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Celebration of Scholarship and Creative Activity 2023

Arranging Music for Voice and Harp

Elsa Zank

Senior, Music Performance


My objective for my summer 2022 undergraduate research grant was to create musical arrangements of three English language folk songs for harp and voice and prepare them for performance. These arrangements collectively total approximately 15 minutes of music. This project encompassed the study of existing folk song arrangements, the notation of the selected folk melodies and their attached texts, the creation of idiomatic harp accompaniments, research regarding the history and background of the selected folk songs, and the creation of professional-level musical scores. As a double major in vocal performance and instrumental performance in harp, this project gave me the opportunity to synthesize the skills and knowledge I have gained in both my degree programs. I also put into practice the skills I have accumulated from past courses in music theory, form and analysis, and instrumentation, while also gaining new skills in composition/music arranging and score editing. Finally, to appropriately set these folk melodies to new accompaniment, I conducted a literature review on topics such as the historical background of the selected folk songs, the associated texts and their authors, and their cultural significance. I summarized this academic research into written score notes approximating a page long per song. These folk arrangements were performed as a part of my senior harp recital this spring, and I plan to investigate the process of publishing them in the future.

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