House Unseen, Life Unscripted blog

Sharing a link to a perfectly wonderful blog, House Unseen, Life Unscripted. I particularly related to the blog post here. I’m having “one of those days” and when I do have “one of those days” I tend to take myself and every little irritation much much too seriously.  Today, I was bothered far more about the screeching child who is unhappy about being on the SAFE side of the baby safety gate while I attempt to get my work done (totally ignoring toys and the nearly 200 square feet of baby safe space, with rug to play on and bare … Continue reading

Autoharping the toddler

The other day I decided it was time to let the tittle tiger in our family touch my autoharp. Being that this instrument is a well made one that cost money I probably should not have spent on myself I have been loath to let a 21 month old touch it. Never-the-less it was time and I knew just what method to use! There was at one time a bulletin board for autoharp and on it a woman demonstrated how she introduced the autoharp to small children, granted a bit older than 21 months, but still small: she let them … Continue reading

Music Theory and the Autoharp

Music theory never interested me when I was growing up.  Now that I am older and seeking to move from Quicksilver to Gold in my life, I find myself seeking more knowledge of music theory to help me learn to play my autoharp. Jumping into music, I discovered a whole world of music theory and my total ignorance of such a vast area of knowledge.  I knew that my autoharp, a chromatic instrument, could play in pretty much any key and I have 21 chords I can make with this instrument but I did not know much about what a … Continue reading

Regular practices

Today I spent more than an hour attempting to tune my autoharp to a “sweet” tuning.  Tuning can be done many different ways.  This is a recent thing I learned while attending an autoharp workshop with the excellent teacher Charles Whitmer.  In his book, Intermediate book II, there is a page which he went over with us.

Tuning can be done diatonic, which best I can understand means that one key sounds fabulous but the other keys, if there are any on that autoharp, will not sound so good.

Then there is Mean Tone Tuning, which means that you can get the autoharp to sound really good in two or three keys, but it won’t sound so good with other instruments unless they are tuned the same way.

Bringing us to Equal Temperament, which means that each note is tuned precisely.  This is how most instruments are tuned and if you tune the autoharp this way it will play pretty well with other instruments BUT it won’t sound anywhere near so good as tuned diatonic or mean tone.

Our instructor, Charles Whitmer, explained his compromise tuning which gives the autoharp a nice sweet sound, perhaps not so sweet as diatonic or mean tone, but good, and still is close enough to equal temperament to play with other instruments.

What I learned was that my autoharp sound MUCH better to my ear and to my husband’s ear when tuned to Whitmer’s compromise tuning.

So, after all the effort to tune my autoharp correctly I practiced the song Scarborough Fair for awhile and then took a shot at the accompaniment for Swing Low Sweet Chariot. My assessment was that while I did OK practicing that the last two weeks of not so regular practice has slowed my improvement considerably.

Practice time is now set as an alarm on my cell phone.


Spectator or participant? How do I want to live my life? Music is a pleasure for listening but listening is no longer enough for me, I want to make music for myself even if my capacity to play an instrument will never be anywhere near the wonderful skill of the musicians on the CD’s I hear playing though the speakers. I want to DO and not merely to watch or listen.  I enjoy singing but that is no longer enough participation.  I want to accompany my singing myself and lose my dependence on having someone to play for me.  I … Continue reading