“What started as a vague quest to create something based on a Blues form turned into a depiction of cat psychology” ~ Tara
Ever wonder wonder what a pet cat is thinking? Tara plays her double-strung harp and sings her original song, “Lovin’ Feline Blues,” which tells of a cat’s view of life.
Tara is one of the daring harpists who are challenging themselves to develop new ways of self-expression in Hip Harp Academy by combining the skills and tools of improv with each person’s natural abilities and passions – creating new hybrids of expression that expand what it means to be a harp player.
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TARA SAYS …
“What started as a vague quest to create something based on a blues form turned into a depiction of cat psychology. “
What started as a vague quest to create something based on a blues form turned into a depiction of cat psychology. Click To Tweet
1. Describe your final project.
This is my original song, “Lovin’ Feline Blues,” which I sing and play here on my double-strung harp. It’s a 12-bar blues with 4 verses, told from the point of view of a pet cat.
2. What principles from this course or from chats did you use to develop, perform, and record this project – and how did they play a part in your process?
I wrote this piece in the form of a 12-bar blues, where the voice gets the melody and the harp accompanies. Musically, I applied the principle of keeping the arrangement simple enough to play that it serves the music and personal expression. Visually, I tried to compose the picture without too many distractions; I also made a point of communicating with gaze and body language as well as through words and music.
3. Give a short description of what it took for you to be able to play what you did – both logistically and emotionally.
Inspiration hit while I was doing a repetitive task in the kitchen. What started as a vague quest to create something based on a blues form turned into a depiction of cat psychology. The text and a basic melody came first; then I had to figure out what I could play on the harp to help give it the flavor I wanted. The “first draft” was done within a day, so it was pretty quick. It took me a couple more weeks to begin settling on some revisions and refinements.
4. What freedoms and blocks within yourself did you connect with (or struggle with) in the process?
At first, I struggled a little to come up with text that would fit the song form and tell an understandable story; but I think blues has a laid-back quality that is conducive to the flow of ideas and the identification of patterns that will give cohesion. Once I had one verse, others came fairly quickly. The repetitive bits and the rhythmic groove helped me feel free to create.
5. What challenges did you meet while connecting with your own freedom of expression in this project?
The different verses wound up having slightly different rhythms, so it was a bit of a challenge to figure out how I wanted to fit the words in. It was also challenging to fit the harp and singing together; the accompaniment has an easily identifiable and inexorable pattern to it, so I needed to keep it steady even when the vocal line was doing its own thing.
6. What other parts of your life were impacted by what you learned in this class, and how?
It takes some courage to play and sing in front of people, but the class has helped me accept my own imperfections and share what I’ve got, nevertheless. When I play this piece for people, it seems to encourage big smiles, and that makes me happy.
7. What were your personal “Ahas”?
I can play blues on a double-strung harp! Also that a pretty complete accompaniment does not have to include a lot of notes.
8. Is there anything else you want people to know when they watch your video?
I call this song, “Lovin’ Feline Blues.” It’s sung from the point of view of a pet cat (I won’t say which one).
Hey, thanks for reading this example of what it’s like to go thru a course with me! Did you have Aha’s or revelations watching the video & reading the answers she wrote? Add your comments below. Please – no critiques – just share what you learned from someone courageously sharing a project that’s the BEGINNING of a lifelong learning journey.
Want to do some courageous learning yourself? Click here to check out Hip Harp Academy where daring harpists get their creative wings.