Music session - 13th March 2017

Music session - 13th March 2017

Present:

Sympkyn of the Moor, hammered dulcimer
Katherine of Glastonbury, harp
Katherina Weyssin, tenor recorder
Elena Harper, rebec and bray harp
Yvonne Gywnn, viol

Tunes played:

We only actually played two tunes in this session, the Canary being the first. It is becoming easier and easier to mix up the arrangement with this one, with really great results. I lost count how many repeats we actually played in the end. It was useful to practice listening to what others were doing and accordingly choose in each repeat whether to play either variations, accompaniment, or simple melody.

Then we played our Cantiga and thanks to Katherina and Katherine bringing over books with the Cantigas all numbered, we have identified it as being Cantiga 36 !!!!!!! Very happy about this as we can now pass this information to other musicians who might not be able to physically practice with us. A few other Cantigas that some of us learned previously have also been identified and there was much excitement. Also we now know the words and so the option of including singing is there. The world has become our mollusc.

I'd like to suggest Cantiga 119 as another future performance piece. I'll get some modern transcriptions made available this week.

- This week I'd like to finish with an observation from my own experience, in case it helps other musicians...

If you have learned something out of a book, and are used to playing it with the sheet music in front of you, there is a good chance you have never actually learned it.
With tunes like this, I find the actual process is: 
(a) eyes see dots
(b) brain instructs fingers
(c) fingers dutifully follow orders 
(d) brain instantly discards information
(e) repeat until you hit double bar lines.

Most information has not actually been retained. If this is the case and one is then wanting to be able to play sine libro, a fresh method of learning and retaining is necessary. 
One advantage of course is that you know how it should sound.

My recommendation is to rip out your phone and record yourself playing with the dots as you are used to. Take it as slow as you need to get it accurate.

Then discard the book with a gesture of disdainful dismissal. Play your recording back and play along, paying attention to what your hands are doing.
If it's too difficult, record again slower.
Force your brain to be mindful of the shapes and the patterns your hands are creating.

It can start off feeling like a jolly great struggle, but like many things, with practice it does gets easier!

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