With Good Friday on the horizon, my practice sessions have necessarily turned to preparing “Were You There?” on the ultratonic autoharp for the church service this Friday afternoon. Memorizing the chords in the score took more time than I expected (but why not?–I last played this arange net five years ago), and so a couple days ago I wonodered if score and music stand would also have to come to church Friday. But last night, I gave it a dry run from memory for autoharpist The Rev. Stew Schneider over Skype. the transmission was a little strange, because I could neither see or hear him (his computer lacks a microphone and webcam), but he let me know by text via cell phone that all was fine on his end, so I began playing. He enjoyed it immensely, which was great, because he felt like the right person to hear it in process. I gave the performance 98%, but can safely say now that I’ll be fine playing it from memory.
The Bach Courante from BWV1007, while slightly neglected, did make some strides this last week. Apart from nailing down the A section on the dulcimer, I spent a couple hours charting the Courante on three staves (thankfully in my music-notation software; by hand would take forever). It is thrilling to experience how its notes, now in “individual parts,” combine to make melodic and harmonic sense! And some areas revealed surpising interpretations, based on how similar notes distribute over the staves elsewhere. Now I perceive more clearly those notes that need to ring long to create inviting, magical texture. It simply isn’t possible to “just play” the Cello Suites (especially not on the dulcimer, where lingering sustain can muddy up otherwise beautiful phrases). All the more reason to consider think time as practice time. For the moment, I’m still thinking through what’s on my expanded score. I’ll get back to playing the Courante next week. Can’t wait!
Oh, and I finally made it to Starbucks to blog!