Principles of Playing
  Teaching in a group

  I. Basic Knowledge

     1. Sitting position
     2. Holding the Plectrum
  3. Plectrum style
     4. fingers-style plucking
     5. Our notes' sings
  6. Tuning
7. Qualities of sounds

  II.  Playing

    1. Contents of playing
        a) Playing one string
        b) Playing two strings
        c) Playing accompaniment
    2. Creativity
         a) General
         b) Composing
         c) Composing board
         d) How to improvise
         e) Imp. with drawing
         f) Progressing   
  III. pieces
      Go to the Pieces...


The New Music Educational Project My Ancient Harp Basic Knowledge


Qualities of sounds
Here is an idea for a learning process, which demonstrates the four qualities of sound: duration, intensity (dynamic), pitch and timbre.
The teacher should use its own Ancient Harp for demonstrating.
This issue is very important therefore we constantly going back to it during the whole lasting program. It is recommending dealing with only one sound's quality at a time as students may find it too complicated.

1. Duration:
It is possible to learn the duration of sounds in the form of a game - we shall call it a rhythm quiz.
First we will draw 3 lines and determine 3 basic durations which we will be dealing with:
___a) --------- a short sound (a quarter note) [one beat = V]
___b) ---------------- an intermediate sound (a half note) [two beats = V V]
___c) ------------------------------ a long sound (a whole note) [4 beats=V V V V]

Now we will teach the students how many beats match each sound length.
For this purpose it is recommended to use the foot method - no….no not kicking the students ;-) ...but counting the number of "V" movements in each sound [V = One beat].





First we will do an "open exercise" (in which everyone knows the durations in advance) on the board - together, now we will play (the teacher will play using the relevant instrument) very simple lines, for example:

We will ask the students to write down the notes (we have, in fact, done an easy rhythm dictation). We will give many clues so that the students succeed, and we may also give high marks.
This exercise may and should also be done while we are building the instrument, because it prepares the students for playing. At this stage the teacher can allow the students to write the exercise on the wood itself (the internal, less aesthetic side). This can be a refreshing activity.

We have special evaluation sheets for students who excel during the lessons (not the entire program). While playing, it is advisable to encourage the students who are good or who make an effort, or to advance students who have improved. Suggest that the student who has excelled color in the evaluation sheet a few minutes before the lesson ends, and then write down his name. This is extremely motivating.

2. Intensity (Dynamic):
As we have taught rhythm using a quiz, we can use a similar quiz to teach the intensity of sound (dynamics). Here too we present three degrees of intensity:
     a) A soft sound - which we mark by the letter:
p (piano), or "s" (soft).
     b) An intermediate sound - which we mark by the letters:
mf (mezzo-forte), or "i" (intermediate).
     c) A strong and loud sound - which we mark by the letter:
f (forte), or "l" (loud).

Now we will play a number of sounds, switching between the three intensities. We will emphasize and even exaggerate the intensity differences so that each intensity is clear.

Another possibility is to Xerox a sheet with the opening musical phrase of a popular song (preferably a very slow song) and play it with extreme changes in degrees of intensity (dynamics). The students will write down the intensities above the notes.

It is possible to score the students' achievements. For example, if a student has identified 10 sound intensities out of 10 tries he receives a score of 100, if he identifies 8 he receives a score of 80, etc.

3. Pitch:
We will practice three tones pitches, accordingly to the three strings o the Ancient Harp.
We establish rules and a permanent key for the quiz:
a) A low sound - will be marked on string No. , as it is the lowest string in the instrument.
b) An intermediate sound - will be marked on string No. , as it is higher than the previous sound and lower than the next one.
c) A high sound - will be marked will be marked on string No. .

Then we will play very slowly a very simple music line [starting from three or four notes] using our three strings. (We will play with our backs to the students so they do not see our fingers).
Now we ask the students to write the sound pitch from left to right over our sheet music with three-notes' lines. Example:


After a few exercises we can start involve the notes' duration, then it should look like that:

We can also marking scores for the students results…

The timbre is characterized by changes in the colors of the sound.
With a Ancient Harp we can produce 3 types of sounds:
a) An ordinary sound - which we may by the letter "
n" (normal).
b) A sound near the bridge - which, in the guitar, is called:
sul ponticello.
This may be marked as: "
b" (bridge sound).
c) A blocked sound, the pizzicato - will be marked by "
p" (pizzicato).
Note: The pizzicato technique will may need some practice: Block the string - above its small bridge - using your free hand.  now strum the blocked string, using the plectrum of fingers.

Click to see the video clip...   The Pizzicato Video clip...

Now we will demonstrate a number of combinations of the three kinds of timbre so that the students will be able to differentiate easily, between: a regular sound, a pizzicato and a sound produced near the bridge.

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