Harp Stories in the Improvisation

isbn 9788892696617

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Harp Stories in the Improvisation

By Vanessa D’Aversa

“What do you mean by jazz harp? What do you mean by improvisation? How do you improvise with the harp? “

Its often associates in the academic world, the harp idea, only to the orchestral or soloist world, and in the world of jazz as an extraneous instrument to any extemporaneous technique. Answering the most varied questions, affirming that the harp could be defined as one of the prototypes of the instrument with which humanity has dedicated a part of musical study through improvisation seemed very arduous.

This book therefore arises from the need to describe the ancient and newest extemporaneous practice techniques used on the harps in various historical periods of which they have been protagonists and did not extras.

The prefixed hypothesis was to define a new bibliographic reference point of executive practice at the beginning of jazz and improvisation studies, which can give the first basic knowledge and in which each harpist can be recognized.

After reading, the book could confuse the most dreadful, a string instrument so present in the story of improvisation as it could be marginal, in a historical period like jazz?



What is a Harp?

Analysis of Extemporaneous Practice in Harp History

– Chapter I: Rhythm

The overlapping between call-response in interlocking (cross-rhythms)

Asymmetric time line

Harp in South America: The Colonization of Spaniards

Buzzing (background noise) Distortion of pure harp sound

Forms of music and improvisation in Africa

Perfoming practices, soloists and group members

 – Chapter II: Melody

Modes: The Greek Modal System

Minstrels, Troubadours and Jesters



Italian Nomadic Improvisers: The Viggianes

The harpist poet: literature and vocal music

– Chapter III: Harmony

Ars Nova

The Renaissance

The sixteenth-century Villanella

The sixteenth century

The madrigal and the birth of the Opera

The harp in “Orfeo” by Monteverdi

Spanish and Portuguese: the Baroque

The harp to a row of strings from the hooks to the forks

– Chapter IV: Jazz Harp

The History of the Jazz Harp from the orchestras in the Musicals at Free Jazz


Harpo Marx

Casper Reardon

Adele Girard

Dorothy Ashby

Alice Coltrane

Conclusion: The Harp in Jazz or Jazz in the Harp?






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