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!

“The Nightingale” by Deborah Henson-Conant #Music

“The Nightingale” is a very popular piece by harpist and composer
Deborah Henson-Conant.
Written in memory of her mother, this piece is included in Deborah’s symphonic theater experience, “Invention and Alchemy.” You can find many beautiful solo harp, harp and vocal, and chamber music performances on Youtube. As far as I know, this is the first performance of “The Nightingale” on zither. I hope you enjoy it, and also take some time to click over and enjoy Deborah Henson-Conant’s many wonderful videos as well!

What a Friend We Have in Jesus #Music

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Joseph M. Scriven, a minister, wrote this poem in 1855. He wrote it to comfort his mother, who lived in Canada while he lived in Ireland. Scriven originally published the poem anonymously, but he received full credit in the 1880s. Though the hymn has other musical settings, Charles Crozat Converse composed this one in 1868. I hope you enjoy “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” on zither!

It Is Well with My Soul #Music

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“When peace like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

Horatio G. Spafford’s realization is as timely today as when he wrote this text in 1873. He wrote this poem after the devastating loss of his four daughters. Traveling to Europe with their mother, ahead of Spafford, their ship collided with another vessel and sank rapidly. Of Spafford’s family, only his wife, Anna, survived. This hardship came soon after the death of their 4-year-old son in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, along with the economic and property loss the family suffered due to the fire.

Philip Bliss, a friend of Spafford’s, originally named the melody “Ville du Havre,” after the lost vessel. This is possibly one of the most popular pieces Bliss composed.

If Spafford, at such a despairing time in his life, could look beyond it to the peace and safety of his own soul, then what an encouragement it is that we can choose to do the same!

I hope this zither arrangement allows the peace of your soul to flow from within you!

Silver Reflection #Writephoto #Song #Poem

Enjoy the silvery sound of the zither (plucked psaltery or lap harp).

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Lyrics

1. Water reflecting the twilight,
Silvery blessings unfold.
Nature is Life,
Day into night,
Look for the Light they hold.

2. You are a silver reflection,
Shining your state of mind.
The Spirit in you
Knows every Truth.
Seek It and you will find.

3. You’re the Creator’s reflection,
Prism of peace and love.
Already here,
Nothing to fear,
For as below, so above.

4. Water reflecting the twilight,
Silvery blessings unfold.
Nature is Life,
Day into night,
You are the Light they hold.

Nature is Life,
Day into night,
You are the Light they hold.
You are the Light they hold.

Poem

Silver reflection
As below mirrors above
Truth of your being.


Written for
Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto Prompt, Silver.

Remember (The LOA Song)

On Ukulele, from the album
And so it Is! Vol. 1

Great Is Thy Faithfulness #Music

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Today we celebrate Father’s Day in the United States. The hymn, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” reminds us that no matter what kind of relationship we experience with our father on earth, our Father in Heaven is ultimately our provider, our protector, and our strength throughout this lifetime and all others.

This is usually a hymn for the harvest and Thanksgiving season, but the more we give our Father-God thanks, the more we find to be thankful for!

This hymn was first published in 1923, with lyrics by Thomas Chisholm and music by William M. Runyan. It entered the public domain in the United States just last year, which means we may freely produce things like this zither arrangement. I hope you enjoy it!

Wishing all of you a blessed, happy, and peaceful Father’s Day! And dads, remember to look to the Great Provider for your own needs as well as your children’s!

More Father’s Day Blessings

The Father’s Child

Father of All (Prayer Treatment)

Rock of Ages #Music

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Here is another traditional hymn played on zither (also called a lap harp or plucked psaltery). “Rock of Ages” was written by Rev. Augustus Toplady in 1763. The lyrics are based on Psalm 94:22, which reads, “But the Lord is my defence; and my God is the rock of my refuge.”

Though the account is unverified, it is said that Toplady was caught in a storm in the gorge of Burrington Combe, located in England’s Mendip Hills. It is believed he found shelter in the cleft of a rock and wrote the lyrics in gratitude for the Rock (the Almighty) that saved him.

I hope you enjoy this arrangement, which has rolled chords most often heard on harp.

In the Garden #Music

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“In the Garden” is a much loved hymn, as I know from personal experience. It seems like one of those songs, hymns and Christmas carols in particular, that I was born knowing. I must have been so young when I first heard it, that the song is woven into the fiber of my childhood memory.

Although it’s a mystery when I learned the words, I vividly remember learning to play “In the Garden” on piano. It was a request from my uncle, Al, near the end of his battle with cancer. I not only learned the hymn, but recorded a cassette tape of myself playing it, along with other hymns. On our last trip to Connecticut from Pennsylvania, I was able to sing and play the song for uncle Al. It was a precious gift to him and is still a precious memory to me.

I hope you enjoy my zither arrangement of “In the Garden.” It was written by American songwriter C. Austin Miles in 1912 and is still very popular today.

All Creatures/Doxology #Music #Mp3

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Here is a medley of two hymns, “All Creatures of Our God and King” and “Doxology” played on zither.

The melody of “All Creatures of Our God and King” was written by William Henry Draper and first published in 1919. It’s typically an Easter hymn, but any time is good to appreciate the wonders of nature and the thought that they, too, might praise their Creator.

Thomas Ken wrote “Doxology” in 1674. It was actually the final verse of two hymns, “Awake, my soul, and with the sun,” for worship in the morning; and “Glory to thee, my God, this night,” for evening worship. I have never heard these hymns, as far as I know. But I learned “Doxology” as a child, then played it on piano and recorder long before I played harp or zither.

I hope you enjoy my alternating arrangement of these two beautiful hymns!

Guardian Spirit #Writephoto #Song

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Guardian Spirit of rocks and the sea,
Is there a Spirit for me?
Offering safety that’s caring and kind,
Guidance and peace of mind?

Guardian Spirit, Highest of All,
Catching me when I fall;
Guiding my journey on life’s stormy seas,
Finding the peace I seek.

Guardian Spirit of cliffs bold and steep,
Nature is wondrous to see.
Everything comes from the Lifeforce of All,
Whether it’s great or small.

This is my Spirit, a miracle too;
This is my Nature True.
Guardian Spirit of seen and unseen,
You are the Spirit in me.

[Music]

This is my Spirit, a miracle too;
This is my Nature True.
Guardian Spirit of seen and unseen,
You are the Spirit in me.

Infinite Spirit and Source of all things,
You are the Spirit in me.
Closer than close every moment I breathe,
You are the Spirit in me.

Guardian Spirit in me.

***
Played on zither (also called plucked psaltery or lap harp) and written in response to
Sue Vincent’s #Writephoto prompt, Guardian.

I can’t see Sue’s photos, but she is kind enough to describe them. Her descriptions and the word prompt speak to the mind’s eye, my imagination. I am a Metaphysician by nature as well as profession, and the prompt always inspires me. Thank you, Sue!