Meticulous Markings

Author: Volpé Bligh, Elizabeth

Publication details: Harp Column


Abstract: When you rent—whether it’s a car, a beach house, or even a harp—you are at the mercy of the previous renters. What you have to work with can be less than ideal—beat up, messy, poorly maintained. The same is true when it comes to rental music.

Rental parts comprise much of the music we play in large ensembles. Often the parts are marked so poorly that the beleaguered harpist has to cast about for a good eraser and a handkerchief into which to sob—but it doesn’t have to be that way.

We’re all on the same team here, and leaving an unintelligible mess for the next harpist will come back to haunt you eventually. The next person who gets that mess of a part might be you, your student, or even your appalled teacher.

So for the common good, I offer some guidelines for marking rental parts.