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Division on a Ground BY Gottfried Finger

ARRANGED FOR 2-5 harps

This serious Baroque work is in the style of Handel's Passacaglia, with a repeating bass melody (the ground bass), and 10 variations (divisions) in the upper register.  This arrangement staggers the division entrances of harps 1-3, creating counterpoint through canon, while harps 4-5 perform the ground.  It's great for ensembles with multiple levels of players.

This work can be adapted for 2-5 parts, and can be performed on lever or pedal harps.

2 harps: Harp 1 and Harp 4:  In its simplest form, a musician or a pairing of a bass instrument and an embellishing choral instrument would perform the ground, while a solo instrument would perform the ten variations above it.

3 harps: Harp 1, Harp 4, and Harp 5: In another simple rendition, a second instrument is added to fill out the ground’s suggested harmonies.

3 harps (alternate): Harp 1, Harp 2, and Harp 5: In a more complex version, the division can be performed in canon to create counterpoint.  Because the division is written to fit the 8-measure-long ground,  it’s possible to layer any eight-measure variation on another.

4 harps: Harp 1, Harp 2, Harp 4, and Harp 5: The division’s variations are layered in counterpoint, and the ground’s harmonies are embellished.

5 harps: Harp 1, Harp 2, Harp 3, Harp 4, and Harp 5: In the most complex version, 3 layers of counterpoint in the division are played against 2 layers of the ground.


Instrumentation: Lever or Pedal Harps

Difficulty: Harps 1-2: intermediate; Harp 3: advanced beginner; Harps 4-5: beginner

Publisher: Lyon & Healy

Format: Score and Five Parts

Publication Length: Score (17p); Hp1 (4p); Hp2 (3p); Hp3 (3p); Hp4 (4p); Hp 5 (4p)

Performance Duration: 3:30