Timothy's Blog

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

I am a musician playing primarily hammered dulcimer and flute, and have produced 15 instrumental albums on Virginia, Nature, History, Celtic, Christmas, and other themes; self-styled and original in approach, with a strong respect for sources and meanings.

AUG
15

Three features of Beatles ballads

When in 1995 I composed ‘Sky Through the Pines’ (originally ‘Such a Gift’) I envisioned it as a sung song with guitar or as an instrumental ensemble piece with guitar, hammered dulcimer, flute, and other instruments; both versions were recorded, in 1996 and then 2002, and the latter was released on the album Sycamore Rapids.  But I never imagined playing it as a solo --- and was frustrated that I couldn’t play it again except on a CD player!

In 2000 I began developing my new stylized method of separated-hand solo hammered dulcimer playing, and at first limited it to quite simple tunes to keep it manageable.  Then the occasion came, for a couple of weddings, to arrange Beatles pop ballads in such a manner.  Many of us agree, I think, that some of the finest of the pop ballads are by those guys, and they have a sort of pure simplicity that ought to go well with my separated-hand technique!

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3770 Hits
AUG
07

A special focal point in some musical pieces

A special focal point in some musical pieces

Have you noticed that sometimes there’s a particular moment that really grabs you in a piece of music?  It may be a chord change or a certain leap in a melody or a swell in the volume at just the right time; and its effect may be more than just something that gets your attention --- it may be truly a view into the sublime!

I actually crave those times and keep on the lookout for them, because that special moment that lifts my spirits or stirs my soul or grants a glimpse of the transcendent… is unutterably significant!

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4327 Hits
JUN
26

Downloads and CDs sound different!

Downloads and CDs sound different!

Did you know that there’s a real digital difference between CDs and downloads?

I’ve talked with quite a few people, including musicians, even including recording artists, who haven’t been told that there’s a difference.  So let me give you some info about it if you want it!

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7454 Hits
JUN
04

Based on what?

Based on what?

[photo: April 2014, Hawai'i]

When I was in ninth and tenth grade I was a part of Herndon High School’s Junior Varsity debate team as a partner with Steve Rogers representing the Negative side.  It was an invigorating and exciting experience, and the research for points and quotes gave me a sense of power:  We could develop a plan that routed the opposition, undercut the Affirmative’s suppositions, and won for Herndon.  We were undefeated for two years!

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5124 Hits
MAY
13

You can compose music from special groups of notes!

You can compose music from special groups of notes!

In music the French word motif’ simply means a group of notes that you use to start a musical composition and to refer to throughout the composition for unity.  That’s all!

Maybe the most famous example of a motif is the set of theme notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony:  ‘Di-di-di-dah’ (used in the Second World War as Morse Code for ‘V’ for victory) --- and if you listen to that matchless symphony you can hear Beethoven developing an entire movement --- with references throughout the rest of the whole work --- from that simple set of three notes, G-G-G-Eb (in the key of C minor).

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15380 Hits

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