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  • #3094 Reply

    Nikki.Lower
    Participant

    Not sure if this is an intermediate or advances question, but here goes….

    How exactly do harmonics work? I’ve played symphony pieces where there were (what I am assuming were) fingered harmonics, where I put my fingers down and created a high, wispy sound much higher than the written note (I think it was a third or fourth on the G string). Right now, I’m working on a Legende by Wieniawski, and the second note (a D, normally a third on the A string) is marked as a harmonic, but on the recording, the note is at the same pitch as the regular note. How exactly am I supposed to play these kinds of harmonics? Let me know if that makes any sense at all. I can post a picture of the music if you need me to.

    #3462 Reply

    Michael Sanchez
    Keymaster

    Hey Nikki! Harmonics on any stringed instrument are most commonly played in the middle of the string, but also very often in the situation you are asking about. You can play a harmonic on any of the 4 strings, in the same position as you would play a 3rd or 4th finger in 1st position. So on the A string, you can play a harmonic by hovering your finger over the D and playing, as well as the E.

    To get a harmonic to sound, you have to have no pressure on the string. The best word would be “hover,” as any puncture into the string will kill it. Think of a feature resting on the string—that is how little you have to press to get the harmonic sound (it should be very high pitch an octave higher). Also you have to make sure your finger is in the perfect spot or the harmonic won’t sound.

    Regarding your question about the recording. If you heard the same pitch as a normal “D,” the recording is not including the harmonic. The sound will be much different when this is played. Are you 100% sure the music is showing a harmonic? It is indicated by a white dot about half the size of a half note circle.

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