Saturday, May 12, 2012

Kantele Spring

It's another beautiful Spring day in Minnesota. The sky is blue and the breeze is blowing dandelion fluff all around. Too bad we don't like dandelions too much in these parts, I liked them well enough as a child. In the neighborhood I grew up in, we would pick the dandelions when they were in full seed, make a wish and blow them off the stem. If the seeds traveled all the way around the world and back again, your wish would come true.

The wish I have now is to take some of the traditional Finnish tunes I've learned on my lovely five string kantele, and create TAB for the mountain dulcimer with it. I've tried struggling with MusEdit, which is a free program with some nifty features. The problem is it doesn't always do what I tell it to do, and since it's free, there isn't a manual. Let's just say it has a few glitches that are not about to go away. In fact the website appears to be gone, so it looks like it's time to get real and pay for TablEdit.

My order has been placed, so I know what I will be doing on the rainy days this Spring, getting all my music down in TAB format. It's a wonderful tool, and now that I've written 1 2/3 songs (really, can't seem to get the middle part of that second song down yet) I'm excited to see them written in music. It's an exciting time for me while I wait for my Dream Autoharp. They have received my first payment, so they can start building it any time. For some reason the mail took it's own sweet time, so the check sent on the 24th of April didn't arrive until the 10th of May. So my dream was in limbo during that wait, now it's in Pete's capable hands. So my zither obsession continues, complete with dreams of obscure instruments in the zither family that never existed. Really, that's how deep these stringed instruments get for me, right on into my subconscious.

Well, it's not raining now, so I've spent enough times tapping away at this keyboard.
Next Week: MUSIC PARTY!!

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Dulcimer Day Delay

Today is Dulcimer Day in Duluth, and I'm not there. Nor am I spending all day playing my dulcimer and learning finger picking techniques via DVD as I had originally planned. I never got around to ordering the picks or the DVD. Instead I will be puttering about the house cleaning and doing some painting of walls. That way I can get the place spruced up a little more in time for my Third Annual Spring Music Party. I will check my calendar, and my checkbook, later this month and see if I can get the goodies I need to have a special day with my dulcimer later this month or maybe in June. I do intend to put in at least one hour of practice today, as I won't be able to tomorrow, it being a day spent celebrating Spring in Minneapolis.

And so the show will go on after a delay, and I will get my goodies and enjoy learning more about my dulcimer, from my dulcimer. She teaches me many things. I have learned patience, determination, joy, tranquility, simplicity, friendship, and relaxation. All these things add up to a richer and happier life. The sound of the drones when I play is a delight, and as I practice the tunes I know, I never tire of playing them over and over again. The challenge is to improve my technique now, and to learn to play a little faster and with more confidence. I love the way my voice works with her, my sweet Mary Ann with her three strings. Next weekend will be our one year anniversary, and my sixth wedding anniversary as well. It's all about the love! That's pretty suitable for the beginning of May.

There is a new song I have learned, utilizing my 1 1/2 half fret to play both the C and F chords. It's a lovely lullaby called "I See the Moon" by folksinger Sally Rogers. Her website is currently under construction, and I couldn't locate that particular song, but I found something called Thanksgiving Eve on YouTube. Just a album cover with the music. She has a lovely voice and I really adore her delivery. I've included a picture of her with a dulcimer of uncommon beauty above. I wonder if it's a Blue Lion, as they are known for their exquisite inlay work.

So we are still all about the dulcimer today after all, it's just that there are other responsibilities that go along with playing the dulcimer, like getting ready for the music party in two weeks. All this before breakfast too. Well, there's lots to do today so I better get started. Happy Dulcimer Day!