Monday, December 26, 2011

I can't really tell if the tension on my harp is less.  It sort of feels like it.  The harmonic overtones are completely different.  There are definitely different tones ringing longer.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

I experimented with shifting my strings up one soundboard hole to compensate for the amount the strings are offset from the center of the tuning discs. There are so many variables that I need to sit down and list them tomorrow.

I can feel my heartbeat all the way into my fingertips and my joints are stiff. I think my hands would be so much stronger if I did this every day.

Also started combining the good parts of Prelude 2 into one file.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Audacity only lets you add one label track? That's a little inconvenient if you're wanting to make specific notes on specific tracks and have to keep scrolling up and down.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

If you duplicate your track, then apply an effect, you can also adjust the gain (volume) of the effect. I believe the duplicated track would then be the original sound (dry signal) with effects, not just the effects. I think I could tease out different areas that need more or less work and then mix them back together! Cool stuff. Or even do a straight substitution.

"You can save a selection in a label. When you create a new label, the left selection edge determines the position of the label's flag. However, the right selection edge is also stored in the label, and when you click on it, the full original selection will be restored. " - Audacity I took a couple hours and started labeling good parts.
I worked a little Prelude 3 and my rt hand started to get shaky, so I switched to xmas carols. I get bored with those pretty quickly, though.

Monday, December 12, 2011

I recorded myself three times: the first a once-through, and other two playing Prelude 2 three times each.

Yesterday, on the first file, I played around with different Gverb settings based on the wiki page. The Quick Fix sounds ok all around, but the Small, Bright Hall makes the high plinky notes sing. It gets rid of most of the finger noise and makes my harp sound like what I think it should sound like.

Today, I went through the other two files and split out each repetition of the Prelude. As well as little bits I played here and there to try to correct dynamics, mistakes, and loud pedal changes. That took about 1.5 hours including a popcorn emergency. :)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

In Audacity, if you open a sound file and save it as a project, then move the original file (ie, disconnect your Zoom microphone from your computer), the project will have no sound when you try to play it. Momentary panic averted with google search.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I've recorded enough stuff I think I can do something with the bits and pieces. I hope. I will be doing some audacity tutorials, that's for sure.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Took out 3rd and 4th finger slides in (Flight) since my tendons allow my fingers to just bend backwards instead of sliding. Nice.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Friday, November 25, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Back to things I can play with harmonics in them. My free time has been eaten up so I will not be practicing as much.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Another version of Here Comes the Flood is here:

Monday, October 31, 2011

On a whim, I emailed L&H to ask if they could tell me anything about my harp. I knew it was a style 21, but I now know it was definitely made in the early 1890s and the original owner was Mabelle Lynn Childs. I researched a little at work today and asked a couple Library Assistants to find out a little more about her, but no luck. She may have owned a longhaired female cat named Tootsie in 1906, but that is not confirmed.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

I can play harmonics again! Well, sort of. Modified harmonics.

Last version of Flood - need to get hands together, practice trouble spots and pedal changes. And try to get it not-so-clunky.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Recorded individual tracks. Wish I knew how to match them up in Audacity. I tried eying them and got cacophony.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Recorded 1st track, played 2nd track with it - need to see if I can print out individual parts as the page turns are inconvenient.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Editing two versions of Flood.

Put in pedal markings.
Practice trouble spots and page turns.
Record the multi-part in separate files.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

1 hour of Notturno in the 4 bar section/pg 2. More thumb slides in Gagliardiandia.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Bacon Palms

I realized halfway through playing that harmonics are not an option at this point.

I played a little Gagliarda by Mortari to get my hands moving again. I'm still twisting my entire arm when playing thumb slides. Are there more robust exercises I can do for thumbs?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Took another tumble off my bike and ripped skin off my palm so no practicing today!

Note to self: Get biking gloves!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Eyeball-stabby headache. Could either be from trying to deal with Finale again (thanks for changing my note spacing again) or because of the Archives Crawl yesterday.

Went through Notturno to see if I could play it more efficiently, and I can. I took out some notes and transferred others to my right hand.

Played Zarabanda and my mind is still blanking in places, so I guess I will not be able to play it without the music.

Worked on (flight) a bit. My thumb joints are really jiggly.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Have I mentioned lately I hate Finale? I printed out some music and noticed some of the notes were wrong. I went back in a fixed the notes (Finale helpfully respaced the notes as soon as I changed them so there was one measure per LINE) and now Finale will not print this file. It will print other files, just not this one. I have shut down and restarted and still nothing. Urgh!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I took the old guy in for regulating today. I now have a much less creaky base and way smoother pedals. Unfortunately, the E (and the B a teensy bit) is still hopping in between ♯ and ♮, and there's nothing obvious that's causing it. My super-nice regulator gave me a recommendation for a second opinion about the E pedal located in Corvallis.

Also, my new harp cover is SO MUCH BETTER. I had a much easier time getting my harp in and out of the car. And just holding onto it in general. Yay!

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

I am overwhelmed by my choice of music, so in order to preserve the little bit of energy I have, I am leaving the rest for tomorrow.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Friday, October 7, 2011

Played more music from my repertoire (and wore myself out - surprise nap on the couch!). I think I'm good for quantity. Need to go through the rest and sort for quality. Then come up with a program. Then find a place/places to perform. And RELAX!

But before all that, my harp needs some regulating to take care of the creaks that have crept back in, and the jumpy pedals, and the sour notes.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Timed things and I have about 45 min of music. And that's not even everything. Try to be ready in 2 mos?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Got sucked down the Finale hole again - And why is my computer playing Sean Penn?!? - so didn't really practice today. Spent most of my time trying to figure out if the scale I'm listening to is really chromatic. I don't think it is, but at the same time it really sounds like it. So I'm trying to figure it out with math, without actually using math, which is probably why it's taking me so long.

I'm really concerned about my recording guy - shoulder issues in both shoulders. Send positive healing thoughts his way, please, dear readers.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Played a skosh, but mostly cleaned up and organized. Waiting to hear from recording person about their health. I hope he's ok!

Friday, September 30, 2011

There is a new crack in my harp. *sob*

Next step is to take detailed pictures and send to L&H for an estimate.

Or not, because I'm hallucinating. The crack I just saw that I could insert my fingernail in has closed up?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Messed around with Flood - I had to adjust the measures, then played with formatting. It's now much more readable.

But I still need to practice!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

I think I may have possibly discovered that ignoring the order I've been taught to place helps stabilize my thumbs. Placing everything all at once helps. Possibly. It needs further testing.

This is exciting news, people!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Back to playing today. I feel a little lost without massive amounts of cordura, flannel and foam lying around waiting for me to stitch them together.

Zarabanda is still mostly memorized, woohoo!

Fingers are stiff as expected. Maybe do some exercises later.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hmm... last publish 14 Sept. I've been busy poking holes in my fingers. You can read about that over at the old motorharp lj. I jammed my thumb (hard!) against the floor in addition to all the slicing and dicing. And since I have the bendy thumbs, I actually jammed it backwards. Ow.

I hope I play tomorrow. Lots of work to do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Looked through different version of Flood. Need to write it out enharmonically. Or figure out which parts M wants, then write it out.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Visited a St. Patrick's this morning while it was still cool. The highway noise is incredibly loud, but the space sounds amazing.

Zarabanda: I cannot frakking memorize this thing! I forget the page-turn section on the 2nd play-through.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Prelude : Problem spots. Need to place both thumb and 1st fingers together not separate.

Prelude 2: Need to build up muscles for small glisses.

Prelude 3: Count!

Zarabanda: Almost memorized - work on page turn and last two major sections.

I want my Amhrán Slán!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Skipping things because of hotness and just now getting to harp stuff. Excitedly ordered sheet music of Amhrán Slán to download, but email servers are down. Rrrrrrr!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Got a call back about a location. Need to contact sound engineer.

Insónia and Zarabanda. I just need to memorize the last page and a half.

Monday, September 5, 2011 find "Portland.
recorded portland or
record harp in portland oregon

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Analyzing Zarabanda did help. Probably from having to look at it so closely, and the 2nd half of the piece is almost identically third down from the first half.

Singing (ow) and chords.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zarabanda: Analyzed it. As best I could anyway. Probably not going to help me memorize it since I was unable to identify many of the chords. Em11 or Em + D? Are there Maj, Min, Dim, and Aug 9ths? Urgh.

The discussion/article by Phillip Magnuson may be helpful.

Or not. Also got a hold of an actual person when calling for recording spaces. No luck, though.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Was going to do critical listening of Insónia, but ran out of memory RIGHT BEFORE I started playing. Got all of me talking, though. Not really useful.

Zarabanda - played around with which chords in which hands and memorizing is a lot easier when the hands make sense.

But I do have some sort of cold, so that may not be accurate.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Harmonic Resonance

My grandmother's brass roses I have in an old raspberry soda bottle from Russia have a resonant frequency of about 65Hz. In case you were curious.

Fighting off a cold and feeling under the weather. The weather seems to be under the weather today, too. So I exercised for a little while focusing on relaxing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

No motivation to play. I think it's because I'm itching to record and tired of playing the same things over and over.

Played some things to keep my fingers limber.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Just warm up. Zarabanda extra notes are to give the impression of a sustained note, but I'm not sure if it works. Record with and without.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Prelude 3: got 2 measures further, almost.

Insónia: played with dynamics and "swing". Proper slow fast is more difficult to achieve, but more necessary?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Crocheting is not a less fatiguing substitute for knitting. Shaky, shaky hands.


Listened to Insónia and put in dynamic markings. We'll see if they help.

Going to compare Zarabanda versions later on this evening. Or I guess I should say "night".

List of Recording Locations

Studio recording final today. Completely dozy today and having a hard time getting going.

List of cathedral-y/historic churches (can I make a custom map?):
Westminster Presbyterian NE 16th & Hancock, variable times, chimes at noon and 5pm, daycare/preschool in mornings and afternoons, $50/hr, Rose City Park United Methodist 503.281.1229
First Unitarian Church SW 12th & Salmon
Brook Hill Historic Church 11539 NW Skyline Boulevard 503.629.9700, very busy street (!), evenings are better, call for times and pricing when I know how much time I need.
First United Methodist Church SW 18th & Jefferson - Mookie contacting? but on bus and max route
First Congregational Church SW Park & Madison
Central Lutheran Church NE 21st & Hancock
Oaks Pioneer Church SE 13th & Tacoma
St. James Lutheran Church SW Park & Jefferson
The Old Church SW 11th & Clay - Can't hear myself on stage, on bus and max route, $35/hr to record
Ascension Episcopal Parish SW Vista & Spring (SW of downtown)
First Baptist Church SW 12th & Taylor (streetcar)
Zion Lutheran Church SW 18th & Salmon (Max)
Mizpah Presbyterian Church SE 24th & Tamarack Ladd's Addition private residence?
St. Patrick's Roman Catholic Church NW 19th & Savier Left message 8/25 Could be a possibility - highway 30 right next to it so need to go check it out. Available during the week or Sun afternoon or evening. No A/C.
First Presbyterian Church SW 12th & Alder (bus routes) Left message 8/25  Not great acoustics, recommended Trinity Episcopal Cathedral NW 19th & Davis, St. Mary's Cathedral NW 17th & Davis
Old Scotch Church Off 26 past Rockcreek Hillsboro Office hours: 9-1 T-F Very helpful person answered the phone - they don't usually allow recording because of the work involved, ie staff extra hours. Not something I would have thought of. Gave me a recommendation for St. Matthew Catholic Church. Thank you!
Saint Sharbel Church Ladd's Addition emailed 8/25
St Philip Neri Catholic Church Ladd's Addition
St. Stephen's Catholic Church SE 41st & Taylor
Holy Trinity Cathedral Ne 31st & Glisan

View Recording Locations in a larger map

Sunday, August 21, 2011


Zarabanda: Trying to re-memorize. It's ok if it's slow going!

Prelude 1: Pushed up to 152 again, then back down to 120 and it was a little easier. But still need to work on loud arpeggios. I can play them quietly, but then I don't get the intense sound that section seems to call for.

Prelude 2: Played with and without metronome. Just needs polishing and paying attention while playing.

Prelude 3: Need to keep up what I've worked on.

Insónia: Ran through, need to put explicit dynamic markings in after listening to recordings.

Too hot to record today - the fan would have drown everything out.

Friday, August 19, 2011


Recorded Insónia. Need critical listening to add in dynamics.

Prelude 1: Working on speed and relaxing. ETA: Sort of kind of played it at 152, which is the outside range, and my wrist hurts. What would it take to relax at that speed?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Harp Recording Locations

I'm delving into the recording details of one of my favorite harp recordings: The Genius of Salzedo by Judy Loman.

It turns out it was recorded at Grace Church-On-The-Hill. No wonder it sounds amazing.

Dear readers, do any of you know of any place like this (old stone cathedral-type church (not like the Old Church downtown)) close to Portland, OR that's super cheap?

Blogger is annoying

I'm trying posting music here again. I recorded dragging cassette tape tied around bass wires through my fingers.

ETA: Nope. It is nowhere to be found. I followed the directions! You can find it here:

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Tried the cassette tape thingy. It is interesting, but for any constant drone purposes would probably need to be recorded and looped.

Listened to more versions of Peter Gabriel for friend. Waiting to find out what next direction is.


Practiced Insónia. Not sure if I like it when I play it. And I need to focus on playing hands together. In unison!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Memorizing - or re-memorizing - Zarabanda just using my brain. It's a difficult piece.

I got a couple volumes of piano music by Turina and I LOVE his stuff. Volume 1 has Partita in C in it, which contains Zarabanda. I think I may want to transcribe more of his music.

Exercises and played.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Cape Breton Duo

There are really good quality videos for one of my favorite performances of the 2011 World Harp Congress, Cape Breton Duo. Yay!

Friday, August 12, 2011

I got a tetanus shot today and my arm is completely useless.

Correction, it's quite useful as a noise-maker - every time I move it, you can hear a little squeak of pain.

I was told that moving it would help it hurt less. This is not true. In fact, the opposite is true, complete with nausea. I think the "shotter" managed to hit a nerve, THE nerve that goes from my neck, around my funny bone, and into my pinky.

I did, however, remember this little factoid: "Mental practice - If you are injured, play hard two hours a day WITHOUT TOUCHING THE HARP. Apparently, you can learn up to 90% of your music this way! I must try this." Did I do this? Not today. But I would like to remember it's an option in the future.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Kicked my own ass with a long bike ride to class and an even longer one home, despite it being downhill, and not eating properly. Managed a few exercises and run-throughs, but couldn't hold my arms up. Another day wasted. And I still have a headache from throwing my neck out.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

My new tuning key holder:

I didn't do the best job sewing it, and I will probably try to make another one at some point, but it is sturdy and works and now I don't have to hunt around for it every time I want to tune!

ETA: Exercises

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Stretched before playing.

Warm-up with Lariviere.

Played everything quietly and focused on relaxing and playing longer amount of time rather than loudly and for a short time. More of an aerobic thing than weight-lifting thing?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Tuning key holder thingy

I'm also making a new harp tuning key holder thingy.

Worked on Prelude 1 trouble spots - really helps in upper registers if I relax.

No stamina after taking time off and transcribing.

ETA: Got all of Insónia into Finale.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Sunday, July 31, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 6

The last day was just travel, and not music related, but I couldn't believe what happened.

Things I wished I'd had during my travels:
- More business cards
- Tried on my nice outfit before I left and found out it didn't fit then
- More music memorized
- A travel pack of tissues

Saturday, July 30, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 5


Is it really the last day? I finally managed to get everywhere on time and then I have to leave.

I went to another technician's workshop and got to ask some personal harp-specific questions that some other people were interested in, and I'm feeling a little better about not wearing out my harp beyond repair.

Then, since I hadn't checked anything as "must see" for the rest of the morning, I decided I must see more harps. And by "see" I mean "play". All the harps I played sounded better than mine.

I played:
  • Aoyama's Sakura and Orpheus 47. There were slight differences - the Sakura really does seem to have lighter tension and was easier to play. The Orpheus was heavier.
  • Salvi's Echo Rainbow EA sounded fine without the amp, but plinky in the headphones.
  • Salvi's (forgot which model) CG extended sounded plinky in the top, ok mid-range, and good bass and the glisses sounded great from the mid-range all the way to the top. But the body is way too thick for me and puts my neck in an awkward position.
  • L&H - too many other people playing so too loud to judge any type of sound quality. I played a Salzedo model because my teacher growing up had one. They're much smaller now than when I was 9. :)
  • Camac was gone by this time. :(

On to the Library! It's a wonderful space (they have a workroom to die for) with plenty of signs telling you where you are and what you can do on each floor. I got an internet access library card which is good for a year. Anyone can get one!

Back to St. Andrew's for a Renaissance lecture and recital on Handel and the Baroque style. Maxine Eilander played a triple-strung harp with the Pacific Baroque Ensemble. The played a delicate and lovely version of Handel's Harp Concerto. Handel apparently had a thing for the harp in an era when it wasn't popular. Go Handel!

The White Nights recital was another ticketed event at the Vogue Theatre. Once again, I liked Scottish alright; Irish is just not my thing. But they totally rocked the audience. And they had such charming accents that I recorded a little bit for a friend of mine and ended up catching a pretty funny story.

Since the afternoon events at the Vogue had one ticket, and there were no entries after exits, I stayed to catch a little bit of Máire Ní Chathasaigh's Irish harp through the centuries. It was interesting, but I decided to head out to dinner a little early instead.

Onto the final Evening Concerti at St. Andrew's. I have checks next to everything in my program. All four pieces were so good.
Kaori Otake played "Concertino for Harp and Strings" by Jean-Michel Damase. It sounded like it was written in the 50s for a television performance by a harpist wearing lots and lots of tulle.

Mieko Inoue played "Piano Concerto in D+, Hob. XVIII arranged for harp" by Joseph Haydn and arranged by Inoue. The cadenzas were cool and composed by Tomoyuki Asakawa specifically for Inoue.

Willy Postma played "Ballade for harp and strings" by Einojuhani Rautavaara. This woman gets fantastic sound out of the harp. The piece is incredibly atmospheric and should have been the soundtrack to Ladyhawke (worst. soundtrack. ever.).

Belgrade Harp Quartet played "Dream, light, movement, for four harps and orchestra" by Božidar Obradinović.

At last, it's over. Good-bye, Wall Center. You've been tall.

Friday, July 29, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 4


I thought I'd stop in to hear a bit of Peter Wiley's Technician's Workshop and cut out early to catch the performance I had marked as "must-see" on my schedule. I got there late (really? still?) and hung out in the back. His information consisted mostly of don't-touch-anything-let-the-professionals-do-it, which as a mechanical engineer and tinkerer, Does Not Work For Me. Oh well.

The Pictures on Silence duo was first up in the Coffee Concert. I had wanted to see them especially because it's a harp and SAX duo. Would that work? How would that work? It turns out: perfectly. The harp and saxophone were so well balanced and complemented each other impeccably. They played "Alba" by Graham Lynch, "Empty Every Night" by David Smooke, and "Rumba" by Maurice Whitney.

"Empty Every Night" is described on their website as a "challenging work using many extended techniques." One of the techniques Jacqueline Pollauf used was tying a length of cassette tape around a couple of her bass wires, and pulling them through her fingers - like curling Christmas ribbon - to create a buzzy/droning sound. In the picture, Jacqueline is at the end of drawing the tape out. So cool! I will be trying this posthaste. They also just released a CD. Score!

I had 45 minutes before I had to be anywhere else, so I took the time to play harps from all the manufacturers. I have a brief note that says: "L&H & Aoyama tied 1st, then Camac, then Salvi?" It took me a few plays to get my hands warmed up and remember Prelude 1, but pretty much every harp sounded amazing.

Salvi Apollo
Salvi Daphne detail - Of course I'm drawn to the only ebony harp. And the accents are teal, yummy!

Aoyama showroom

Camac showroom

Lyon & Healy/Salvi showroom (be careful of the volume)

Next was a panel discussion on "Hand position and relaxation for better playing and preventing injury". I made it ON TIME. The panel was made up of harpists, harpists with medical degrees and a hand therapist. Guess what! Once again, my hypermobility means I have to work harder than "normal" people to play the harp. The reason my thumb bends completely backwards is because of the loose volar plate in my thumb (Thanks, Mom!). However, a lot of people have that "design feature" and are not hypermobile.

The panel talked specifically about hypermobility and had us test ourselves. I got a 9 out of 9, of course. But then they had people who were 9's raise their hands. Yes, I was the only one. (Besides a Alison Austin (teacher) on the panel.) AND THEN I GOT CALLED UP ON STAGE. Luckily, it was not only me - people who were (I think) 5 and higher were considered hypermobile and also got on stage. I didn't have to do any bendy stuff, just talk about what problems hypermobility creates for me (have you got an hour?).

Other interesting things from the panel:
  • Proprioception - Is something like compensating for the lack of tactile input due to calluses by increasing pressure used to pluck the strings.
  • Kinesthesia - Knowing where your thumbs are! Mind mapping is a way of looking at what the mind considers important - the thumbs are the biggest followed by hands and face. There were sculptures that showed this and were quite silly.
  • To find your comfortable playing position, hold your hands out like a zombie, wiggle your fingers over an invisible ball, slowly turn your palms as if they would face each other (keep wiggling your fingers), and stop when you get to the right spot. If you go too far, you'll know because your fingers won't wiggle as well.
  • During the day - do light activities first, then heavy (lifting weights). Don't do heavy before practicing. (I had already figured this out through trial and error.)
  • Mental practice - If you are injured, play hard two hours a day WITHOUT TOUCHING THE HARP. Apparently, you can learn up to 90% of your music this way! I must try this.

The lunch concert was "Renaissance to Early Baroque Music" by Therese Honey. She spoke a little between each piece and I finally know what a bray harp is (pegs are turned so they buzz against the string giving it a middle eastern flavor). It was sweet.

The afternoon concert was a tribute to Ceren Necipoğlu who was a well-loved teacher and who had passed away in 2009. The notable pieces for me were "Sultan-i Yegah Saz Semaisi" by Danyal Manti played by Sebla Akbulut and "Amhrán Slán" by Garrett Byrnes played by Lavinia Meijer. You can hear a sample of "Amhrán Slán" on Garrett's "works" page and I recommend checking it out. It really is beautiful.

The next event was a Master Class with Marie Pierre Langlamet. I did not know anything about her or the pieces; I had never attended a master class before and wanted to know how they work. It's basically like watching someone else's harp lesson. So I headed out to another performance at St. Paul's. I would like to say that I managed to walk straight there and back. No getting lost or turned around. W00t!

I wanted to catch Jennifer Swartz performing "Storm's Morrow: Haikus and harp solo" by Amit Gilutz. She narrated the haikus between each movement.

Back to St. Andrews for the afternoon recital with Heidi Van Hoesen Gorton. She is an incredibly expressive player and she was wearing an awesome sparkly floofy dress.

And Arpello Duo were wonderful together.

After dinner I headed over to the Orpheum Theatre for the evening concert with the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. It's really fancy.

The standout piece of the evening for me was "Baker: Harp Concerto" by Michael Conway Baker performed by Kristan Toczko. Modern yet melodic. The piece is "dedicated to [his] wife, Penny, who has always loved the harp and who has provided [him] a warm and loving home". So sweet! I found out the harpist had stepped in at the last minute (6 weeks) and had learned and memorized it in that time. Three orchestral movements, people! Holy. Crap.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 3


Armed with a Translink day pass, I completely skipped all the morning sessions to head out to Capilano bright and early. I got every place I was supposed to be when I was supposed to.

Waiting for the shuttle

But don't let that allay any assumptions you have made about the rest of my day.

I started out on the Cliff Walk. This picture gives a slight sense of the possible vertigo you might feel there:

I was fine for the most part. However, crossing the main bridge is ... arduous. For some reason, I didn't think the suspension bridge would be bouncing and swaying like, oh, I don't know, a suspension bridge. It was nearly impossible to get decent pictures on the bridge as I was bouncing around.

I got back in enough time to get lunch sorted out AND attend the lunch concert (late). The Debussy Trio was in the second movement of "In the Blue Glen" by David Evan Thomas when I arrived. It was a piece well suited to the trio and I really liked the third movement - Debussy re-imagined for modern times.

I had some time between performances so I decided to do a little shopping and take a quick look at the vendors (ie HARPS!). I stopped by La Magasin de la Harpe and prevented myself from buying a metric crap-ton of music, just some basics that my collection has been lacking.

Then I checked out some of the harp rooms. *drool*

Aoyama's Sakura

Me wants.

For the next concert, all I had to do was cross the street to St. Andrew's Wesley Church, which I managed to do. The Four Seasons Quartet is four harpists (without a website!) who formed to play The Four Seasons by Vivaldi arranged by Quartetto d'Arpe di Venezia and stayed together. I really think Vivaldi is better suited to the original instruments he composed for, but despite that I forgot how relaxing harp music can be when I'm not the one playing.

I then headed to St. Paul's Anglican Church (without the labyrinth this time) and got turned around again and arrived late. I didn't think too much of it because I normally am not fanatical about Irish harp music. But it was unfortunate because I was sorry to miss any tiny morsel of the "Cape Breton" Harp Duo. They were amazing! They completely blew me away. Their focus is the musical cultures of Scotland, Ireland, and Eastern Canada. It turns out I like Scottish harp a LOT. You can see and hear them (not the best quality) here playing a beautiful slow song. Their voices are so well suited to each other and they were just spot on together. Go see them if they play near you.

I left the church and got lost. Again. I had wandered a little past where I wanted to go because I wasn't paying attention because I assumed by now I'd know where I was going. Right.

I grocery shopped and took a couple much-needed hours for dinner.

This evening's concert was again at the Vogue Theatre. I made it without a hitch. Yay!

First up was Park Stickney et al. I'm not a fan of jazz harp, but he's quite talented and I see what all the fuss is about. He and Rudiger Opperman (Oppertronic Electroharp), Ricardo Medeiros (bass) and Craig Scott (drums) did a version of Jimi Hendrix's "If 6 was 9" that I actually found not-too-cheesy.

Next was the Eastman Chamber Ensemble playing one very short piece, Venezolana for 5 pedal harps by Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. Pretty setup.

The final performance was titled "Latin American Virtuosos!" I didn't quite get into it at first, but halfway through they (or I) seemed to catch their (or my) snap. It was after Eduardo Betancourt soloed. This guy is an INSANE player and completely charming.

You can see a video here (warning: the sound is not good). What are his hands even doing?!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 2


Whew! Crazy day. I hit the ground running at 8am and didn't stop until 9:30pm.

The first (late) stop was a panel discussion "The Acoustics of Harps" presented by three enginerd professors from Canada and France (and France), Chris Waltham, Benjamin Elie and Jean-Loïe Le Carrou respectively. Even though the French guys were not speaking their native language, they were speaking my language. I found their experiments and charts mapping the sound envelope of the harp interesting. Unfortunately, they ran over their time and didn't want to miss my next session so I left before I could find out any conclusions. However, I did get a couple websites: and that I will check out later.

Next, I was headed off to someplace called "St. Paul's Anglican Church LABYRINTH", which did not bode well, for a session titled "Yoga and Pilates for Harpists". I found the actual labyrinth ok and... (I just realized right now that it was referencing the Chartre Labyrinth that was painted on the floor of the room we were in. Dur.)... Anyway, the walk to the church was .5 miles, but I made it more. Did I mention I'm a panicky traveler? Vancouver is so completely easy to navigate I have no idea what was going on with me. I arrived late (you will be hearing that more - it was my theme for the congress) and missed some info, but I think I got the gist.

It was taught by Danielle Perrett (England). She is a harpist and saw a need for this kind of instruction and filled the need. She teaches mostly Yoga with a little bit of Pilates and McKenzie Method (My PT folks use this method!) There were some things she said that really stuck in my mind:

  • Our bodies mold themselves to playing the harp, therefore we need to do a lot of opposite motions.
  • Instead of shoulder rolls, perform shoulder "D"s (no forward motion).
  • Core strength is what holds us up when playing -strengthen it!.

The demonstration harp was loaned and made by David harps. I don't know if you can see in the picture, but it is a grey and white marble finish with maroon accents. Yes, really.

I got turned around finding my way back to the hotel, so I didn't have a chance to get lunch before my main reason for attending: The Hongyun Konghou Ensemble. I have a 30 second video of them playing posted over at facebook. In this short span of time you can see and hear the girl in the middle bending the strings and using her retractable pick. They have picks attached by string to tiny retractable rollers attached to rings they wear around their index fingers.

Warming up.

The rest of the afternoon was a free afternoon for tours and such, however the Capilano Suspension Bridge tour was cancelled due to lack of interest. By this time I was famished, so I decided I'd find a place to eat and then just go out to the Bridges myself using public transportation. I made my way back to a sushi place I found on my earlier wanderings back from pilates, surprisingly accurately, I might add, and had an extremely late lunch, something which I cannot function well doing at all.

By the time I was ready to catch the hotel shuttle to the Bridges, I would have had to get across town in a record two minutes to catch the last one of the day, so I mapped out a route taking all public transportation. The instructions had me get off the bus too early so I walked (some more) to the Waterbus station.

This is the bus I hoped to be on:

I went into the station to get a ticket for the next one and couldn't find my bus transfer, which meant I would have had to shell out another $3.75, which I refused to do on principle. The station also does not have a bathroom in it, and a guard pointed me in the wrong direction to public restrooms. I ended up using one in a coffee shop, but it was actually in a health club to which the barista escorted me through their storeroom and up a couple flights of stairs to a room with showers and ONE toilet.

I walked all the way back across town.

To give myself a break, I got takeout at a restaurant downstairs from my apartment. They got the order wrong.

The evening concert was Winter Harp and Patrick Ball. I wasn't too interested in Winter Harp, so I wasn't too concerned that I arrived late (Surprise! I got lost. But I found the Vogue Theatre with the help of an increasingly concerned police officer). My suspicions they weren't my cup of tea were confirmed, but they are some talented musicians.

The pedal harp is, I believe, a sister to mine. The decorations and carving looked almost identical.
They have a 5 foot tall Psaltery (they're normally 1.5 - 3 ft) you can see 2nd from the right.
At the far right is an Organistrum, which is a hand-cranked drone-type instrument. There is an engraving in Latin on the side that says, "Do not turn past 300rpm." Hee!

I had never seen Patrick Ball perform, so I was looking forward to it. Right before he came out, though, they announced no photos. Grrr. In this day and age, that seems a bit odd. And he looked really great, too - his costume made me feel nostalgic, even though it was period from the 1730s.

Patrick's performance was a scene acted entirely by him, punctuated with music. I had difficulty following the performance, which was the story of Turlough O'Carolan's last days as told by Charles MacCabe. The music was a different matter. Patrick's playing is effortless and flawless. Watching his hands move over the strings seemed more like he was gently scratching a cat's ears and the harp purred its content. Simply amazing.

I managed to make it back to the apartment in a relatively straight line and collapsed in bed, hoping to have a better navigational next day.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

World Harp Congress - Day 1


Travel Day
I hadn't taken the train out of Portland and had only seen pictures of Union Station. It's a lovely old station that originally opened in 1896 and has lots of great neon.

I'm an infrequent traveler (and tend to be a skosh panicky) and I figured once I got there I'd just print out my tickets and hop on the train. As I was printing out my tickets at the kiosk, a preemptively helpful attendant was walking by and let me know I'd need to get in line at the desk across the room 1/2 hour before boarding to get my seat assignment and that there would be an announcement when that happened. Thank you!

The trains all have digital signs on the side identifying the train and car numbers. Once you're on the train and have located your seat, the clear plastic bar covering the seat number serves as a holder for your seat assignment paper. The attendants can then come through and easily check full and empty seats.

One of the great things about train travel is you get lulled to sleep whether you want to or not. One of the not-so-great things - the bridge out of Portland was stuck in the "up" position for about 15 minutes, then we got diverted behind a freight train. But another great thing about the train: you're guaranteed a connection even if the train is late. I ended up having 5 minutes to spare to catch my bus from Seattle to Vancouver, where I was originally supposed to have an hour.

Catching a bus from the train station into Vancouver was pretty easy, as well. Their "Community Shuttle" bus numbers all start with "C" and I caught one to the place I was staying in town. It was a nice studio apartment with rooftop access.

I found this place through airbnb, which I highly recommend, even though I've only used it once. You can rent things like castles and igloos, for Pete's sake!

Friday, July 22, 2011

I've been playing off and on, just not posting.

Started transcribing Insónia.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

I thought another rainy day would have inspired me to hole up in my room and practice, but it simply inspired me not to be inspired.

I did, however:
Work a little on Prelude 2.
Download insónia, which is, happily, licensed under the creative commons.
Download an mp3 of Monastery Bells which was not available the last time I checked amazon.

I think I was also superannoyed because of several technology fails today, the main one being my iPod turns the volume down on its own. Yes, I've tried resetting it, and I'm not looking forward to having to exchange it/visit the apple store/research something else to replace it.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

I received Bortniansky's Concerto in D major sheet music from ILL. I now know how some of the sounds I like are made; the ones I couldn't separate out with my ear.

And here's a fun music quiz from the New York Times.
I picked the blend of human and machine 75% of the time. CYBORG MUSIC!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Here Comes the Flood is mostly done. I finished transcribing it, transposed it up a 1/2 step, and recorded it. It is on my website under Peter Gabriel. However, I forgot to tune before recording and I was still trying to figure out what chords I was hearing while playing. So it's a bit bumpy.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Almost finished with PG. Some chords are still not quite right.

Recorded Zarabanda cold, then practiced a bit and recorded again. Dynamics way better than first time.
Things I liked:
Quiet dynamics are the right level.
Notes I emphasized are emphasized.
Mistakes covered by counting.

Things to improve:
Tempo - it's not a race.
Despite not playing in rhythm, it sounds like I'm playing with a metronome.
Loud sections are not loud enough and sound flat.

And I have blisters?

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Did music things for 3 hours, but not consecutively. Do I like that? My right arm gave out at the end of the 3rd hour.

I got more PG done.

I am at the nit-picky point with Z.

Prelude 1 is impossible to play cold. That will probably not be a recital piece.

Getting Partita in C from ILL to check if E♭ is really E♭ and not D♯.

Friday, July 8, 2011

PG - I hear something different every time I listen to it. Determining what the bass note is a process of elimination - It is not in an octave with the treble F, therefore it must be the A♮.

Prelude 1: apparently the same muscles I was using to wash the car.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

No practicing due to a 3 hour washing of car and not being able to use my arms afterward.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Zarabanda: Found another place where the left hand is unnecessarily playing right hand notes. Looking forward to recording this.


COUNTING! Counting, counting, counting!

Monday, July 4, 2011

Prelude 2: Test recording showed things - my hands are not together, nor my fingers, and dynamics are too loud. I also completely messed up a section, but the average listener would not have been able to tell because a) it's modern and b) I stayed on the beat! Counting is definitely working.

Prelude 1: Tried to play to speed. Finally made peace with the fact that I can't play it at speed. Played ♩ = 96. Then, for kicks, set metronome at 126 and played it almost perfectly with one false start. WTF. Of course I was not recording.

Prelude 3: Started on 2nd page.

Zarabanda: Back was stiff at this point so stopped. Which reminds me I need to go stretch.

Breathing and relaxing is helpful.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Spent an hour working on Here Comes the Flood, which seems to be my limit. I think once I get the first verse completed, the rest will click into place. I still can't tell if the lower notes are D, A or F.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Worked on Prelude 1 trouble spots identified from recording. I fixed the problem spots, sort of, but then had whole new problem spots. I'm fearing I'm never going to get this to a recordable status.

Played Prelude 2 with and without metronome. That will be recordable soon.

Played 1st page of Prelude 3 at =160 and got tangled up at the G♮ - ♯ - ♮ - ♯ + B♭.

Recorded Zarabanda. Happily, I had exactly the dynamics I hoped I had in one section and the other sections just need a little work and focus. I think this could be ready to record soon, too.

Also played a little Grey Donkeys. I can play everything except the beginning. Nice. It's got some really beautiful sounds in it so I need to figure out a way to get into it without anyone noticing the bad beginning.

Mostly, though, the new Y△CHT is keeping my musical attention.

Monday, June 27, 2011

More attempts at transcribing - what I learned in school about how I listen is still holding up. I can listen to one voice at a time. I can listen to the bass OR soprano OR treble, but not all at once. And I can't transcribe for longer than an hour or everything starts to jumble together.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Worked on 1st 3 Preludes. Gave myself 2nd finger blisters - both hands!

Figured out I need to lean back from my harp in order to play the top register without doing weird (and double-jointed) things to my fingers.

Started trying to transcribe Peter Gabriel's "Here Comes the Flood". In order to be in tune with the recording I have, I have to be in all flats. However, the chords (I think) are D♭m7 and B♭♭m7 (playing A♮). It would make more sense these would be Dm7 and B♭m7 in the realm of sensible chords. Are these sensible chords? I guess if you're Peter Gabriel, you can do whatever the heck you want.

I also canNOT hear notes in the lower registers. I could not distinguish between 5th octave A and D. My music theory instructor said that would come with practice, but I'm not so sure.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Today is one of those days where nothing seems to go right.

I'm not able to play Prelude 1 in rhythm. It sounds uneven when I listen to the recording. I don't know how to resolve this.

And I'm in the middle of dyeing, so that's it for today.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Playing Prelude 3 is like hugging thin person with a right arm the size of a beer keg.

Turning the metronome on and off seems to help me learn faster? Or maybe it seems that way because it's new.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Haven't posted the past couple sessions because of torn cuticle and painful hot finger, but did play a little.

Worked on Prelude 3 today. Weird counting; I'm either counting 1-2-1-2-3, or 1-1-2- 1-2-3, when it should be 1-2-3-1-2 or 1-2-3-4-5. My brain knows where I should be in later measures, but not sure where that exactly occurs, either. Trying Kondonassis' recommendation to turn metronome on and off, and I seem to pay more attention with it off.

Actually getting better at counting, though, from practicing counting.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

On Playing the Harp

On Playing the Harp by Yolanda Kondonassis
Playing the Harp by Yolanda Kondonassis at

I checked this out from, once again, our lovely Inter-Library Loan system and sat down at the harp and read through it tonight.

I wish I'd had this last year when I was trying to figure out the proper positions for my fingers and elbows. Used as a sequel to Method for the Harp, this book has more than enough details and strengthening exercises to help me out.

Some of the tips that stood out:

I'm notoriously bad about counting measures, and am never sure where I am if I lose the beat. I do play well with a metronome, however. Kondonassis recommends

"when using a metronome," ... "playing through a given passage first without the metronome at a reasonable practice tempo. When you have finished, do the exact same passage again with the metronome."

And she recommends switching back and forth each time the passage is practiced.

The Art of Practicing

'Make sure you aren't reinforcing mistakes by trying to play through things "just to get the overall idea."'

That would be me!

Strengthening and Conditioning

"Add volume to your exercises as you would add weights to a barbell."

This is so blindingly obvious now that it's been pointed out to me.

A reassuring thought:

"People err who think my art comes easily to me. I assure you, dear friend, nobody has devoted so much time and thought to composition as I. There is not a famous master whose music I have not industriously studied many times." - Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

And a thought to chew on:

"Music is what happens between the notes." -Claude Debussy

What does that mean?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Started work on Prelude 1 again; getting some focus after talking to friends and family. :)

Also, started to work on Zarabanda again to get it up to snuff. After spending time in school, I realize I may need to practice like I study - in shifts where I don't spend more than one hour on one subject.

Downloaded Peter Gabriel's Here Comes the Flood to my iPod so's I can maybe transcribe it and finally pay back my sound guy. !

Friday, June 10, 2011

Played C Maj Sonata and tried Prelude 1. I actually still sort of have that in my fingers.

Finale did a surprisingly good job of recognizing the Bortniansky, although scanning it and saving as a .tif worked better than scanning it directly in as that didn't work at all.

Now to see if it will transpose it to anything recognizable in C♭.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Wore myself out being OUTSIDE. Finally, summer seems to be here. Short practice of Sonata in C Maj.

Need to:
-analyze it
-figure out how to play f and f♯ at the same time. Transpose it down 1/2 step? That would be B♯/C♭ major. Oy. Actually, C♭ would be just fine - I think that's what Salzedo did with Chaconne by Durand. Except that part is in C minor. Oy again. C♭ minor? What key signature would that even be? Need to analyze it, definitely.

ETA -and scan it in to Finale and clean it up because it looks like it was engraved on a sandy beach during an earthquake.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Getting my fingers in shape. Again. I'm tired of these interruptions. And my brain used to practicing/learning again.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Tried to play some Satie to see if my pedals are still creaking, and they are. Not sure if this means a trip to the harp repair person or just sucking it up and figuring out a different recording set-up.

Friday, June 3, 2011

And one more thing, er... two more things.

While researching Sonatas and looking for inspiration, I found these that I'm completely addicted to:

Then, in trying to track down some sheet music for these, I got a book through ILL (gotta love your local library) called Russian Old Music for Piano, and discovered I like a lot of Russian Classical music. Some of its appropriately minor and bleak, but then the pieces in major keys are fantastic, as witnessed above.

I think I'm done with school. I mean, as in, I think I've turned in everything I'm supposed to turn in, or will soon.

I basically had to stop playing while I was in school as this term was a much heavier workload, despite dropping a class. But... but... BUT...

I now have many of the music theory skills I was hoping to have! I can identify Renaissance chorales and fantasias, Baroque Fugues, and Classical Rondos and Sonatas. I can (sort of) hear a tune and replicate it on my harp. I can tell when something modulates, and I know what a Napoleon 6th is, even though those were not on my list of things to learn.

This is exciting, people!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Been snowed under by homework, but today played a bunch of Clementi Sonatinas to study the chord changes and modulations. It's all I - V7 - I!!! (With some variations, of course.) And I love me some intervals of a 4th. Case in point: I keep trying to write in CMaj and end up in FMaj.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Was inspired to do my music hw instead of practicing so thought I should take advantage. But I did the hw on my harp, so I did play. Lots of lovely I - viiº / V - V7 's.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Just played exercises today. Trying to pay close attention to the sound I'm getting.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Seeing how adding audio to my blog works...

I added an enclosure link, but I'm not seeing where it is in the blog post. Apparently, it only shows up in feeds?

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Short practice today. Recorded more stuff. Have audacity book on the way that will hopefully help me get songs in postable condition.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Recorded page 1 of Prelude 1, hoping to put it online, but mostly to help me hear what I sound like.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

My fingernail is almost completely grown out; there's just a tiny divot in it. Since I keep such informative notes, I know it's been 4 weeks since I sliced it.

ETA: Didn't really feel like practicing a whole lot today, but did go through all the Srebotnjaks.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Still catching up on studying, so just took a short break and played some sonatinas.
Whew! I can stop now and don't have to work so hard anymore!

Childhood music lessons may provide lifelong boost in brain functioning.

ScienceDaily (2011-04-20) -- Those childhood music lessons could pay off decades later -- even for those who no longer play an instrument -- by keeping the mind sharper as people age, according to a preliminary study.

PS See what I did with the tag there? heh.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

My microphone arrived! I played around with it today and actually got something that might be decent.

And yay, researchers may have found the cause of tinnitus!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Postcards from Heaven for 1-20 harps by John Cage apparently uses an EBow, which is the tiny DustBuster thingy I saw Daniel Ash using on his guitar so many years ago, and finally, TODAY, found out what it was.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Prelude 1: played around with speed. Even though it's memorized, I still hesitate at the beginning of measures. Is there a way to ... ? lost my train of thought. Thanks, tinnitus.

Prelude 2: worked again on ending. Crossing over to play higher with left hand is throwing me.

Prelude 3: got a few more measures up to =200. How am I going to speed it up in 5/8?

Donkeys: Worked the next line and finally had to give up because my tinnitus + rain made it impossible to concentrate. My playing sounded like a badly tuned radio.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Prelude 1: I have it memorized. Booyah.

Prelude 2: It is done for all intents and purposes.

Prelude 3: Another piece I'm going to have to learn measure by measure, I think. Did a little bit of that today.

Grey Donkeys: I would really like to be able to play this. A lot is memorized, but memorized sloppily. Worked on a line/section, working up to =168. Did a good job learning it quickly and figuring out the musicality. Execution is another story.

Build up stamina. Ignore brain tricks telling you to stop.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

My fingernail is slowly growing back, but it hurts to play.

Any my tinnitus is back.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

1.5 hours practice.
Prelude 1 - 1 hour, got it beyond 120!

Prelude 2 - started cleaning up the end.

Prelude 3 - quick run-through of 1st page

Prelude 5 - quick run-though as I learned it a while ago. "Shouldn't" be too much trouble to work back up.

Not sure how these all fit together; there was some rhythm similarities, but that's all I could hear.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Broken nail still completely freaking me out, despite it being super strong now that I've superglued it. It's difficult to play when I'm afraid to play.  But did work a little on Preludes.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fingernail still oogy, but I am doing music homework so I'm still doing something. The superglue is helping to hold it and prevent snagging and ripping. *shudder*

I am also debating buying a recorder instead of a camera. Both are pretty desirable for the projects I do. Although, the recorder is a bit more pressing at this time.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Sliced through my fingernail while making lunch, luckily did not go too deep, but it's uncomfortable to play.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Prelude 1 - Got pg 3 up to 120, now 104 is easy. Just need to do the same for pg 2 then try to record.

Prelude 2 - Couldn't work harmonics because of thumb, but worked what I could. Middle section is ok at 63 or 66.

Prelude 3 - First line up to half speed, 2nd line - brain full, had to stop

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Prelude 2 - keep working to speed. Worry about meaning later.

Prelude 1 - Last page coming along - up to 112 comfortably. 2nd to last page need work on first 2 lines.

Prelude 3 - need to start.

Passacaille and Donkeys - played through.

Thumbs hurt!
Visual and auditory influence: 

Street of Crocodiles THE_QUAY_BROTHERS by BFIfilms

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Prelude 1 - Realized I'd been concentrating more on the beginning than the end, so did a little work on the last page between dashing around today.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Still taking advantage of spring break, but not in regards to harping. :/

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Worked a little detail on Zarabanda and Prelude 1, getting hands back into shape. Played Prelude 2 - needs just a little more work.

Need to work on getting tone even - the mid-range does really ring and is definitely not p when I'm trying to play p and pp.

Started Prelude 3 - got 1st meas up to = 48. I think this will be even more challenging than Prelude 1. It's definitely longer.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Back after a spring break of sorts and just played through Solos for the Harp Player. I sort-of know everything in there.

Tried to play around in audacity with a piece I had recorded. I was unable to do anything with it because the source material was lousy. So that may be part of the reason I extended my break.

Also, 1950s spike heels are optimal for pedal changing - smooth and efficient.

Friday, March 11, 2011

So... I think I play the mid-range of my harp loudly. I just rip the chords out with my right hand. Which may explain why I have more problems with the tendons in my right hands. As Great Aunt Lorraine says: "Take it easy, take it easy!"

Prelude 1: I was playing it faster than I thought, and as soon as my brain realized that, it was Fumble Fingers.

Prelude 2: One more line to learn and it's done, possibly to record.

Passacaille: Just need to keep it maintained.

Grey Donkey: Need to start on the detail work.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Prelude 1: hands cramped up - need to do more thumb exercises?

Prelude 2: SOOO much easier than #1, may have it knocked out in 2 more practice sessions.

Then 3, as I said, is completely silly.

Did a little detail work on Grey Donkeys.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Prelude 1 almost up to 120 and feeling more comfortable with 104.
Prelude 3 is just silly.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Minimal practice time - one more line of Prelude 2 - watch pedal changes.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Right now, I'm downloading a H U G E file from the H2 Zoom - sounds take up a lot of room! I decided to record my practicing, to see if I could get anything useful to put up here. I think I may have one page of Prelude 1 that sounds acceptable. I just cannot keep up my concentration and focus to get it to a flawless point. And when I say flawless I mean sounds like it's flawless even if it's not perfect. Make sense?

Then after I was appropriately glassy-eyed enough, I had a quick run through of Passacaille just for s-n-g. It didn't sound half bad, but now I have evidence and can go back and listen and see if I'm right.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Recorded more today. It's cringe-inducing to listen to, but gives me a really good idea what I need to work on - everything. Sound. Dynamics. Hitting the right notes. Hitting the right notes at the right time.

I downloaded audacity today so I hope to play around with that and see what I can do with what I've recorded.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Prelude 1: Worked on getting placing cleaner and faster. Basically playing 2 and 3 groups of notes over and over. Yay. I want to record this thing, darnit.

Prelude 2: Seems like it will be easy technically, but I'm not sure I "get" it.

Passacaille: meh. And that "meh" means I just didn't feel like working on it. It actually sounded pretty good.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Experimented with recording again today. I'm borrowing a Zoom H2 microphone recorder from a friend. It's a really good tool for me to see/hear how much more work I need to do. I'm not sure, though, how accurate it is at capturing the sound I'm getting. The mid-range in my harp comes across incredibly loudly - louder than the bass and high ranges - even when I think I'm playing them p. I've experimented playing the same piece (Bochsa) with different mic configurations and the mid-range is always loud. The best set-up I've found though, is having the mic about a foot away on the right from the base strings with only the back mics on (the 120° setting), and either med or high gain.

I played (I use that term very loosely) the first couple pages of Zarabanda today and I could hear some of the dynamics I was trying to get across, despite the louder mid-range tones (and the slips and fumbles and clangy pedal changes).

I think the conclusion is that I need to practice playing to get a good sound on the recorder, and see if that translates into a good sound for performance.

Then I just played a whole bunch of stuff because I didn't feel like working. :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Played around with recording today. The mid-range of the harp comes through so loudly. I wonder if that's what it sounds like to an audience. No way to know. It's most balanced when I play the mid-range p and everything else normally.

Also worked on trouble spots in Prelude 1. There are many, but I zipped through playing it afterward.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

For music theory, I am to write a chorale as a final project. The instructor recommended if we are not good at writing lyrics to use a poem, or failing that, since a lot of poetry is not suited to music, pick a song that has lyrics we like and use that. He also mentioned that bad poetry makes good music.

I absolutely cannot stand poetry and I'm not really a 'lyrics' person, so I asked my sister, who is more of a wordsmith-y person, what she would recommend. And I got Jabberwocky by Lewis Carroll, anything by Judas Preist, and Shake That by Eminem. Which would all be hilarious in chorale form, but she also had some serious suggestions, as well. I am waiting for a couple books from her, one written by a friend.

At this point I'm not clear on what kind of melody and shape I'd like, so I don't have much of a frame on which to hang lyrics. I think I'd like to have it be in a major key and modulate in the middle to minor, and back to major.

Maybe if I get a first line, I can use the Bad Poetry Generator.

ETA: And end up with something like this:

Bad poetry makes good music
And, now nekked, they shiver, oh how they shiver
love is chemistry, sex is physics,
Porcupines will rule the world forever!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Prelude 2 definitions:
a piacere - At the pleasure or discretion of the performer, typically with tempo and the use of rubato with a particular passage.
Più Mosso - A directive to a performer that the music of the indicated passage should have more motion, it should move more quickly.
tornando al - returning to

Friday, February 11, 2011

Passacaille was fun to play with today. I've got it learned well enough technically that I can listen to what I'm doing dynamically. The first note of the triplets form chords, which makes it easier to hit the right notes, for some reason. The octaves in the left hand can have de- and crescendos.

Prelude 1 is coming along well enough that I may try to start #2.

You know how sometimes it takes a while to learn things. Sometimes a r e a l l y l o n g time? My metronome can be left on my extra music bench while playing so I don't have to knock it off every time I turn a page. Brilliant! Maybe I'll actually stop breaking them with regularity.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

OOOOOOOOOWWWW! Harmonics yesterday killed my left thumb.

However, played through some stuff.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Feel like my fingers are raw! Drilling each movt of Pass, hopefully will be ready by Sunday. have 3 practice days left before that, plus morning of.

Still playing prelude 1 at varying speeds and working problem spots.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pass: 2nd to last movt more solid. Knocked it out in 1/2 hour. I seem to be able to learn faster now that I have more time to practice. Or maybe I'm not stressed about finding time to practice and that's helping my learning speed. Hmm...

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Had a hard time concentrating because I put down a really good book to practice.

Passacaille: need to polish for next Sunday. Try to get opening and closing sounding less messy.

Prelude 1: Still getting faster. Something about it hurts my tendons, though.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Prelude 1 getting faster. How I'm doing it: I practice it faster than my goal, then when I slow it down, it's more comfortable in my hands.

But I've been ignoring Passacaille and now need to work on that again.

Fingers still tender.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Woohoo! Got Prelude 1 back up to 104. Callus on thumb peeled off, though. Need to do 2↑1↓ to get it solid and not sloppy.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Trying to get back into the swing of practicing. Not trying very hard, though.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Apparently either didn't recover from my cold last week, or caught it again, or caught a different one.

Played for about an hour anyway. Prelude 1 almost to ♩=120! Still working trouble spots in Passacaille.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Unscheduled nap. Not sure what's going on. But did manage to work a little on Prelude 1. zzzzz...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Passacaille: Just need to polish it now. *grin*

Prelude 1: Unfortunately, harmonics in Pass still hurt my thumb so just did a quick run-through. At this point, can just work on getting the whole thing playable at 104.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I did actually have a blister, it just took a while to notice it.

Prelude 1: Almost. Done.

Passacaille: Work on last 2 movt's still.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Thumb magically healed.
Prelude 1: I might actually be able to play this! Still working through and absolutely still need to work 2↑ 1↓. Do not try to skimp!

Passacaille: Play through and work on trouble spots to get everything to ♪ =144

Fingers finally have some sort of callus-like things on them, however peeling occurs around the calluses.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Bent my thumbnail back pretty significantly right before lunch, and despite icing it the requisite 10 minutes, it still felt like I smashed it with a ball peen hammer. Owie zowie.

I thought I could practice - usually with finger injuries they stop hurting after a few minutes of playing - but no such luck today.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Friday, January 14, 2011

Prelude 1: Halfway done, will need to work on details throughout once I'm finished.

Stopped playing early - only(!) after 1.5 hours - because of gliss practice.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

I need to learn not to make phone calls right after practicing. My brain doesn't work in a sequential manner. Can't. Sentence. Properly.

Passacaille might actually be close to being finished. I need to work on the endings for Var. IV, X, and XIII. And that might be it!

Prelude 1 is still coming slowly, but it is working. I vary between complete crap and flawless (I think) between one play and the next. How do I get the average to move more towards flawless?

Played through Notturno and Zarabanda. And a Bochsa.

And it all really only took 1.5 hours? I'm not sure I believe that.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Prelude 1: need to concentrate - if my attention wanders AT ALL, I miss notes. Need to concentrate on no fingernail or pedal sounds.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Prelude 1: Couldn't get fingers to work.

Passacaille: Couldn't get fingers to work.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Prelude 1: started trying to speed it up. Remember to raise. 1.5 lines at a time to catch overlap. ♩=104.

Friday, January 7, 2011

All of prelude 1 up to ♪=104.
Prelude 1: Both sections up to =104. Take it in two measures at a time and work up to =192. Dynamics nice. Work on clean placements and minimal pedal noise.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Prelude 1: 1st half up to ♪ =104, 2nd half ♪ =88. Tried going +3 -1 and that did not work. Need to practice jumping to chords and paying attention to dynamics. Dynamics almost there.

Passacaille: Apparently just needed proper fingerings written in for the chord inversions in order to make that section playable. Got it up to ♪ =144

Got another blister and ripped a callus off.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Arms too tired from brutal day at work yesterday. Blister gone already, though. Passacaille work (B E, A D, G C, F B) to get up to ♪ = 144. 3rd to the last line on last page is particularly difficult for some reason. It's inverted chords and I can't seem to get my fingers to remember the combinations.

Run through of Rumba and Sreb's Prelude 1.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Practicing may have been easier had I not been trying to do so while wearing fluffy bunny slippers. Also, I was completely wiped today. Also, it's the first day of classes. Also, I have a blister. But it sounded good!

And my 4th octave D broke at precisely 3:03 am this morning.

Passacaille is B E, A D, G C, F B. Ha.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Worked on Prelude 1 by Alojz Srebotnjak (and if anyone knows how to pronounce that, please tell me!). Got up to ♪ =88 and need to play either +2 -1 or +4 -2. Trying to play it as fast as it's written I totally get it. It's almost noodling around like I would do when I was younger - need to keep that feeling.

Passacaille cut short because of gliss blister. But working on yet another line. If I can do this from memory: A E, G D, F ... C?, no... F A.

And after seeing this guy on pbs last night, I've been obsessed:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

The new strings are so much easier on the hands.

Same goals as last year: Record harp solos and work on list for show.