View Poll Results: Pick one

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  • Harp

    9 25.71%
  • Piano

    26 74.29%
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Thread: Harp vs Piano

  1. #1
    Senior Member Richannes Wrahms's Avatar
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    Default Harp vs Piano

    The harp has a very rich warm tone and a number of special techniques/effects while the piano also has it's own plus unsurpassable speed but perhaps a colder timbre. Harp scoring of chromatic passages is quite complex.

    A key difference is that in the harp the fingers play directly on the string while there is a mechanism between fingers and strings in the piano (save some extended techniques) which perhaps lends more expressivity to the harp. The piano can sound very mechanic.

    Both instruments can be used to imitate bells and some other percussion instruments.

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  3. #2
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    My favourite harp music by far is Stockhausen's Freude for voice and two harps


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  5. #3
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    My favorite harp music by far are,

    Harp concerto by Handel



    And Mozart's flute and harp concerto,


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  7. #4
    Senior Member SeptimalTritone's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Richannes Wrahms View Post
    The harp has a very rich warm tone and a number of special techniques/effects while the piano also has it's own plus unsurpassable speed but perhaps a colder timbre. Harp scoring of chromatic passages is quite complex.

    A key difference is that in the harp the fingers play directly on the string while there is a mechanism between fingers and strings in the piano (save some extended techniques) which perhaps lends more expressivity to the harp. The piano can sound very mechanic.

    Both instruments can be used to imitate bells and some other percussion instruments.
    You can fix the colder timbre of the piano by tuning the keys to just intervals, giving it much more brightness and resonance.

    See Young's Well Tuned Piano, or Riley's Harp of New Albion (which is not a piece for harp lol but a piece for just-tuned piano).

    I have no idea why more 21st century composers don't use overtone-tuned just pianos in their pieces more often. 12 TET should just be a relic. String, wind, and brass players of contemporary music are being more and more required to play microtonally, it makes sense that overtone-tuned pianos should be a mainstream standard for 21st century chamber music.

    Of course, "now that Boulez is dead all music sucks" according to you so it doesn't really matter anyway.

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  9. #5
    Senior Member Blancrocher's Avatar
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    If the harp is good enough for Stravinsky's Orpheus it should be good enough for anybody. Fwiw, my favorite work including only the harp--actually, four of them!--is Hovhaness' crazy Island of the Mysterious Bells (which is to my knowledge unfortunately only available on vinyl).

    For the purposes of the poll, however, I vote piano. No reason
    Last edited by Blancrocher; Feb-19-2016 at 14:37.

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  11. #6
    Senior Member Fugue Meister's Avatar
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    Sorry but this is no contest... Piano is the clear winner.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SeptimalTritone View Post
    You can fix the colder timbre of the piano by tuning the keys to just intervals, giving it much more brightness and resonance.

    See Young's Well Tuned Piano, or Riley's Harp of New Albion (which is not a piece for harp lol but a piece for just-tuned piano).

    I have no idea why more 21st century composers don't use overtone-tuned just pianos in their pieces more often. 12 TET should just be a relic. String, wind, and brass players of contemporary music are being more and more required to play microtonally, it makes sense that overtone-tuned pianos should be a mainstream standard for 21st century chamber music.

    Of course, "now that Boulez is dead all music sucks" according to you so it doesn't really matter anyway.
    Georg Haas uses microtonal pianos.

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  15. #8
    Sr. Moderator Taggart's Avatar
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    My two go to people Derek Bell on harp vs JJ Sheridan on piano - you choose. I can't, they're both lovely!
    Music begins where words leave off. Music expresses the inexpressible.

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  17. #9
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    I don't wish to harp on this, but comparing these two in the same breath is like comparing an 11 year old Little League baseball player to a Major Leaguer; the piano, of course, being the Major Leaguer.

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  19. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fugue Meister View Post
    Sorry but this is no contest... Piano is the clear winner.
    I do listen to the harp sometimes but , I agree

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  21. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Morimur View Post
    Georg Haas uses microtonal pianos.
    I'm quite certain Simon Steen-Andersen's Piano Concerto uses an alternative tuning as well.

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  23. #12
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    I vote harp because the only good live performance of Gershwin tunes I've ever heard was by a harpist providing background music for a hotel lobby/restaurant. Pianists always schmaltz up the American Songbook. Harpists have accumulated fewer bad habits over the centuries. And of course the instrument is lovely in its own right. Like a more beautiful guitar.

  24. #13
    Senior Member joen_cph's Avatar
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    I like the harp, but repertoire-wise, there just isn´t the same amount, ambition or diversity to choose from.

    Some favourite harp concertos: Badings; Mozart Concerto with Flute; Ginastera; Graugaard´s "Ophelia"; Boieldieu, Alwyn.
    Last edited by joen_cph; Feb-19-2016 at 16:15.

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  26. #14
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    Beautiful pieces for harp -

    "Praise the Lord with cheerful noise" from Handel's Esther:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPHw2GUvr2g

    Handel's concerto: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eP_YI1zupko

    The trio of the young Ishmaelites from Berlioz's The Childhood of Christ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ndMsNTltrQ0

    Debussy's sacred and profane dances: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fo5O8duQ3hs

    Debussy's sonata and Ravel's introduction and allegro: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=grKx...xrMOO4&index=5

    And of course if you've got six of them handy, then we can talk about Wagner's rainbow music.

  27. #15
    Senior Member Richannes Wrahms's Avatar
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    There's great harp in Mahler songs, Mozart who might have hated the thing still wrote an exceedingly pretty double concerto, a lot of Debussy and for example Boulez' Eclat. The piano always kind of sticks out in ensembles, but as a solo instrument it's prince (the king being the organ). Solo harp is more of a koto.

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