Friday, 14 October 2011

I'm tired.

It's getting really autumn-like here now, with snny weather and bouts of rain inbetween. Leaves are turning to yellow and red, the air has that smell of autumn, our car has its winter tires on... and I am really tired.

Some people get tired in spring. I seem to manage getting tired in both spring and autumn. Which explains why this blog post is rather late (I slept much longer than usual), and why it's not very substantial.

So instead of me writing proper and interesting stuff, here's a video where you can see the craziest harp player I know doing things that should be technically not possible to do on his harp...

Hint: watch his left hand...


Anonymous said...

I don't know the workings of the instrument at all, but is he... retuning so as to change key every half-stanza? Surely with an instrument with that many strings that isn't necessary, is it?

Iðunn said...

When the harpist starts playing a song he tunes the strings according to the key of the song. Just imagine all the strings correspond to the white keys of a piano. Changing the hooks is the same as when you play the black keys on the piano.

The harp is a celtic harp, they have hooks. Big harps have pedals for the half-tones. What he does is by no means crazy or 'whizardy', my daughter used to play like this when she was 10 or 12. Like everything else, it's just love for what you are doing and practice.

Love and peace

a stitch in time said...

Like Iðunn said, he's flipping little hooks back and forth, changing the string a half-tone down (or back up again). This is necessary to change from one key to another. The flipping of hooks is generally done between songs, to change to the key the specific song is in, but some music (like the theme of the Phantom of the Opera) has a lot of extra sharps and flats in the music, and those have to be played after flipping the hooks accordingly during play. And something like that, with lots of sharps and flats, is not necessarily the piece that a harpist might pick to play. It's not wizardry, no - but it's not the most common thing either.

The piece gains a lot of extra humour by the text, which is about chromatics and its evils - which is probably necessary to find it really funny, and crazy. One of the text bits, translated into English, is "I need more strings for this music - or maybe hooks, that might work too."