Check your feet.

This is like the harpist’s version of “check six.” Before you start, make sure you know where your damned feet are!

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Contacted the nearby Alexander dude

I wish there were a Taubman person nearby who was familiar with the harp, but in the meantime, I did contact an Alexander technique person to see if we can’t find a way to manage with this business. I’m also going to have a lesson with my teacher next Thursday and together we’ll figure out a way to move forward, so that will be nice. I’m going to go back and make sure that the waltz is in my fingers in a good way, and see if we can’t work on the octave part, and I’ll bring the second Bochsa etude with me as well.

A list of upcoming projects

I need to start putting together a list of the pieces I want to keep in mind for the future. I can feel myself getting distracted and unfocused again, which is part of what works well with having a teacher: they keep you on track.

So I’ve got the Bochsa etude #2, that little freygische melody that I’m learning and composing at the same time, and now I’ve managed to get the sheet music for the Icelandic hymn that went viral on YouTube, “Heyr Himna Smiður.” That one will be a challenge to get to work on a harp without a full bass range and an extended soundboard, but we’ll see what can be done.

But I can’t lose focus off of the Bochsa, nor lose the other two pieces I was working on with my teacher before the whole “nope-nope-nope” business with my third finger started.

Got my Bochsa Etudes

They came — fifty of the things. It should be fun to see if I can’t work through a few of the less digitally challenging ones and employ Taubman-style forearm rotation to make them more manageable. I definitely like #2, so I might start with that one.

Update: Yup — #2 is definitely pretty. 🙂 I’m having a hard time settling on one way to do the left hand, though. I sort of have to force myself to do it the right way, but that really is best since it involves the least amount of thought and the most brain left over to pay mind to other things.

I fully admit —

— that I’m disheartened by whatever’s going on with my hands, and I’ve been writing chords in on my score of “Rodelinda” to keep working on music. Some time ago, I finished a project whereby I took four Senesino arias from that opera, transcribed their intros, and then worked them up into three different verions in styles like jazz, ragtime, swing, tango, gospel rock, late Romantic, etc. It was a lot of fun, and I think it turned out great.

And I sort of mulled the idea in the back of my head of doing the same thing with the whole damned opera, from the first note to the last, including all recitativi. So I started writing in the chords, and even just that is fun.

I won’t stop with the harp by any means, but … it’s just been a bit of a black cloud. 😦 And I want to do something that’s just weird and self-contained, and that will satisfy no one but me. I mean, no one else on the planet is going to care about anything this strange except me, so it’ll be a nice way to have some private fun. 🙂

Cross-strung harps and 2D:4D>1

I admit that I am curious about how the 2D:4D>1 hand would fit on a cross-strung harp, especially since a non-trivial point of fingering technique on a cross-strung is placing the fingers in the order 2-3-4-1, where the hand is “cupped” in a very natural and comfortable position while playing 4-string chords and arpeggios.

I prefer the darker, more chocolatey sound of a pedal harp over the lighter, more citrus sound of a cross-strung, but I admit that the cross-strung is looking like an excellent option for people with unusually high 2D:4D ratios if they like how it sounds.