Years ago when I first started playing the harp, I played in dining rooms in posh hotels – the kinds of places I would never go to eat myself. I’ve never been a holiday-focused celebrant, so I always volunteered to work – meaning, to play – on holidays like Thanksgiving – the way harpists all over the U.S. played in dining rooms today.
And I loved knowing my playing was actually useful in aiding people’s digestion and their experience of the meal. Like I was collaborating with the chef, the wait-staff, the architect who designed the room, the farmer who grew the food – to create this dining experience.
And the digestion.
People were hearing, but not listening, and it was a rich environment for me to develop confidence in playing and especially in improvising. Once I got over the fear of the Classical Police in my head, I started improvising on EVERYTHING – musicals, jazz tunes, classical themes – and it created a foundation for everything I did afterwards on my harp.
It also helped me develop an understanding of musical structure, and how you can take a melodic theme and apply a musical structure to it – and come up with a different musical experience each time.
Kind of like a kaleidoscope, where the contraption – the structure – stays the same, and so do the internal elements – like the notes, or the confetti inside the kaleidoscope – but the way they work on each other creates something different each time ….
[Long pause … ]
[4 hours later]
And here, my friends, is where I stopped this small missive and wondered “Hmmm … how does a kaleidoscope work, and could I create a kaleidoscope image of my instrument, or my hands … and how would I do that?”
Which led me to this video tutorial: Make Your Own Kaleidoscope in Adobe Photoshop (thank you Helen Bradley)
Which is how I ended up with these images. Look at them closely and you’ll see they’re all kaleidoscopic versions of snippets from my website’s header image.
Great simile: musical structure like a kaleidoscope. So creative to get these images, and I especially like the 2nd to last one, it seems to have movement, and is a little bit Halloweenish in feeling (colors, and excitement).
I am with you on the holidays; giving-thanks-day is daunting in that it means we are commencing into the oblivion of the holidays, and no way to escape; except to play music.
It would be fun to have such many harp hands! You should do a real-time human hands caleidoscope- many hands are playing one harp simultaneously- together with your harp buddies… I like the idea of caleisoscope in music. One melody presented in different styles.
I will think about the digestive music. Next week on thursday my gala music playing at the Hotel Kristall in Pertisau/ Tirol/ austria/europe will start again, it continues until march, every thursday- many moments to think and play caleisoscopish. You will be with me 😉
Greetings, Claudia Haarfee