Brahms “Lullaby” Double Strung Experiment #Music

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“Wiegenlied” (Lullaby or Cradle Song) was written by Johannes Brahms and first published in 1868. You probably know the melody, but stay tuned!

This arrangement is an experiment, in which I play the lyre and zither at the same time, in real-time. My left hand plays the bass notes, or accompaniment, on lyre, and my right hand plays the melody on zither.

Why 2 instruments?

Because I’m proving that if and when I’m able to acquire a double strung harp, I will indeed be able to play it!

A double strung harp has 2 parallel rows of strings that are typically (but not always) tuned the same. Having 2 rows of strings gives each hand more options for accompaniment. The hands don’t run into each other in more wide-spread arrangements, because each hand has its own separate row of strings.

Double strung harps also open up a world of effects that cannot be played on a single strung (regular) harp, lyre, or zither. You can double the melody, or, as I do here, play melody and accompaniment in the same octave. This is much easier heard than explained!

In this arrangement, I first play a standard accompaniment on lyre. I.e. the left hand plays bass notes below the right hand.

The second time through, I play the lyre accompaniment up an octave, with my right hand on zither, playing the melody in the same octave. Essentially this means the melody and accompaniment overlap and sometimes play the same notes at the same time. You can understand why this cannot be done on only one set of strings.

Finally, you’ll hear the zither arrangement with bass and melody.

If you’ve read this far, I thank you! If your head is spinning, I apologize and simply ask that you listen to the music and hear just a little of what can be done on a double strung instrument. It’s fascinating!

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