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"Sonatine for Harp"

Title Sonatine for Harp
ComposerF.G.J. Absil
Instrum.Pedal Harp
DateAugust 2006
DurationTotal: 14'40 (3 movements: 5'40 + 4'30 + 4'30)
StyleModal (Mixo-Lydian, Lydian)
KeyEb, F, Ab
MeterVarious (4/4, 6/4 and 12/8)
TempoAllegro, Lento, Presto


A musical score excerpt
  • Solo Pedal Harp.


This sonatine for solo pedal harp is in tonal and modal style and consists of three movements.

Mvt. 1: Allegro grazioso (120 BPM), Meter: 4/4, Key: Eb Mixo-Lydian, 170 mm (5'40).
The opening movement is based on a modal theme, that is presented in a number of variations (m. 5: introduction, m. 17: 1st variation, m. 36: 2nd variation, m. 67 and 87: transition, m. 99: 3rd variation, m. 107: transition, m. 124: 4th variation and transition, m. 140: recapitulation, m. 158: coda) and counterpoint settings (m. 29, m. 48, m. 76 inverted, m. 113). As a contrast there is a number of phrases based on chordal structures in seconds and fourths (starting at m. 59, 82, 94, 116 and 135), that strengthen the Mixo-Lydian character of the movement.

Mvt. 2: Lento tranquilo e rubato (60 BPM), Meter: 6/4-4/4, Key: F-Lydian, 48 mm (4'30).
The slow middle movement has a tranquil main motive, presented four times (m. 1, m. 9, m. 19 and m. 47), interspersed with rapid, flowing and contrasting atonal phrases, leading to a climax at mm. 24-25 and mm. 38-39. These use different playing techniques, such as fast syncopated plucked patterns, playing near the soundboard, short and long glissandi and harmonics.

Mvt. 3: Presto giocoso (86 BPM), Meter: 12/8-6/8, Key: Ab-Lydian, 135 mm (4'30).
The last movement is in rondo form with the gentle, Lydian main theme presented three times (m. 11, m. 54 and m. 122). The introduction (mm. 1-10) is based on a dominant pedal; this idea reappears in various disguises (see, e.g., mm. 103-121). The intermediary sections are in Mixo-Lydian mode and with a clear reference to the blues (mm. 30-53 and mm. 75-98); note the syncopated accents.

Pedal settings and changes are indicated in the score.