Featured Harp Music
Welcome to our featured harp music section! Every quarter (March, June, September, and December) we will feature a work by one of our talented Pacific Northwest harp composers and arrangers. You are welcome to download and print a copy of this music for your personal private use. (If you wish to perform the music publicly for profit, print or publish any arrangement, or record or broadcast it, you must first contact the copyright holder for the appropriate permissions.)
Please Note: Beginning September 2023, Reigning Harps is using MP3 files to enable audio playback of Featured Harp Music scores. To hear playback of the tune, simply click the MP3 Audio link. To see or print out the score, use the PDF link.
Winter’s Featured Harp Music:
For this season’s featured harp music we have a cheerful original piece called Prime Birthday Hornpipe, composed by Tara O’Brien Pride. Tara says:
“A hornpipe is a jolly dance tune often associated with sailors. This one was written in celebration of a birthday that happened to be a prime number. (No prizes for guessing which one!) I hope this tune brings you smiles whether or not there is a sailor or birthday on your horizon. The melody is written with straight eighth notes but should be played with a swing, so that the first eighth note of a pair gets more than half the value of a quarter note. The rhythm should feel rather like skipping: long—short, long—short, etc. For lightness, try emphasizing the short notes rather than the downbeats. This piece requires sharping of a single G for two measures (m. 12-13); there are no other lever changes.”
Tara also includes the following information about the notation:
– The instruction to play the right hand 8va means to play one octave higher than the notated pitches. In this piece, the primary reason is to keep the hands from colliding and not have to read too many ledger lines.
– The piece is written in two sections, each of which repeats. After repeating the second section, D.S. al Fine indicates that you should return back to the sign (the S-shaped symbol with the slash through it) and play until the end, marked “Fine” (the Italian word for “end,” pronounced “fee-nay”). In this case, that means return to the repeat sign at the beginning of the first section, play that section and repeat it, and then stop.
– The small diamond notes in measures 11 and 13 give a suggestion for when to change the G lever.
– At the end of each section (last beat) are small cue notes. These are normal notes, except that you don’t play them both times: depending on what follows, you might only have a beat of rest instead. There is explanatory text, but your ear will probably be a good guide.
– Below the tempo marking is the word “Swing.” This refers to the rhythmic feel of the notated eight notes. Instead of every eighth note lasting the same duration, the first eighth note of a pair gets held a little longer, giving a lilting or skipping feel. The result is more like “Dum-da Dum-da Dum-da Dum-da” than “da-da da-da da-da da-da.” Listening to the sound file should help you figure it out.
Thank you so much Tara! And now, on to the music:
Prime Birthday Hornpipe: PDF
Prime Birthday Hornpipe: MP3 Audio
Harp Music Archive: click here to see previous Featured Harp Music scores
This page was last updated on