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Irish Harp Lesson 1 - [The Basics] Start Here

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hi guys my name is Lisa Connie I'm from

can't email and I will be your tutor for

the beginners harp program here on the

online Academy of Irish music Oh AI mie

and what you can expect from this course

is to start from the very very beginning

and learn the basics to Irish lever harp

playing and there's a lot of different

techniques to playing harp and we'll go

through them nice and slowly and you can

expect to have about six or seven new

tunes in your repertoire by the end of

this program too so I hope you enjoy it

so the first thing that we're going to

need to do is introduce you to your

instrument and we're gonna start from

the very beginning as I said so this is

my harp and I have a currently tuned to

be flash which means that with all of my

blades down all of my levers here with

all of them down I can play from b-flat

up to b-flat and it's perfect scale so

that's how I've chosen to shoot my harp

at the moment and it's a good way to

start and whatever way you'd like to

tune it yourself but if you'd like to

copy what I'm doing so it's b-flat and

then to get it into the key of C major

which is kind of our starting point

we're gonna put up all of the e blades

and the B blades now if you're unsure of

where the notes are let's start with

that first so all of the reds are all

C's they're all C naturals all of the

blue or black whatever color you have

their strings they are all F natural


from those colored strings that you

figure out what all the other notes are

so for example you can see me there if

you start with the red @c next one's

gonna be D flat C so that's how you

figure out what your notes are and as

you can hear from this that's not quite

a perfect major scale so what we need to

do is put up the ease so find your E and

put up the blade put up the leaver and

find your B's and put up the leaver

and we'll just hear what that scale

sounds like now so now you can see that

we've a perfect C major scales so I want

you to do the very same for every octave

on the heart put up the B's and the ease

or whatever blades you need to put up to

put your harp into the key of C major

and you test it by going from red to red

and making a perfect scale so once

you're in the key of C the next thing is

to start actually making sure that the

tube the harp is in tune so I use an

electronic tuner to help me along with

class and then we're ready to start

actually learning some tunes

so the first thing that we need to learn

is how to hold our fingers and our hands

on the harp and how to actually pluck

the strings and there's a lot of

technique involved in how to pluck the

strings to get a nice tone and also in

how to move between the strings so this

will take a little bit of time and give

yourself that time be patient and it's

one of those things that once you get it

you'll never forget it

but it might take a little bit of a

while to tanios

so what we're going to learn first is

the simple scale of C and I'm going to

apply all of the techniques that you

need to learn as we go along so we're

first gonna use two hands we're going to

use both our left and our right and just

so you can see there we're going to call

our thumb number 1 2 3 4 5 so 2 3 4 & 5

and we don't actually use our baby

fingers at all so you can get rid of 5

but we do use our thumbs and our 2 3 4

so we're going to do is place our fourth

finger in our left hand on see the red

third finger beside it on D 2nd finger

on e you can see there and come on now

before we go any further I want you to

lift that pump lift it up so that you

can see it changes the shape of my hand

from there to there so it's very very

very important that you keep your thumb

up and comparison to the rest of your

fingers and then we're gonna do the same

on our right hand for right-sided on G 3

on a 2 on B and thumb on C and lift that

thumb up so your thumbs are much much

higher than the rest of your fingers and

the reason for that is that when it

comes to movement in our hands we want

to move under our thumbs at a nice pace

and that's why you do watch life in the

piano ok so we're just going to play up

the scale like this I'll do it for you


just like that there's a lot of things

we need to remember as we're doing it so

once you're placed back in place again

four three two one

thumbs up four three two one thumbs up

and we're ready to go now make sure your

shoulders are relaxed you don't have the

opera tensed that they're nice and

relaxed and that the rest of your arms

are nice and relaxed - you're just very

leaning against the harp with your right

arm wrist so now we're gonna plug up one

by one from the bottom up to the top and

as we pluck I want you to think about

following through so follow through with

each block of each string so rather than

just plucking and letting your finger

just fly around there in the air I want

you to bring it right back into the palm

of your hand and the next one the next

one and then your thumb crosses over so

you've actually ended up with a perfect

fist as you can see so the fingers go

all the way back into the pan and the

thumb goes right over them all again so

plug them right back into your pan so

I've ended up with two fists and that

not only gives you a great tone to each

string but it also prevents you from

injury in a few years as well if you

continue to play it's the same idea as

hitting a tennis ball that if you stop

just when you make contact with the ball

you're using way too much energy to make

that stop it's much much easier to

follow through and make a full movement

so let's do that one more time place

your fingers on four three two one

thumbs up nice and high relax your

shoulders and follow through let's go

left hand first



the next thing to remember is when

you're plucking try not and Bend too

many of your knuckles you really just

want to clean sweep back into your into

your pan I'll go to my right hand it

might be easier to look to see so it

goes straight back we don't need all of

these knuckles bending just the middle

one just this one right back right back

and come over and this will take time so

give yourself time to nail this okay so

try it once more from the beginning and

then we're going to try it with just

right hand only one two so you can

practice that as many times as you want

pause it here and go over it but for now

we're gonna move on and we're gonna do

the exact same thing but with just our

right hand your right hand is your

melody hand in your left hand will play

compliment chords so your right hands

are the one that will do most of

movement so you need to be a little bit

more flexible in this end and we're

gonna do the same thing so start with

your fourth finger on this middle C four

three two one lift your pump and this

time we're gonna bring under our fourth

finger after we do these for this fourth

finger is gonna go under and we'll do

the next four notes so it's just the

same thing but just your right hand is

dollars now what's really important

about this is that once we get to the

thumb here before we ever play this

thumb our fourth finger is already under

and already on the next string which is

G so before you ever play that thumb you

are placed ready for the next one and

then before you play this you get all

four ready so I cannot kind of Express

how important this is so you really need

to pay attention to this and make sure

that you masters so four up again the

next three fingers on before you even

pay that fourth finger and take it as

slow as you need to and do it as many

times until you have a such pace that

you can do it without any stopping in

between those and finger movements and

you can see that I'm still following

through and making fists at the end as

well so you can pick any part of the

string anyplace on the harp and do that


anywhere you want once you have done

that the next thing is to learn how to

do it back down the way so we'll go back

to C and we'll do a scale up for the

finger under for up and then back down

so we'll place one two three four we're

gonna start with our palm this time


thumb over before you play for so just

try that down again home starts make

sure it's hummus higher fingers are

pointing down and we follow through four

down you should end with a nice fist

when you get even more comfortable with

that we're gonna take out that CC up the

top so we'll go all the way up to the

top and then straight away all the way

down so it's a little bit more difficult


and that pause here we want to go

straight down so before we play this

tongue we need to place down we're gonna

do that one more time

four up fourth finger under forum before

we play the palm for down that's your


so now that you know the techniques to

do the scale we're gonna do a scale

exercise and what we're gonna do is move

up in the scale starting on C all the

way back up to C and because we won't be

changing any blades will actually also

be going through the modes so BC Ione

and D Dorian you can look up modes and

learn about them another time but for

now all you need to know is that you

start on C and unsee start on D and on D

and so on so we're gonna start as we did

with two hands to begin so our left and

right we'll start on the C scale so once

again let's get ourselves into position

make sure you're sitting up straight I

forgot to mention that in the last one

posture is very very important to make

sure you sit up straight so our four

three two one in our left hand on cdef

four three two one our right hand on G

ABC lift your thumbs relax your

shoulders relax your arms follow through

and here we go


now the exact same thing one note up

start on D this is the scale of D Dorian


keep going

d Phrygian Lydian G mixolydian now make

sure you all eight fingers on before you

start all eight fingers on before you

start a Olien


be Lydian all eight fingers on and then

we're right back up to see Ionian or C

major so you just need to keep

remembering all of your technical

elements that you're following through

your thumbs are high and you're ending

up with fists but also placing all eight

fingers on before you start any of those

skills so let's try again together a

little bit slower well let's try not

have too much of a gap between any of

the scales okay ready

three four get your finger ready on deep

place get your fourth finger ready on e

place fourth on F natural place G


okay place ambi place


and see place so there's all your scares

up so just to remember just even if you

just place one finger in advance it will

at least provide an anchor for you and

from there you'll know spatial awareness

will soon tell you exactly where to

place the rest of your fingers you won't

need to look at the strings as long as

you have one finger in place the rest

will fall into place

so it's very very important that you're

always placing in advance and you're

going to hear me say in this 100,000

times in this course for place in

advance of all times

so once you've nailed - what we'll try

and do is do it with just our right hand


so for on C place up the four fingers

now remember we're going to be crossing

under our tongue crossing under our

thumb there to get to the next section

and we need to do it before we play the

tongue ready three four


now we want to move on to D but already

I have my hand in midair and that's not

good so before I play that Topsy I want

you to have your fourth finger on D

ready to go for the next one

so it takes a little bit of

concentration so when we get up to this

high C fourth finger goes down to that D

before I play the C and then I'm ready

to place again so it's just a quick

quick movement from C I'm back down to D

ready to go again let's try it scale of

C Ionian cross under fourth finger here

we go

fourth on deep place place on e continue

for a KSP fourth alive not cute place 4


fourth on G fourth under place for a

pickup Tom 1/4 goes under for up before

I play this down to beat you with fourth

finger four up fourth on the red sea


solos to do there but once you've that's

all mastered the next thing you do is go

back down the scales again so let's

start up here on high seat so it's the

same thing except kind of opposite ways

so instead of crossing under would be

crossing over with our thumb like we did

in just the simple scale so I'll be

going down from C palm goes over before

we play the fourth and then four down

from there now we want to go down from B

so guess what your tongue goes up on be

ready to go before you play the last

note and it's there it's ready to go

then from there I can place for down

come on eat up to a still following true

cross over plums are high

from those up to gee

crossover Larry there come on D and last


Red's down to read CTC