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Early Music Lecture and Master Class: Christa Patton, baroque harps

Harps and Harp Tutors in the Seventeenth-Century Hispanic World: Guides to a New World of Music Making

Early Music Lecture and Master Class: Christa Patton, baroque harps Early Music Lecture and Master Class: Christa Patton, baroque harps
Virtuoso harpists were at the center of early modern musical life in the Hispanic dominions on both sides of the Atlantic. They played for dances and accompanied singers, whether in churches or theaters. Harps were the principal basso continuo instruments into the eighteenth century. Early instruction books for harp printed in Spain are filled with notation for the popular dances of the day, dances whose patterns circulated widely. What can we learn from these dance forms for the working harp player, beyond the dances themselves? Largely unadorned in rhythm and melody, compared to dance settings for guitar and keyboard, they serve as the basis for other instrumental settings and as accompaniments for songs. They also inform us about both the social role of the harp and its effectiveness within the basso continuo ensemble.

Christa Patton, historical harpist and early wind specialist, has performed throughout the Americas, Europe, and Japan with many of today’s top early music ensembles, including Piffaro the Renaissance Band, Boston Camerata, The King’s Noyse, Folger Consort, Newberry Consort, Apollo’s Fire, Parthenia and ARTEK. As a baroque harpist specializing in 17th-century opera, Christa has performed with New York City Opera, Wolf Trap Opera, and Tafelmusik. She teaches on the faculty of Rutgers University and the Graduate Center at CUNY, and is musical director of the Baroque Opera Workshop at Queens College. Her artistry can be heard on the Lyrachord, Dorian, Navona and ATMA labels. Sponsored by the Stearns Collection of Musical Instruments and the Department of Musicology.
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Event Type


  • Free - no tickets required

When and Where

Earl V. Moore Building - Glenn E. Watkins Lecture Hall

March 2018


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