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Know the Score: Ode to Joy [Know the Score S2:E1]

Hi, I’m Cynthia Shelhart. You can call me Cindy. And it’s time for some #DoubleTalk. Double-strung harp, that is!

Welcome, or welcome back, to our channel featuring the modern double-strung harp and its music. If you’re new here, we’re glad you joined us. Please make sure you subscribe to my mailing list and this YouTube channel, so you can be notified about future episodes. (and catch up on the back catalog!)

Know The Score

Today we’re launching Series 2, called Know The Score. It’s a behind-the-scenes look at arranging for double-strung harp, based on The Technique Triangle™️, which is my signature framework for double-strung harp technique.

Each episode shows how I use The Technique Triangle in different ways, with different arrangements, to help your double-strung harp “sound more like a double.”

About the Tune: Ode to Joy

Today’s Episode 1 inspiration is Ode to Joy by Ludwig van Beethoven. This famous theme comes from the final movement of Beethoven’s Symphony #9. It’s also used for the English-language hymn text “Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee,” and it is the instrumental anthem of the European Union.

This arrangement of Ode to Joy comes from my book Double the Weddings, which is part of The Double Dozen Series. It’s available on my website, In this video, I play the arrangement twice through.

Using Echo Technique and Echo Variations

This arrangement features Echo Technique, the foundation sound of the double-strung harp. If you need a refresher on Echo Technique, be sure to watch the Know The Score overview (Episode 0) for a review of The Technique Triangle, which includes Echo Technique.

Echo variations work well if your melody has mostly notes on the beat, like the quarter notes and half notes do in Ode to Joy. This way, you have room in between the notes on the beat to play echoes. But, if you echo ALL the notes, it’s too much of a good thing.

Ode to Joy‘s main theme is relatively short. So I arranged it with an echo variation, a section using Echo Technique, to keep things interesting a second time through. This especially shows up in the A part the second time through, in measures 25 through 32.

Echo Technique, Register Shifts, and Clef Changes

Echoing with the left hand means that it needs to move up and play in the same range as the right hand. So, in this section, you’ll see the left hand part written in treble clef.

Now, just because it’s an echo, doesn’t mean that every single melody note needs to be strictly echoed. And, for example, I do things a little differently on the first beat of each measure. The left hand plays a chord root or inversion to establish the harmony, and then it jumps up to echo the right hand in a different range.

In measures 33, 41, and 43, I break up the echo variation with some left hand block chords in the bass clef. So, changing to a different register on the harp, and giving it some accompaniment variety. So, watch for those clef changes when that happens.

Different Kinds of Echoes

And there are different kinds of echoes, too. In measure 28, in the left hand D-A-D pattern, the left hand’s A actually comes in before the right hand’s A. Maybe you could think about this as an “anticipated” echo, one that comes before the melody note instead of following it.

Later on, in measures 45 and 46, the left hand syncopation gives almost an “echo-ish” feel to the accompaniment. It’s not a MELODIC echo, but the ostinato G on the off-beats makes it almost sound like a RHYTHMIC type of echo.

Why Use Echo Variations?

Echo variations, like Echo Technique, come from the double-strung harp’s direct ancestor, the Welsh triple harp. Triple harpists in the 18th century composed and performed classical-style variations on Welsh traditional airs. And, we can use this practice for other types of music, too, like I did in this arrangement of Ode to Joy.

If you’re interested in finding out more about the history of the double-strung harp, and its relation to the Welsh triple harp, be sure to catch Episode 4 (parts 1 & 2), in our Double-Strung Harp FAQ series.

Wrapping Up

So this arrangement of Beethoven’s Ode to Joy is a great example of how Echo Technique and echo variations, from the Welsh triple harp tradition, can be used for other musical genres. My upcoming book on arranging for double-strung harp goes into more detail.

Thanks for coming today. Thanks for joining me on Episode 1 of Know The Score. If you liked what you heard today, please make sure you’re subscribed, so you can be notified of future episodes. And if you really want to be one of the first to get some more Double Talk, go on over to my website,, and sign up for my mailing list.

Next time, in Episode 2 of Know The Score, we’ll show how arranging with Overlap Technique can help make less into more. See you next time!

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