AUTOHARP ARRANGEMENTS FOR HIRE
I got my first guitar 50 years ago and started autoharp 5 years later. I've worked up a lot of tunes since then, in many styles. The earliest published arrangement was in the Winning Ways On The Autoharp book, i.a.d. Publications, San Francisco, 1985. Over the years, I have accumulated a couple large bookshelves full of fake books and song folios, plus more than a thousand individual sheet music scores, not to mention files searched out on the internet, free and otherwise, which are more often than not, flat out wrong. The problem with books and magazines is that the notation is not set up for autoharp, and even when it is, there is usually too much compromise with the original source, in the case of copyrighted songs, or is barely recognizable due to ornamentation or idiosyncratic variations, in the case of folk or traditional tunes. Not to mention that a given song may not be in the desired key.
So I learned how to arrange songs for the autoharp to play them how I thought they sounded "right" to me, and so that an audience would know what they were. I generally try to get as close as feasible to an original or definitive source.
The best example of the results I can give are to be found on the page of Christmas music I've had publicly posted for some time. I hope you will see/hear that these are done with interesting, but commonly accepted, harmonic accompaniments. This is not to say these are the best, much less only, way the songs can be played, but they conform in a setting, that is not too boring, with how they are customarily done. That's my approach. If you want to know more about me, you can check the short bio page.
HERE'S THE DEAL
If there is song or piece of music you've wanted to play on the autoharp but cannot find a satisfactory version to work off of, I am willing to give it a try, for a pretty reasonable amount.
- $15 for standard notation arrangement with accompaniment chords, so you can sing or play rhythm along with the tune
- $25 for a melody/chord arrangement so you can play the notes
NOTE: this is for songs/tunes of 32 bars or fewer, not including repeated sections. Longer arrangements can be negotiated. Payment can be made by Mastercard, Visa, Discover, Paypal, personal check, or Starbucks gift card.
I've kept an account where I can upload and share arrangement files for the lessons I've given my private students, and I can use it to privately post songs so that I can email a password-protected link or file. Unless it is something I've already done, I will not publicly post a work-for-hire until at least a year, and probably not then if it is under copyright. I might do a video or mp3, but I might not.
There is a limitation as to length but not necessarily as to style --- old time, pop standards, classical, folk songs, Celtic, show tunes --- I'm familiar with a lot of them. More modern rock songs (i.e. post Springsteen), not so much, but willing to consider it. Just be clear that these are not lessons. In most cases, I would be creating a customized arrangement for you, taking into account your purpose, skill level, and chords/keys available on your personal autoharp. I suppose there are constraints, though mostly imposed by your ear and equipment. I do reserve the right to refuse a request.
And as always, remember: "Autoharp, thy name is compromise" (not really a harp, not really automatic)
- Interested? EMAIL
SAMPLE WORKSHOP TOPICS I'VE DONE FOR FESTIVALS
CIRCLE OF FIFTHS
There is a rhyme and reason to the way standard autoharp buttons are laid out. We'll demonstrate songs in which theory and practice intertwine by examining how chord progressions follow patterns of button placement, and how this can aid in "ear-training": hearing how to listen to the melody and find the right chord by ear. Common modifications to the standard layout will also be discussed.
INTRODUCTION TO DIATONIC
Discussion and demonstration of the alternative way of approaching the autoharp and an explanation of the way lock bars work to enable "open chord" melody and accompaniment methods. Songs will be played in both styles. Some extra chord bars may be provided for those interested in trying at home.
COORDINATING YOUR HANDS
We'll isolate the actions of each hand by performing their functions separately - then put them back together so your playing will be smooth and steady. This technique can be used anytime you are learning a new song, breaking down the components of playing into bitesize bits.
WHAT I WISH I HAD KNOWN WHEN I WAS STARTING OUT
A "less is more" simple strum technique that can get you in the groove for accompanying vocals or develop an easy approach for playing melody and fills. Great for beginners and intermediate players who want to build on a solid foundation.
HOW TO LEARN BY EAR OR BOOK
The personal computer, including the recent down-sized versions, is the best thing that ever happened to learning how to play music. By combining a few basic skills with whatever you can already do using book or ear, Iâ€™ve learned a bunch of tricks that can speed up your ability to learn virtually any song, both legally and for FREE. I will recommend a program or two that you can install ahead of time or after the course.
THE SONGS OF PETE SEEGER
The 2014 passing of this giant made people realize how much of his songbag had become the soundtrack for at least a couple generations of folk musicians. This is a great opportunity to supplement your repertoire with crowd-pleasing autoharp arrangements youâ€™ll enjoy playing for years to come.
Of course, any contributions will go towards furthering the autoharp cause.
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