“Patapan” #Advent #Music

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French poet Bernard de La Monnoye wrote “Patapan” (or “Pat-a-pan”), a Burgundian carol first published in 1720. Its original title was “Guillô, Pran Ton Tamborin” (“Willie, Bring Your Little Drum” or, as some English translations say, “Willie, Take Your Little Drum”). “Patapan” is a lesser known, but beautiful traditional Christmas carol that revolves around shepherds playing simple instruments at the birth of Christ. The title itself, “Patapan,” mimics the sound of the drum, and the sound “tu-re-lu-re-lu” in the refrain mimics the flute or fife. You can find one anonymous English translation
here.

I hope you enjoy hearing this carol on zither, which is a plucked instrument, and Oriole recorder, a vertical flute!

This post is part of my Holiday Blogging Party. You’re welcome to join in!
Click here to learn how.

“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” #Advent #Music

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“Infant Holy, Infant Lowly” is a traditional Polish Christmas carol. Its original title is “W Żłobie Leży.” Edith Margaret Gellibrand Reed translated the lyrics into English in 1920. The text is based on Luke 2:7, which reads, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (KJV)” The melody may date back as far as the 13th century.

Today you’re listening to melody and harmony on alto recorder, melody on viola, and ukulele accompaniment. I hope you enjoy this beautiful carol!

You’re Invited to a Holiday Blogging Party!

As I
discussed back in September,
I’m hosting a holiday blogging party, and you’re invited!

You may participate as much or as little as you like. This is meant to be fun, not just one more holiday chore!

I’ve never done this before, so I haven’t set out many rules. Simply keep in mind that any posts you link in conjunction with this should be positive and/or inspirational in nature, and should be family friendly.

Also, the holiday theme is not required. Maybe you have a heart-warming animal story? Or a vivid Winter poem? Or some original art? All I ask is that if you do post art or photos, please include a description for anyone like me who is blind or visually impaired.

How to Participate

When: Begins December 1, 2020

Where: Here on Mystical Strings and on your own website or blog

What: Holiday or other positive, inspirational posts of your original work (stories, poems, essays, art, music–the sky’s the limit!)

Who: Everyone!

How: Post your original work on your blog, and please include the link to this invitation in your post. This is how I’ll know you’re participating.

Alternatively, you can leave comments on this post with the link to any post (or posts) you want to share. I will reblog them if I can, seeing as how WordPress hasn’t let me reblog or reply to comments in quite some time!

Reblog this post and/or posts from other participants, when you have time and space on your blog.

This is pretty open-ended, but if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment or
contact me.

I’m looking forward to your participation in this fun blogging party!

“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” #Music

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Henry Alford wrote this hymn in 1844. The text is based on
Psalm 104.
The melody is “St. George’s Windsor” by George Job Elvey.

I hope you enjoy this Thanksgiving/Harvest Festival hymn played on ukulele, viola, alto recorder, and lyre!

“We Gather Together” #Music

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“Wilt Heden Nu Treden” is the original Dutch title of the hymn we know as “We Gather Together.” Adrianus Valerius wrote the text in 1597, to celebrate the Dutch victory over Spanish forces at the Battle of Turnhout. The melody is a traditional Dutch folk tune, author unknown. Today the hymn is most often associated with Thanksgiving. You can read the English lyrics
here.

I hope you enjoy hearing “We Gather Together” on lyre, viola, and Oriole (soprano) recorder!

“The More We Get Together” #Music

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The holidays are coming, whether we like them or not, whether we celebrate them or not, and no matter how different our celebrations may be this year than in years past! They are coming nonetheless, and it would be more positive to embrace them than to dread them, or wish they were different!

TO that end, I offer “The More We Get Together,” a Viennese melody composed by Marx Augustin in 1679. Its German title is “Oh du lieber Augustin.” In the United States, the tune is a children’s song, but it’s fun, and as strange as it may seem, also timely. We still need to get together with our loved ones, reach out and make new friends and contacts, etc. Even if our physical gatherings are limited, there are so many ways we can still get together for the holidays and all year long! As the song says, “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be!” I believe this to be true.

Today you’re listening to zither, Oriole (soprano) Recorder, and viola. That’s right, viola. You know, the middle voice of the string section in an orchestra… The instrument with its own individual clef for musical scores… The true alto, tuned a fifth below the violin and an octave above the cello… And the instrument that is the butt of nearly every joke in the orchestra… What? You mean you didn’t know any of that? Then you clearly don’t play viola! 🙂

Well, neither do I, at least not in the traditional sense. I hold the viola upright on my lap, more like a baby cello, and sometimes with a strap for support. Because of neck, shoulder, and back pain, I can’t hold it in shoulder playing position. I even removed the chin rest.

I also have more than normal trouble with the bow, especially in this position. So, I ditched the traditional long bow for a tiny–literally 4 inches long at most–bow meant to be used on acoustic guitar. It works. But it’s so short. This means that right now I can only play short notes, until I can purchase a different bow that’s easier on my right hand and arm. In addition, I’m playing with a rubber practice mute installed, to save my husband and neighbors from the full volume. So, no, I’m not traditional in this case. But dog gone it, I still want to play, and play I do!

I don’t have access to a multi-track device or software, so I recorded the zither, viola, and recorder separately, then mixed them. This takes a lot of time and is frustrating, but for now it will have to do.

One more thing… I know that at least one of my blog followers has perfect pitch. You know who you are. 🙂 Please accept my apology. I’ve had the viola less than a week, and I’m still working on intonation. A viola, like violin, cello, some banjos, etc, has no frets. So, you must learn, by a combination of sound and feel, where the musical intervals are on each string. Of course, there was a sticker on the fingerboard showing pretty colored lines for each note! But not being able to see made this a hindrance rather than a help, and I removed that as well. Correct intonation/pitch is the bane of every violinist’s, violist’s, and cellist’s beginning days. I’m not a total beginner, but it’s been years since I picked up a violin or viola. My intonation will improve, and thanks for bearing with me in the meantime!

I hope you enjoy “The More We Get Together!”

Holy, Holy, Holy #Music

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Anglican bishop Reginald Heber wrote the lyrics to “Holy, Holy, Holy! Lord God Almighty!” but the hymn was not published until after his death. The melody is called “Nicaea” and was composed by John Bacchus Dykes. This hymn endures into the 21st century in many Christian denominations. I remember singing it as a child, in celebration of the Trinity.

I hope you enjoy this arrangement on alto recorder and lyre!

How to Mute Your Recorder in 2020 #Music #Demo

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Play or download the mp3 demonstrating the mask mute for recorder! This may work with other instruments, but they might require even more air to produce sound and be in tune.

Let me know if you try this and how it goes for you! Also, if you know of a real mute for alto recorder, please let me know!

“Over the River and Through the Wood” #Music

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“Over the River and Through the Wood” is a Thanksgiving poem written by Lydia Maria Child. It was first published in 1844 as “The New-England Boy’s Song about Thanksgiving Day.” An anonymous musician set the poem to the tune we know today. You may find it interesting to read
Over the River and Through the Wood: 7 Fun Facts
by New England Historical Society, while you listen to this fun song on lyre and alto recorder!