Timothy's Blog

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

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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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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