such a wonderful feeling to have a project completed. Yesterday, I presented my first "official" harp workshop! 🎉 🎉 🎉

I have been planning this workshop for quite some time, but I never found the right time to consolidate all the information I had and I was simply consulted by composers whenever they had a question. It has been an absolute privilege to have worked with so many student composers during my studies in both Singapore and in Boston. But in working with them, I realised that most composers are uncertain about the possibilities and limitations of the harp - resulting in either too conservative or too adventurous harp parts. I felt that this workshop was an absolute necessity for composers to gain a better understanding for the harp, and hopefully compose more for the harp. Because honestly the harp has such little repertoire. If composers don't want to write for us, we will never actually get more repertoire.

Thankfully and finally during this summer, I had a nice long break which resulted in doing more work and it was not really a break in the end..but that's okay because I'm so glad that this workshop is a success! Hopefully I will be able to bring this to more composers and/or schools and manage to share the harp with everyone.

Talking about important harp things

I treated this more as a casual soiree with a bunch of friends, but covered whatever I thought was necessary. In this session, I covered a great deal about standard notation for all sorts of techniques (plucking, glissandi, nails, pedals etc.) and also about the possibilities and limitations for each and every technique on the harp.

I also shared about the handout I made (for a price of course, poor musicians have to make money) which consolidated all the information I could possibly give about notating for the harp. Essentially, the access that the composers bought would be life-long and I would keep updating the handout when I get new information/ideas. So the handout would not be outdated and honestly, would be a sort of a everything-you-need-to-know-about-writing-for-harp handbook in the future. Fingers crossed!

The entire workshop/session/soiree-like thing was a download of tons of harp information, (maybe too much for one session actually) but the composers seemed to enjoy it and gained a lot, so I'm just glad that I could share about my wonderful instrument.

Of course I hope that this will not be the last of the workshops. -CUE BLATANT ADVERTISEMENT- If you or your school is interested to hold one of these workshops, or if you’d like life-time access to the handout, please email me for more details and I would be more than happy to share more about writing for the harp.

A pity some people had to leave early, but it was an absolute pleasure talking with these bunch of lovely composers.

xx, lishan

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