This hymn was first published in 1868, with lyrics by S. Fillmore Bennett and music by Joseph P. Webster. It is still a popular traditional Christian hymn that appears in many modern hymnals. I’ve always found it comforting and peaceful.
Today, enjoy ukulele and viola, then compare the sounds of double strung harp, lyre, harp again, and last but not least, zither. Though these instruments are similar, they have different sound qualities. You will hear some slight buzzing in the harp recording, because I misplaced the microphone. My apologies!
Did you know? There are 98 strings in this arrangement! The harp has 23 strings on each side, for a total of 46. The lyre and zither each have 22 strings. Ukulele and viola have 4 strings each. That’s a lot of strings to tune!
Since Passover begins this evening, here is a medley of two Hebrew
songs. Well, one original called “Erev Tov,” (Good Evening), and a
traditional Hebrew folksong called “Shalom Chaverim,” variously
translated as “Hello Friends,” “Good-bye Friends,” and “Peace to You,
These are played on zither and Oriole (soprano) recorder, and “Shalom
Chaverim” is a 2-part round. I’ve named this medley “Chaverim Tovim,”
which means “Good Friends.”
Here’s another Turlough O’Carolan tune, or part of one, called “Captain O’Kane.” This tune has 3 sections that I know of, but I’ve chosen the most common, “A” section, to play on Oriole (soprano) recorder and zither. I hope you enjoy it!
Here’s a tune composed by Turlough O’Carolan, the well-known Irish harper who was blind. Carolan was born in 1670 and died in 1738. He traveled throughout his home country of Ireland, composing harp pieces for his patrons in exchange for their hospitality, room, and board. Some of Carolan’s music was written down by others, and about 300 of his pieces still survive today.
Since I don’t have a harp yet, I’m playing “Carolan’s Lament” on zither. I hope you enjoy it!
It’s March! You know what that means: St. Patrick’s Day is on its way! I’d like to say Spring is also on its way, but let’s just say I’m not holding my breath. Meanwhile, enjoy this traditional Irish tune that’s most often a fiddle tune, today played on zither!
“The Sheep under the Snow” is a Manx folk song called “Ny Kirree fo Niaghtey.” Please don’t ask me how to pronounce that! It’s a haunting melody I heard for the first time a few days ago. Do yourself a favor and avoid the lyrics, because they are so sad… Needless to say, I’m not posting them here.
This piece by Johann Sebastian Bach needs no introduction. There are other sections that are not as well known, but this segment is the most popular. It was one of the first of many simplified Bach pieces I learned as an early piano student. I still enjoy playing it, more than 26 years later.
I hope you enjoy this arrangement played first as a duet on alto recorder, then on lyre, next on zither, and ending with the recorder duet!
I would have waited to post this hymn closer to Easter, if I had realized before recording it that it’s an Easter hymn. However, it’s also an Advent hymn, which I knew, entitled “Come Thou Long Expected Jesus.” In either case, the tune is a traditional Welsh melody called “Hyfrydol.”
Today you can clearly hear the difference between Oriole (soprano) and alto recorder. I play the melody as a solo on each of these instruments, then on viola, and end with zither.
Please feel free to share in the comments whether you prefer one recorder over the other! I prefer the warmer sound of the alto myself, but the Oriole is easier to play, with a shorter finger stretch. They’re also in different keys, with the Oriole in C and the alto in F.