The Composer’s Guide to Writing Well for the Modern Harp
Welcome to the official companion page, with resources for composers and harpists.
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Internationally acclaimed harpist Yolanda Kondonassis announces the release of her new book, The Composer’s Guide to Writing Well for the Modern Harp (Carl Fischer Music), a comprehensive guide and conversational text on composing idiomatically for the harp. The book features 22 detailed chapters on a full spectrum of topics, including technical logistics, chromaticism, notation, context, resonance management, special effects, and more.
Special Effects Symbols
My sincere thanks to Bob Zawalich, who developed this resource for reproducing the special effects symbols that appear in my book, The Composer's Guide to Writing Well for the Harp. Some of the symbols in my book are widely used already, while others were created by me. All should be available for use in Sibelius scores with the tools provided here by Mr. Zawalich. He has also written a very informative article on his process of developing this resource, which may be viewed here: [Creating Pedal Harp Notation.....pdf]
Companion Demo Videos
with Yolanda Kondonassis
Chromaticism and navigating the harp’s pedal system
Physics of writing idiomatic music
Practical guidance on register, volume, and resonance
Comprehensive index of traditional effects and notation
Over twenty pages of contemporary special effects with notation
Props, electro-acoustics, and media integration
Candid advice on writing for the harp in every context
"I find Kondonassis' book the single best source I can think of to recommend to anyone interested in composing or transcribing for the modern harp. It is extremely well structured, very informative, fun to read, and full of great musical examples. It also contains a complete glossary of over 50 'special effects' clearly pictured and explained. Finally, genuinely funny and apt cartoons created by Jeffrey Cunrow delightfully enhance the book. Big thumbs up!"
— Elzbieta Szmyt, The Harp Column
"Reading about the instrument’s limitations, but also its imaginative extensions and immense capabilities, makes me want more than ever to write creatively for it."
— Leonard Lehrman, SoundWordSight.com