Ah, the harp. A beautifully calm, peaceful instrument, capable of playing solo or with the orchestra, lovely glissandi, and with a strong and gnarly bass! …What!? In today’s article, we are going to be listening to a piece called “Peaceful Hearts”, a lovely track played by a small, intimate ensemble comprised of a few stringed instruments, an oboe, and the harp.
Let’s listen to “Peaceful Hearts”, which first appeared in Birth by Sleep. The version in Kingdom Hearts Union Cross sounds exactly the same:
“Peaceful Hearts” is used as casual, happy music very occasionally in KHUx. It is first heard when Snow White and Prince Charming have their first meeting where they sing to each other outside by the well. With the recent update though, this track is now being used as the field theme for “Castle of Dreams”, the new Cinderella land.
When one thinks of the harp, I would imagine that most are like me in that we think of its delicate and peaceful nature. It is almost always used in calm, moderate-to-slow tempo music—I have never heard the harp used with louder instruments (i.e. drums and other aggressive percussion, blaring brass, electric guitars, etc.). Other such delicate-sounding instruments that come to mind are the glockenspiel, wind chimes, crotales, triangle… Mostly auxiliary percussion, but all of which are treble, or high-pitched, instruments.
Now, the awesome thing about the harp is that while it is on the more delicate side, it actually has an incredibly large range. Nearly the same range of a piano, the harp can play from C1 (three octaves below middle C; the piano can play down to A0, a third below this C), all the way up to G7 (four octaves above middle C; the piano can play up to C8, a fourth above this G).
If you listen to “Peaceful Hearts” again, you’ll notice that while it is a delicate piece, it still has the bass that is arguably necessary to give a piece of music a solid foundation. The bass that you hear though is not played by a cello, or a string bass, or added in electronically, but rather supplied to us by the harp. So even with this satisfying bass, the piece as a whole is still light and delicate.
Have you ever heard a piece that has epic harp!? Leave a comment with a link or story! ^_^ ♪
Stay tuned for more Single-Track Analysis Articles of tracks from Kingdom Hearts Unchained X / Kingdom Hearts Union Cross! One article every day in the month of April 2017!