Teleri (telerib) wrote,

Somerset Folk Harp Festival, Day Two

Improvising on early music melodies, Constance Whiteside: Loved, loved it. She did cover Medieval Music 101 (Pythagorean tuning, modes, etc.) but you kind of have to. We learned a really simple and catchy Dorian tune (Short are the days of man, I think) and then improvised around it. I got a few guidelines on tones to highlight and tones to use only in passing, and advice on good cadences to use for ending an improv, and was generally a happy camper.

Bunting and ap Huw Figures, Ann Heymann: Wanted to argue with Heymann on her history and assumptions at times, but her analysis and reconstruction of the ap Huw ornaments, and comparisons to Bunting's graces, seemed spot-on. On first acquaintance, I'm not sure how I'd use most of these fingerings, but they might be interesting to practice.

Very interestingly, what Dr. Whiteside had to say about medieval fingering technique (15th cen. Spanish harp treatises, apparently!) was quite at odds with the ap Huw stuff as reconstructed.

Telyn rawn, the horsehair harp, Heymann: Urges to argue increased, as she started dipping into Anglo-Saxon iconography and I was on ground I knew. Kept my mouth generally shut, as it was not my class and there was a lot to cover. I was wrong yesterday about Giraldus Cambrensis mentioning the horsehair/skin harp; it's later, in the 14th-16th cen. that it gets mentioned, mostly in poems. She reconstructed it as a wood frame (loosely based on the Winchcombe psalter harp) with a horsehide "sock" that serves as a resonator, brays, horsehair strings and bone tuning pegs. (She thinks the Winchcombe shows brays. It's not impossible, but it's also not obvious. Mostly, she wanted brays.)

It was very quiet with a definite buzzy bray sound. Very exotic and different.

Concerts: I'm just losing my taste for modernly-arranged, harpistic Celtic music, apparently. There are some artists I still really enjoy, but so many just start to sound the same to me.

Purchased: Debra Friou's Early Music for Harp book, because I have somehow owned a harp in the SCA for thirteen years and don't have it.

Reflections: I'm chasing a lot of musical and performance goals right now. Some of that comes from my Poeta duties and can't be helped until after September (after which I retire from the SCA to be very very pregnant for a couple of months). Some of that is the (bad) habit of using SCA contests to motivate work; it's hard to keep on-theme when you're flitting from period to period based on this month's A&S contest theme. And some of that is my varied interests: Do I put the next $60 I save towards gut strings for improving my solo early period performance, or do I spend it on a lesson with Constance Whiteside to learn about arranging early music for ensemble? I need to sort these kinds of things out.
Tags: music, sca
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