Today my harpist friend Jeni invited me to attend a gathering of fellow harpers called a Harper’s Robin. There were 16 harp players of varying levels who were playing music together in preparation for an upcoming concert at the library.
That many harps in one room makes an impressive sound. But it is more than just the music that one hears, it is the vibration that can be felt as the music moves through the room. As a whistle player, it occurred to me that the effect of that many whistles playing in one room would have a completely different acoustic effect!
One of the cool things they did was an improvisational exercise called White Strings. Harpists use color on their strings to help delineate which notes can be found on what string. In the White Strings exercise, the players decide on a time signature and tempo and then play any note, as long as it is a white string. All of the notes “go” together magically creating a piece of music that happens then and there, never to be repeated.
Harps are not only lovely to listen to but really beautiful instruments as well. They are like sculptures, each one different from the next and I enjoyed doing a few rough sketches of the musicians and their instruments.
After the harp gathering I drove over to Homemeadow Song Farm to catch the last bit of the “Honey Bee Mine” sale. Artisans were selling beeswax candles, honey, and pottery just in time for Valentine’s Day. My friend and stellar-multi-instrumentalist Doug told me that there are some connections between honey bees and harp makers. I am guessing that there is some connection to the beautiful vibration made by a well made harp and that of a thriving hive of honey bees. This bears more investigation for sure.