Timothy's Blog

Timothy's blog on dulcimers, music, nature and life!
JUN
23

The making of the album Sycamore Rapids

The making of the album Sycamore Rapids

This is my personal favorite among my albums.

This is perhaps the project in which I've most featured my own special techniques on solo hammered dulcimer --- at least that's how it felt at the time and as I reconstruct the pieces in live settings (in the studio we usually do much more than just record solos) and the creative vision is worked out in great detail and with much joy!

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201 Hits
JAN
20

Play music in the moment!

When you’ve developed a performance piece, or even just something you’ve learned which you like to play on your own, it may be easy to simply draw on your memory of the way the composition goes, and bring it out and replicate it.

Or it may turn out to be a big challenge to reconstruct all the details in the way you intended originally, and you have to struggle to get it right.

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438 Hits
DEC
30

Young parents: share your music with your children!

Young parents: share your music with your children!

When I was a baby, my mom would sit at the piano in the living room and play Beethoven, Chopin, and Rachmaninoff, and she would sing Romantic pieces such as ‘The Holy City,’ ‘Gesu Bambino,’ and ‘O Holy Night,’ exclaiming how wonderful these works were and how she didn’t really do them justice --- and I absorbed every nuance of these experiences.

 

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464 Hits
SEP
12

Four distinct ways a melody can move


Recently I’ve come to the realization that the typical melody has four simple traits that we can easily look at and figure out --- whether we’re learning a new tune or coming up with our own new composition.

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1049 Hits
JUL
25

Arrangement ideas from favorite sources

Arrangement ideas from favorite sources

There are certain musical pieces that we personally love, and that our whole culture seems to love.  Sometimes I like to consider what it is that is so lovable, then make my own arrangements with ideas from what I find.

Here’s a really clear one as an example!  Today I was talking with a student about how to arrange the old Shaker tune ‘Simple Gifts,’ and I mentioned how Aaron Copland had made a theme and variations from it in section seven of his very popular orchestral Appalachian Spring Suite.  (Many folks from my generation and older remember one part of it as the theme music for the weekly TV news show The Twentieth Century with Walter Cronkite.)

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1149 Hits
MAY
26

Playing an instrument or playing music?

When I perform, people often ask me how long I’ve been playing the hammered dulcimer.  I think they mean this question to compliment my apparent years of study, probably many, you know, to learn from teachers how to develop the appropriate virtuosity on the instrument.

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1159 Hits
MAY
15

The power of progress through a repeating pattern

The power of progress through a repeating pattern

Perhaps you like Pachelbel’s Canon in D?  It became popular in 1969 when the Paillard Ensemble released their arrangement of it in Europe, then it was played on an American radio station, and it’s been a wildly popular Classical piece ever since.  Why?

Well, part of its appeal, I’m sure, is its journey through a repeating pattern of chords.  There’s something about a cycle like that gets to our souls in a special way, especially if there is a compelling development going on in the melody parts, and they keep overlapping in new ways in pieces like that canon.

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886 Hits

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