The lovely Adagio from Beethoven's Pathetique Sonata is as much fun to practice as it is to listen to. Since it is a melody that nearly everyone recognizes and enjoys, it is perfect for gigs, recitals, and any performance that needs a moment of quiet reflection. Don't worry if the lever changes look intimidating--the chromatic lines are done with right hand only, leaving your left hand free to change the levers.
Two pages; intermediate; many lever changes; key of B flat major. Arranged for any size harp (lowest note C below middle C, highest note third D above middle C).
Listen to Adagio from the Pathetique Sonata (software-generated mp3):
Handel's Air for harpsichord is short and sweet. In this arrangement for harp, the right hand and left hand alternate in importance. For more advanced players this piece provides a good basis for ornamentation or improvisation. Great for practicing hand independence and scales, but more fun than an etude!
Two pages; intermediate; several lever changes (B flat to B natural, F to F#, Eb to E); key of B flat major. Suggested fingerings included. Arranged for full size harp (lowest note second F below middle C), but easy to adapt for therapy harp as there are only a few notes outside the range.
Fionnuala was the only girl in a family of boys, resented and ill-treated by their father's new wife. The stepmother eventually turned the lot of them into swans. I have set this tune with a left-hand that becomes almost a counter melody, with contrary and parallel motion. Play it simply and beautifully.
One and a half pages of music and text by Thomas Moore; Intermediate level; In A minor (key of C), with one pre-set G#; no lever changes, fingerings or brackets.
Listen to The Song of the Fionnuala (software-generated mp3):
This is a very old Irish tune, written by a fisherman and fiddler from the Northwest coast of Ireland, who, when out fishing with his mates one day, heard the tune mysteriously playing in the middle of the ocean. Believing it have an otherworldly origin, he named the tune after the, Pooka, an Irish water spirit. Later speculation tied the tune to migrating humpback whales. Either way, the tune is haunting.
This arrangement is spare and slow, using the harp to capture that otherworldly quality with slow rolls and harmonics. Part of the haunting quality comes from the switching from C natural to C sharp, a repeated change that is easy to achieve with the spareness of the left hand.
For early intermediate and above. One recurring lever change, Key of D. Two pages of music. No fingerings or brackets.
The recording will give you an idea, but the piece should be played very rubato.
Listen to Song of the Pooka (software-generated mp3):
The first verse features a simple accompaniment; choose to play only this version if you are a lower intermediate player. The second time through, I've added grace notes, rolled chords and some parallel passages, none of them too hard for solid intermediate players.
Intermediate level. In A Dorian (key of G). Two pages of music. No lever changes, brackets, or fingerings.
Listen to The Witches' Hill (software-generated mp3):
A rollicking reel, so fun to play! I've shared the love between two hands, making it achievable even for advanced beginners. There are some cool downward rolling chords for that spooky effect, and also some fun grace notes (leave them out until you can play the melody well without them).
In A minor (key of C); one page of music; no lever changes, fingerings or brackets.
Listen to The Tamlin Reel (software-generated mp3):