Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Surfacing ...

This past weekend was insane, and I'm still recuperating.

One of my former harp students, Christina, got married this weekend, and I played harp for her. Also came to the rehearsal (which I don't always) and was invited to the rehearsal dinner and reception. It's so nerve-racking to play for someone you've taught - the urge to be perfect has never been stronger. I'm not, of course, but I think I did as well I could have while still keeping one eye on the aisle.

Christina also had a Korean tea ceremony as part of her wedding - since her husband-to-be's family was Korean. I was really looking forward to this, and I found it an intriguing custom. Watching the ritual was a treat, and I happened to have a front row seat (as I was playing - again). I alternated between a few Eastern pieces which I learned for the occasion and two Celtic pieces that sounded less Western.

And the difference between the musical modes? Very stark. I was very leery of arranging the Korean tune, Ari Rang, because I didn't want to make it sound Celtic with the accompaniment. The other tune, Wen Ti, I played the arrangement out of my book - but it looks as if all the tunes in said book are arranged the same way, with the accompaniment simply being the melody a few beats behind. So I may not be able to get much more arrangement help out of it.

Also played Eleanor Plunkett, which is an Irish tune, but pentatonic and ends on the fifth chord. This makes it sound less conventional. Ridee 6 Temps was a Breton tune and ... I don't know, it just sounds very foreign and exotic.

Anyhow, after this, my Sunday was a double-session at the same location: 11am-1pm, then 5:30pm-7:30pm. Because of my poor little puppy, I had to come back between, so the round-trip mileage ran 127 miles (a little under 45 mins each way). Now, I hate driving this part of town - I wouldn't be surprised if the roads are the worst in the Cincinnati area. It also requires a little driving on I-75, which is a similarly deplorable stretch of highway. On the upside, I love the venue and wish it were closer: the people are very nice, there's always little kids who stop and ogle the harp (which is adorable), I get lots of compliments.

Sunday, I got so many comments in the second session that I felt like it interrupted the flow of the music. Good news, bad news?

Anyhow, combine with the fact that I haven't slept right since last Thursday night? I am waking up feeling dragged out. Haven't recovered yet.


wisewit said...

Just a side note: Traditional far eastern music doesn't have much sense of harmony. I don't meant that in a disparaging way; I love oriental music, but it has a different emphasis from modern western music. When several instruments play together they most often duplicate the melody in some way, as you seem to have noticed, although I think I have encountered pieces with something resembling counterpoint. Actually, I know I have; I'm just not sure how traditional they were.


Lindsey Duncan said...

Thanks for the thought! I know what you mean. I was very sparing with my arrangement to avoid overharmonizing it. So it may not be a matter of the book I purchased being a one-trick pony, it's just a very common style.