Montag, März 19, 2007

Figure it out

Last semester I played the harpsichord for the first time ever. It was an assignment for the Early Music Ensemble at U of Utah.

Unfortunately, being able to play the piano does not guarantee that you can play the harpsichord in a graceful and artistic way, so I have managed to bully various people into giving me lessons.

At the first lesson, with one of the U's finest instructors and accompanists, Jeffrey Price, I learned how the harpsichord works. All I knew out of the gate was that the strings are plucked rather than struck by a hammer (as in the piano) when you press a key. Here you see a plectrum in action (circled).

This instrument has two keyboards, which can be played separately for a quieter sound, or linked for a bigger sound. This is the only volume control available on the harpsichord, other than playing more or fewer notes in a chord.

This instrument has three ranks of strings. One 8-foot rank of strings is accessible only from the upper keyboard. The lower keyboard has access to its own rank of 8-foot strings, and a rank of 4-foot strings (sounding an octave higher). A lever lets you decide whether these strings will be plucked or not when you press a key.

Another lever lets you place small felts against the strings of either of the keyboards to create a lute-like, less-ringing sound.

The second lesson was with Diana Page, an expert in Baroque music who lives in Ogden, Utah (the home of the Needlepoint Joint). I studied piano with Diana while she taught at Weber State University (she has recently retired). I learned a lot about how to actually play the harpsichord correctly and interpret the music.

The sad thing is, that's it for the lessons, and I have only a few practice sessions on the instrument. Will this concert be better than the last one? We can only hope. It's on April 2nd.

1 Kommentar:

Laritza hat gesagt…

You are a busy woman!

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