Valeria

I actually didnt have a strong musical preference in film music until I started listening to his music, and then eventually his station on Pandora, which led me to like other types of instrumental music and then other genres of music like rock. I credit Zimmer for my love of film socres, he is amazing.

His music for Interstellar is breath taking. The Gladiator Soundtrack does that for me, as well.

That whole sequence on the water planet is just stunning.

Through most of this piece there is a single note played at a regular interval, indicating time on earth. The right hand starts at this timing then slowly speeds up, indicating the time dilation sensed on the ship as it has left earth. Then it goes batshit before it comes back to sync with the original timing.

While I agree that learning to read music is a life skill that is transferable, if you get too bogged down in learning music without actually playing an instrument, then you'll quickly burn out on the entire thing.

There's something to be said for learning an instrument by repetition while at the same time learning the music that complements it. It gives you that drive to continue, while also helps you slowly pick up music.

Most film music is heavily inspired by late 19th century composers. Dvorak, Rachmaninov, even Brahms. This particular music reminds me a lot of Chopin's raindrop prelude in d flat. The way Zimmer uses that constant E throughout the piece is very reminiscent of Chopin's constant A-flat. After the 'A' section (or exposition, whatever you want to call it) Chopin repurposes the A flat into G sharp and modulates to G sharp minor, a huge distance from d flat major in key relationships. It's pretty amazing.

Valeria

My personal favorite is Beethoven's Sonata No. 31 in A flat Major Op. 110. Beethoven put a lot into this piece, the the beautiful and flowing opening theme, the powerful and uplifting second movement, and the soul-crushingly melancholic third movement.

Beethoven could do so much with so little, his melodies were so simple a child could have scribbled them down, yet he was able to write some of the most powerful music ever written.

Great piece by a great composer.

The there is Liszt - Chasse-Neige.

It captures a sense of desperation that anyone who has been in pain can understand. It suggests an image of someone trudging through a blizzard, in agony from the cold, with no hope of ever reaching a warm home, but even within that terrible situation they see small moments of beauty within the whirl of snowflakes - but ultimately they fall and die.

There's something about the fact that it is the last of the Transcendental Etudes, that the pianist has to play when they are most exhausted, and it's one of the most difficult ones, adds to the poignancy, for me anyway.

Valeria

Hi everyone,

My clear nylon 0.040 'B' string recently broke. When I purchased my harp a few years ago, I also bought a full string set on the Sylvia Woods website. The full set only comes with one clear 0.040 string, and unfortunately, I broke it while bringing it up to tune. (It was my first time trying to change a string.) :(

I was looking to find a replacement, and have discovered that Sylvia Woods no longer sells single strings, or even full sets for the grand harpsicle. The Harpsicle website does sell strings for the grand, but they only sell full sets (and I only need one string!) for $165.00! I can't believe how much the prices have increased in just a couple years.

Is there anywhere online that I can buy the single string I need?

Leave a comment if you have any ideas. Any help would be much appreciated!

EDIT: Apparently I didn't have a way for you to comment on the blog. But a nice reader named Helen emailed me. She said I should contact Sylvia directly. Which is what I did. For anyone looking... I emailed Sylvia Woods and evidently she DOES still sell full sets for the Grand Harpsicle. :) I ended up finding single nylon strings on the Dusty Strings website. But thank you to everyone who chimed in with some sources. I will keep them bookmarked for the future!

Valeria

I have several thousand pieces of sheet music, and who knows how many pages. I have it three-hole punched and organized in individual hard-backed binders by composer, then for composers that I have less music for e. g. Couperin, I have it organized by Period / Style. This is all cataloged in a searchable spreadsheet, organized in order as they appear on my bookcase, and I have a printed out copy of it.

It actually never occurred to me that this isn't entirely common but almost ALL of my sheet music is loose because it's copies from books, or printed from the computer, or just randomly found from somewhere. I own quite a few books as well but I don't typically purchase books for heavy use, more just to bolster my music library. Anyway, I use binders. I have something like 18 of them right now, although that's partially because I use smaller ones because they're less likely to break. Everything that goes into them is in page protectors so I have lots of those as well.

They're not randomly tossed into the binders. For some composers, I have so much stuff by them that I use one binder for everything from that composer.

I also have four binders for everything I've composed. I keep everything from the choirs I sing with separate from everything else, so those are in their own binders.

The rest of the binders are alphabetized by composer. In addition to my binders and all my books, I do also have a file cabinet of music which I keep organized by composer as well. It's filled with everything that I don't really touch. Either it's old stuff that I've kinda let go of, or stuff that I printed out/got but never got around to because I didn't care enough. So that's kinda my "storage". I ALSO have all of my pdfs on my computer very nicely organized by composer in folders. It's all in one place, labeled the same way, easy to search and print. So that's an extensive collection as well. As far as LABELING all of these things, my binders have labels on the cover so I know what the binder contains and like I said, they're alphabetized on the inside. My file cabinet has every composer labeled with, well. a label.

Easy to see. And my computer has everything labeled by composer as well.

Valeria

I played harp from ages 10 to about 13, and then the family moved and the harp I was using went back to my school. 15 years later, I am thinking about taking the instrument back up. I have been a pianist for as long as I can remember, but I miss the harp. I was thinking of starting with a lever harp as the budget is no where close to affording a pedal harp (and I wouldn't want to make that kind of investment out-of-the-gate anyway).

I was thinking about purchasing a Merlin from R-Harps. From what I understand, it's a good harp for the money.

Any thoughts on R-Harps and/or re-learning the instrument? Also, I have seen some books and a few names to search on YouTube around this sub-reddit, I will certainly seek those out, but any advice would be appreciated.

Many harp sellers have rent-to-purchase options, so that would probably be worth looking into.

Teachers also often have instruments for students to rent and can advise on which harp would be best for you, which is a good idea since they're such a hefty investment. There's also huge variation in sound among lever harps -- mine is enormous and pretends to be a pedal harp, it gets a deep, full sound -- so it's advisable to try out lots of different harps from different makers, if possible.

Valeria

There's no single answer, but this will always have to be in the discussion.

If you're into jazz at all, I'd check out some versions of "I Fall In Love Too Easily" (here is one by Keith Jarrett) and "My Foolish Heart" (Bill Evans' specifically).

In the classical world, I personally love Chopin's Nocturne in E minor, his Nocturne in C-sharp minor, and his Prelude in E minor. Debussy's Arabesque No. 1 is also one of my favorites. I'd also add Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words, specifically this one.

I realize that this is way more than one song.

Moonlight Sonata for me. Heard it for the first time when I was in elementary school and spent years trying to find out the name/composer.

But they're all beautiful so why not.

My aunt who is a retired opera singer always tells me about how my grandmother used to play it as her encore during her concert tours in Europe. I always get the same question when the subject of my piano playing comes up: "Do you know La Campanella already?". Apparently I am nothing until I can play that flawlessly.

Valeria

Hey folks,

I've been playing a Suzuki Folkmaster for the last month or so. I've gotten to the point where I'm ready for an upgrade. The Folkmaster takes ALOT of breath; so much breath that you can hear my breath when playing at low or medium volume (maybe this is what people mean by leaky?) and the upper register sticks alot. It could be my playing, but I suspect it's the harp. I'm working through Winslow's Harmonica for Dummies, and the upper register songs are WAY more difficult to play then the middle register ones. Holes 8-10 just don't like me.

I've read way too much about harmonicas at this point, and have narrowed things down a bit. I was thinking originally of getting either a Suzuki Harpmaster or a Seydel Blues Session. The Suzuki Harpmaster would likely be similar to what I have now, but of playable quality. Having the Seydel would give me the opportunity to contrast several harmonica qualities with what I have (cover shape, intonation, bigger size, and recessed reedplates). Intuitively, I am more drawn to the Equal Temperament and traditional sandwich look of the Harpmaster, but as a newbie this is pure conjecture.

Clearly I'm already overthinking this. And then I see all this stuff about Easttop harmonicas. Now I'm wondering if one of their models would be better than the two listed above. Including Easttop's sub $35 models, my list now looks like this:

  1. Suzuki Harpmaster
  2. Seydel Blues Session
  3. Easttop T008k (riveted version)
  4. Easttop T008L (welded version)
  5. Easttop T008S (Welded w/ silver coverplates)

I realize that many are saying the T008k and T008L are the best for the money, but if we were to ignore the price difference, are they actually better than the Suzuki or Seydel?

Ugh. Paradox of choice. I wouldn't be at all surprised to learn that it will make little difference.

Valeria

Suzanne Guldimann has a number of books out with decent arrangements for lap harp.

I had the same problem when I switched to a 26 from 36 string for busking purposes - I ended up rearranging a lot of my favourites by simply leaving out or transposing notes I didn't have, and with that much piano experience you can likely do the same, but it might be a bit exhausting to do while also learning harp technique.

Harpsicle themselves publishes a number of simple songbooks meant to fit on their harps, but I find they aren't particularly pleasant arrangements.

I'm about to leave on a three week trip so I can't dig through my sheet music now, but if you are still looking by then, remind me and I'll look through my collection for the ones that I know work!

Also, bad news, most dedicated harp sheet music is just as expensive or more so than the Sylvia Woods ones, due to the smaller target market than piano. In fact I've found the SW books to be quite helpful because often they contain "easier" and "advanced" versions of the same pieces, and the "beginner" ones tend to be geared toward fitting on smaller harps.