CelticHarpBlog: Here is the second part with answers to the questions about instrumental technique. A question comes up quite regularly about the exercises to practice. Are there any exercices we should do before, during and after a practice session?
Ten artists have contributed to Elva. Seven musicians: Tristan Le Govic (Celtic harp & vocals), Lise Enochsson (vocals), Stuart Macpherson (bass), Roy Shearer (drums), Per Nord (drums), André Le Meut (bombarde) and Pascal Lamour (biniou). To this list, we gladly add Olle Grane (mixing and mastering), Johann Guillon (graphics) and Erik Enochsson (photos). Ten instruments can be heard: Celtic harp, two voices, bass, drums, tabla, udu, derbuka, bombarde and biniou. Though the album wasn't recorded in ten days – as one might expect when you start a list of recurring numbers – but rather in a much longer period, however, it has been realized in ten different places in Brittany, Scotland and Skåne (Sweden).
Dimitri Boekhoorn always surprises us with his versatility as a musician. On stage, with a dozen harps, of different times, sizes and sounds, with wire strings (brass, bronze, steel), horsehair, ancient gut, in synthetic materials (nylon, carbon), historical harps from the Middle Ages or modern instruments created from scratch, he travels time, space, and music. He still surprises us when he presents a real mystery: a harp with golden strings. Answers from him:
The Irish and the Highland Harps by Robert Bruce Armstrong is an exceptional document published at the beginning of the 20th century. Now available online, it is also downloadable from the archive.org website. The numerous illustrations and plates of early harps reinserted in their historical context such as the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival followed by the work of Bunting, completed with some arrangements of music by the author himself give both musical and historical perspectives to this book.
For more than one hundred and fifty years the theory of evolution has ignited passion among its supporters, evolutionists, and its opponents, creationists, but never has so much literature on the subject been published as today. Among the scientific theories that have revolutionized our understanding of the world, the one written by Charles Darwin in 1859 in his book "On the Origin of Species" is certainly one of the most debated. While it seems difficult to dismiss string theory as a model of universal understanding of matter, the model of evolution as proposed by Darwin seems an abyss into which the scientists of the world plunge.
CelticHarpBlog: Hi Lise. At the beginning of this article series, we invited readers to send us any questions they had relevant to a physiotherapist's perspective on instrumental technique. Among the questions we got, many were very specific to certain physical aspects of the posture whereas your articles so far talk mainly of general aspects. What is the idea behind this approach?
After the article on the Hara, it seems important to present a concrete example of what can be achieved mastering this technique in the service of art. In the following video, Miyoko Shida makes an impressive live performance on Spanish television, creating a giant mobile which relies on the weight of a feather. Between meditative dance, poetry of gesture and true physical prowess, the expression of her concentration reflects a perfect mastery of the Hara.
Lise Enochsson: The shoulder joints and their function are a fascinating and complex topic, deserving much more elaboration than we can go into in this article series. For the purposes of this series, I will suggest a handful of exercises focused on stabilising of the shoulder blades. Stabilising the scapula provides the foundation for controlled movements of the arm, and also ensures better joint mechanics betwen the scapula, humerus (upper arm bone) and muscles involved.
As a synonym of intense use of the body, instrumental practice has many consequences in the musician's life. For this reason, optimising the body's capacity to the maximum is necessary; which is possible only by acquiring a right posture. Mentioned as a reference in a previous article about technique, Hara: The Vital Center Of Man, by the German psychotherapist Karlfried Graf Dürckheim, is a major help in building this posture.