March 14, 2012


The headline says, “Get Crafty Using Recycled Items”.  Wow!  What a great idea!  You know that I am 1) intrinsically lazy and 2) always looking to increase my repertoire without actually working too hard (see number 1.).  I will do anything (climb fences, practice for hours, eat nettles) to avoid working too hard (as you see, my definition of work too hard might need some work).

But recycling speaks to my inner Goddess – Parsimony.  There is a real treasure trove in even the smallest repertoire.  Music that can be expanded and refashioned in such a way that the overall volume of music available is not additive but really, it’s multiplied! So much gain for so little gain.
Building on our earlier discussion, here are three ways to recycle your music to have even more to play:

       1. Slow it down or speed it up – there are some hauntingly beautiful melodies cleverly disguised as dance tunes.  You don’t even have to change the chord pattern just blow the block chords up into schmaltzy rolled chords or lush broken chords.  Take the tempo way down.  Add ornaments and if you’re of a mind include variations.  And don’t forget to breathe – use your breath to highlight the phrasing.  Or take an air and move it into a dance form – speed it up, block up the phrasing, block the chords to help add some heft and bulk and you’ll have a new tune! 

2.       Move into another key – it always amazes me how dissimilar different keys can feel on a tune.  Play around and move a tune from one key to another (which might be a lever change away!) and see if you like it as well or better in another key.  Another take on this is to really change it up – move the tune to a very different key and see what you get – move to the relative minor (or major) and get a whole new feel.  Or set your levers to some other key but continue to play the original shapes and strings (note – sometimes this is brilliant!  And sometimes it can’t end quickly enough – but you have to try to see what works and what you like).
3.       Modify the chords and change the feel – you know that there’s the chord patter you’ve learned, read, or generated.  But you also know that each note appears in at least three 1-3-5 chords so there are plenty of opportunities to mix it up.  If you always come down on a D for instance, consider coming down on a G (or a B maybe…).   Noodle around and see what works – and see how it changes what you played.
Of course, each of these takes some time, just you and your harp.  But the outcome is really rewarding (especially if you have to fill more time than you planned). Let me know how you come along!

1 comment:

Michelle said...

So this has NOTHING to do with music, but....

My four howled when I served them nettles. This year, I'll harvest when they're at school and tell them it's spinach.

And I love Love LOVE the word parsimony. I need to start swapping that out with thrifty!