“Little Boat” DSE #8 #Music

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I wrote “Little Boat” last month in response to one of
Sue Vincent’s
weekly #Writephoto prompts. If you haven’t heard the original lyre version, including lyrics, you can find it
here.

Today I’m playing the song on two instruments, melody on zither and accompaniment on lyre. This is the eighth in my series of
double strung experiments.

When I started, I didn’t plan on a series of them, maybe just one or two, to see whether, and if so how, I would handle having two sets of strings to play, with one set for each hand. Well, It’s been a success, and I’ve enjoyed arranging pieces to demonstrate the possibilities offered by this unique stringing. And the series was born!

When I do get a double strung harp at some point, I will record these pieces again, so we can all experience the real McCoy! Until then, I hope you’re enjoying these pieces in which the lyre and zither play at the same time!

Thank you for reading, listening, and leaving your comments and feedback!

Bon voyage!

“Kumbaya” DSE #7 #Music

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“Kumbaya,” also spelled “Kum Ba Ya,” is a well-known campfire song. I know I spent many happy Saturday nights around a campfire singing it as a child. Even those who couldn’t sing managed to catch on and make an effort.

No one really knows the song’s origin; in fact, there’s been some controversy surrounding it, as
this article
points out. To me it was, and still is, a common song that I, personally, have used to bring people together.

This is number seven in my
double strung experiments.
You will hear the melody played on zither, which has steel strings, and harmony on the lyre with softer, nylon strings. Notes of the melody and harmony echo each other at times. This is one of the many fascinating effects available on a double strung harp. As usual, it’s easier heard than explained, so I ask that you have a listen, and enjoy this peaceful arrangement!

Loch Lomand #Music

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Even if you’re not of Scottish descent, you’ve probably heard the folk song, “Loch Lomand.” There is also an Irish variant sung to the same tune, but with different lyrics, entitled “Red Is the Rose.” It’s a beautiful and recognizable melody, and I hope you enjoy hearing it on lyre!

“The Little Horses” DSE #6 #Music

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Also known as “All the Pretty Little Horses,” the origin of this American folk song is unknown. This arrangement is based on one by Aaron Copland.

This is the sixth in my series of
double strung experiments,
playing lyre and zither at the same time. You will hear the accompaniment weaving around the melody, without stopping it. Having two separate sets of strings, one for each hand, makes this possible.

I hope you enjoy this haunting lullaby!

Cleansing Fountain #Music

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This American folk melody is one of several musical settings for the hymn, “There is a Fountain,” also known by its full first line, “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood.” The lyrics were written by William Cowper in 1772. I hope you enjoy this peaceful lyre arrangement!

A Simple Gift #Poem

Play or download the poem, accompanied by lyre, one of the oldest known stringed instruments.

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When you feel broken, you can mend.
When you have fallen, take these wings.
They carry you on weightless strings,
For music is a trusted friend.

As notes and words and voices blend,
Your soul is free and mind is clear.
Your heart refuses now to fear.
In time your body knows the wealth
Of perfect love and joyous health
From Spirit’s music given here.


This is a Décima for
Ronovan Writes Décima Poetry Challenge Prompt No. 22 (BLEND) This week, it’s the A rhyme line.

I’ve been reading some of the responses for weeks and finally decided to try writing one! I really enjoyed it!

This bass line and chord progression are the same ones I used in
Song of the Bluefin Tuna,
but different accompaniment and rhythm change the mood. 🙂

The Water Is Wide #Music

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Here is another traditional melody often used in harp therapy sessions. It is a Scottish folk song, first published in 1906. Though its lyrics are not the happiest, as they tell the story of a lost or unhappy love affair, the melody is calming and well-known. I hope you enjoy hearing it played on lyre!

Song of the Bluefin Tuna #Poem

Play or download the poem with zither accompaniment.

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I opened up a can one day
And heard a chilling song,
Lamenting how our human wants
Have done the tuna wrong.

It sang, “You fish and fish for me,
When you have had enough,
For something you call sushi
And that other money stuff.

“I keep the balance in the sea
Atop the chain of food.
I dive with such quicksilver speed,
Fins flashing as I move.

“I’m not a goldfish in a bowl;
The ocean is my home.
I live on up to 40 years,
In breezy mists to roam.

“So, when you eat your tuna,
Because I know you will,
Take time to give a little thanks,
A moment to be still.

“The red rock desert of your heart
Is where it all begins.
Expand yours like my ocean home
Of harmony within.

“Take what you need and nothing more,
And let the others live.
Though we may be endangered still,
You understand the gift.”

I listened to the tuna’s song,
And then I bowed my head
To thank the Lord for blessing me
With tuna fish and bread.


For Linda Kruschke’s
Paint Chip Poetry Prompt #36, Endangered Species,
with bluefin tuna facts from
World Wildlife Fund.

“Shenandoah” DSE #5 #Music

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You’re probably familiar with the beautiful traditional tune, “Shenandoah.” Though its exact origin is unknown, it may have originated with French Canadian fur traders. Some versions are also linked to cavalry men, mountain men, riverboat men, and soldiers on both sides of the Civil War. Whatever its origins, “Shenandoah” is one of the most recognizable American folk songs.

In this arrangement, I play the melody on my 22-string zither (also called a lap harp or plucked psaltery) and harmony on my 22-string lyre. One instrument for each hand allows free access to all 22 strings.

I’ve heard some beautiful harp arrangements of this song. However, unless it is a large floor harp with 34 strings or more, the hands may run into each other while playing. This is eliminated when each hand has its own full set of strings.

“Shenandoah” is the fifth in my series of
double strung experiments,
preparing for a double strung harp. The harp is the same idea, except it is designed and built with two rows of strings on a single instrument. This means that eventually, I won’t need to hold two instruments on my lap, not to mention trying to tune them in perfect unison!

I hope you enjoy this arrangement, and that you’re having a safe and happy Labor Day!

Battle Hymn of the Republic #Music

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In the United States, this Civil War era hymn is known as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic.” In other countries, it is better known as “Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory.” The abolitionist Julia Ward Howe wrote the lyrics in 1861, to the tune “John Brown’s Body.” Howe is my maiden name, and I’ve always wondered if she was a distant ancestor of mine. I don’t know, but I do hope you enjoy hearing this hymn played on lyre!

Have a happy, healthy, and safe Labor Day weekend!