Saturday, December 05, 2009

Making music


There is a satisfying similarity between a well dressed loom and a finely made harp. This is a Dusty Strings FH26 Celtic harp, in Walnut. It sounds warm and mellow with a brightness in the treble voice.

I learned this week that the celtic harp originated in Scotland around 1,000 AD. There were harps in Egypt and mesopotamia around 3,000BC but they lacked the upright pillar for stability -- appearing more like a bow than a triangular harp. The lyre of the Middle East and Greece is actually a psaltry (as is the guitar) rather than a harp, since the strings run across the sound board.

With winter at our door and darkness creeping over the farm at around 4pm each day, we are again dusting off our instruments and making music together as a family. We deeply miss Ian's beautiful bass -- both the instrument and his voice. But we trust he is making music in his new home and playing duets with his lovely and talented bride. Sarah has her 120 year old mandolin in fine tune and also accompanies us on piano. She is getting more at ease with our family ensemble each year. Robin is using my guitar (his guitar is on loan to a friend) and is discipling himself to learn the notes rather than just chording. I play the recorder and long to learn a more full voiced instrument.

Our children have all benefited from music lessons from 6 years old to graduation. We purchased the best quality instruments for them that we could afford at the time. I've wanted music lessons since I was 7 years old and the time has never been right for our family to invest in mother's music making. We decided that it is my turn, now that Sarah is close to graduation. But at 50, I don't have much time left to master an instrument.

So after examing several options and the size and fragility of my hands, we are exploring the harp as a possibility. The harp is an instrument that one can make beautiful music on in just a year or two of lessons. It plays wonderfully in a small ensemble and can be played alone for the pleasure of its voice as well.

The melodic vibrations are healing to the body and soul. And its music gives pleasure and relaxation to those who hear its voice. Its also an instrument that would compliment the other instuments in the family -- afterall there is only room for one piano.

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