Etude in Ab Major Op. 25, No. 1 Pedal Harp Sheet Music by Frederic Chopin/Samuel O. Pratt
This Etude, one of the more popular of the piano etudes by Chopin, is commonly known as The Aeolian Harp An Aeolian Harp is an instrument made from a long narrow rectangular box on which are strung 8 or 12 very thin strings, usually made of silk. Often, they were all tuned in unison, but sometimes they were tuned to a scale or chord. The Aeolian Harp was then set on a window sill, or even hung out of doors where the wind could play on the strings. Almost every harpist has heard the exquisite sounds made by a gentle breeze as it blows through the strings of their harp. The Aeolian Harp Etude has in the past been a great favorite of the harp virtuosi as well as their audiences. One listener told me how he remembered hearing this etude played on the harp almost 15 years ago, and the tremendous impact it had on him. Its unquestioned difficulty is, no doubt, the major reason that recent years have not seen it on harp recital programs.
In the character of the instrument whose name it bears, this etude must be played softly, indeed only a whisper most of the time. The climaxes can then easily be brought brilliantly to the fore with telling results. ETUDE IN A FLAT MAJOR For Pedal Harp Practice it very slowly, with supple wrists and fingers. Endurance will be a major problem, so make certain there is not the slightest tension anywhere. Let the melodic notes sing out and carry the weight of the volume. The accompanying figuration remains only a breeze. It makes a superb exercise, even if it is never played in public.