SD1058: Harpo Beginners Book 1 - Stephen Dunstone

Harpo Beginners Book 1
Stephen Dunstone

Cover imageA complete approach for beginner harpists
Learn pieces by ear, Learn how to read music, Learn how to transpose pieces into different keys
Downloadable audiotracks for many of the pieces

Despite the little picture of my lever harp on the front cover, ALL the music in the Harpo Beginners books is suitable for pupils playing on either lever harps or pedal harps. However, because a lot more beginners start off on lever harps, all my references to playing in different keys are accompanied by lever-change instructions. But if you’re learning on a pedal harp, don’t despair: your teacher will translate all those instructions into “pedal-speak”, and give you a pedal version of my “Castle of Keys”, which appears on page 63. But it’s worth learning what to do on a lever harp as well, because there will quite likely be times when you find yourself having to play one, perhaps in an ensemble, and you wouldn’t want to be left out…


Buy this music now £15.00 +p&p

Artist Profile and catalogue of works - Stephen Dunstone

Harpo Beginner’s Book 1, Harpo Beginner’s Book 2 & Harpo Not Quite Beginners

“The three books of the Harpo Beginners series offer pupils a wonderfully rich learning experience, deftly and imaginatively weaving together the business of playing by ear, reading music, and using harmony in a way that’s simple, great fun, and accessible to both quick and slow learners. They’re the definitive books for young beginner harpists – not just good, but indispensable!”

Ruth Faber


Harpo Beginners Book 1
Stephen Dunstone


4 Read Me!

5 To play in C major…

6-7 Word Games

8 Buy a Broom / I Love Mops / Climbdown in C

9 Pushing the Boat Out / Twinkle, Twinkle… / Climbdown in F

10 Trampolining / Rounding Sheep

11 Leapfrog / Double Leapfrog / Skip to My Lou / Climbdown in Bb

12 Greedy Guts / Barcarolle

13 Time for a Snack / Climbdown in Eb

14 Eggs on the Edge / Ace Café

15 Breakfast in Bed / Old Baggage / Down to the Dungeons

16 Reading Music (1) / Limping Ladders in C / …and in F

17 Reading Music (2) / Limping Ladders in Bb / …and in Eb

18 Bass Clef mnemonics / Grizzly Bear Riff

19 Treble Clef mnemonics / Happy Birthday

20 The Habits of Cows / The Habits of Bears / Mary Had A Little Lamb

21 In the Mirror / Nasty Little Girl / There's A Hole in My Bucket

22 Blank for your own bass clef pieces / Wobbledown in C / Wobbledown in F

23 Blank for your own treble clef pieces / Wobbledown in Bb / Wobbledown in Eb

24 Heartbeats

25 Cows, Sheep and Dogs... / Dogs, Sheep and Cows…

26 - 27 Time Signatures / Harpy Ever After

28 Frère Jacques

29 London's Burning

30 Key Signatures… …and Metronomes

31 Easy Peasy / Lemon Squeezy

32 Just As Easy / Just As Peasy / London Bridge is Falling Down

33 Just As Squeezy / A Touch More Lemon / Blow the Wind Southerly

34 Farmyard Chorus / Mog Wants to Help

35 Write your own farmyard rhythms / Old MacDonald

36 Dangling from the Washing Line / Tightrope Walk

37 Tightrope Waltz / Swinging from the Washing Line / Ten Green Bottles

38 - 39 Spelling Test! / The Mocking Bird Song

40 Swaps / Plonk Plonk

41 Answering Back / The Faded Flower / When the Saints Go Marching In

42 Gooseberry Bushes / Frog in the Gooseberries

43 A Plague of Frogs / Gooseberry Blossom

44 Down by the Duckpond / Who Let the Cat Out?

45 Quavering / Quivering / Yankee Doodle

46 Creepy page

47 The Thing page

48 Wedding Bells

49 Synchronized Swimming / Buy Two Brooms

50 Olga Opanotch / Toffee in Your Teef

51 Buy a Broom / Bought a Broom / Sell the Broom / Pop Goes the Weasel

52 Olga Dananotch / Water Boatmen

53 I Love Mops / You Are Mad / On the Brain / Morning Has Broken

54 Snowflakes on the Windowpane / On Parade / A Nice Cup of Oom Cha

55 Wobbly Waltz / Doubleberry Bushes

56 There's a Hole in My Music / Mouse in the Flapjacks

57 Whoodle Doodle? / Making a Mockery

58 - 59 Fairy Dust

60 - 61 Lyrics…

62 Italian Terms

63 The Castle of Keys

64 Piano keyboard diagram / Using an electronic tuner

65 All the harp strings…

Titles in bold are "Ear Pieces" (see Read Me below)

Read Me ...

Harpo Beginners Book 1
Stephen Dunstone

Read Me...
(and get your teacher to read me too)

The purpose of the Harpo Beginners books is not just to help you learn to play the harp, but to help you become a good musician at the same time. Use the books well, and by the end you’ll be able to read music confidently, play by ear, understand elementary harmony, transpose simple pieces into different keys, and have a large repertoire of enjoyable pieces that you can play from memory.

The first thing you’ll notice if you glance through the pages is that there are quite a few pieces written out with letters rather than blobs on staves. I call these “ABC pieces”. The idea is that your teacher will teach you these pieces by ear and imitation: you shouldn’t need to read anything at all. In fact you’re definitely NOT supposed to read the note names as you play – they’re there just so you’ve got a reminder if you forget how the tune goes. The reason for learning them like this is so you can play far more complicated and fun music than you’re normally offered as a beginner: you don’t need to be able to read a wide range of notes or be able to decipher complex rhythms – just listen and copy. There are audiotracks available of all these for you to play along with.

Then there are lots of pieces written in “proper” music notation, starting at a very easy level and getting gradually trickier. A lot of these will have audiotracks too. Unlike with the ABC pieces, I definitely DO want you to look at the music while you’re playing these.

And then there are what I call “Earpieces”. These aren’t written out at all: all you’ve got to help you is the first few note names to start you off in the right direction – and an audiotrack to remind you, and for you to play along with. A lot of these are well-known tunes, like Happy Birthday and When The Saints Go Marching In. Your teacher will show you how these go, too, but feel free to work them out on your own if you want to.

ABC pieces and Earpieces appear in amongst the “proper” pieces all through this book, and right through to the end of the second book too: playing by ear isn’t something you stop doing when you learn to read well!

Using all your fingers is trickier on the harp than it is on the piano, so I made the decision to focus on developing your aural, memory, rhythm and reading skills before sidetracking you with more awkward technique. But if you feel ready to use more fingers sooner, you could start using Harpo Not Quite Beginners alongside the Harpo Beginners books.

An indispensable accessory to Harpo Beginners is the sight-reading practice book which has the slightly unusual title “Racing Training”. It has nothing to do with horses, but it will reinforce your reading skills enormously…

Library Information

Title: Harpo Beginners Book 1
Composer: Stephen Dunstone
Instrumentation: Lever or Pedal Harp
Level: Beginner
Format: A4 Ring Bound
Weight: 290gm
ISMN: 979-0-57046-329-9
Our Ref: SD1058
Publisher: Creighton's Collection
Printer/Distributor: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: 2019
Origin: UK

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