The Blue Yeti

It doesn’t live in the wild, and it’s not covered with fur (although I’m sure my cats will have something to say about that as time goes by). The Blue Yeti  is a honkin’ big microphone that is now taking up the middle of my living room floor. I’m still getting used to it, and learning how to record on my tablet. There is a lot to learn, but you can really hear the difference. This beast is sensitive.

So far, so good. I have a few samples up on the Music page so far.

Let’s hope that the Strand can get some time together to make a Christmas CD this year, ok? 🙂

….  Yeti - Microsoft Clipart

Happy Independence Day!

Even if you don’t live in the United States, I hope you enjoy!

Art Rocks! presenteer: Anne Vanschothorst – Dance! Marie Dance!


It’s things like this that we live for

A (Very) Young Composer Gets His Chance At The New York Philharmonic : Deceptive Cadence : NPR

A fabulous piece about a NYC program to help kids become composers.

“Some of these kids have trouble locating middle C on a piano,” Deak says. “Does that mean they can’t compose music of depth? No. What do they have to do? They have to hum it for us, sing, whistle, tap the rhythms — even if they can’t notate them — and we get their piece.”

Just because you didn’t have music lessons doesn’t mean you don’t have music.

A (Very) Young Composer Gets His Chance At The New York Philharmonic : Deceptive Cadence : NPR.

Jon Hassell

Spellbinding music by Trumpeter Jon Hassell:


Aolean. What we learned in elementary school as the natural minor. I remember having to memorize the three minor scales, but noone explained why there were three scales. After years, I feel that I have a gut understanding of why there are three prominent forms. Singers, of course, like Melodic minor. Harmonic minor is more natural for, well, working harmonically — vertically. And the natural minor. After 5 minutes of playing a 6 hole flute, I understood why the natural minor – Aeolean – still exists in our modern studies.

This mode is good to use when a patient is in reflective or introspective mood. Our IHTP materials touch on the use of Aeolean when we see a patient in the fetal position. Like my understanding of the minor scales, I will trust that more experience here will help me understand this more fully in my gut.

There are some nice transitions that can be used with this mode. Transitioning between this mode and its relative major (Ionian) mode is common in classical, traditional and pop music. Many Irish tunes move from Ionian in the “A” section of the piec to its relative Aeolean in the “B” section. To me, moving from Ionian to Aolean (major to its relative minor, e.g., C major to A minor) gives a feeling of development — taking an idea and thinking about it in more depth. Moving the other direction has a strong effect on me – It is the same feeling as being outdoors and feeling the sun come out from behind a cloud. You aren’t unhappy with the sun behind the cloud, but the effect is pronounced.

Transitioning between parallel Ionian and Aeolean (e.g., C major and C minor)  is also effective, but I think the relative changes effect me more profoundly.

I haven’t experimented with moving between Aolean and another minor mode: Dorian yet. I can see using relative tonalities (e.g., A Aeolean to D Dorian) can give a strong V-I feeling. We often create our dance sets in the Strandband so that we have this V-I shift in focus. I think that moving between Dorian and Aeolean in a parallel fashion (e.g., D dorian to D Aeloean) can be intriguing – Since Aeolean is the “natural” minor, I think of Dorian as being Aeolean with a raised 6th. Moving back and forth between the raised and “natural” 6th can be an intersting improvisation, but easier to play on flute than on the lever harp. But I’m eager to try it out the next time I practice.

Anyway, here is my Improvisation in Aeolean. This is a combination of the Scottish air Mary Young and Fair, along with snippets from the Moldeau. I hope you enjoy it!


Tonight, I went to a performance by the Arizona Contemporary Music Ensemble, at Arizona State University. The performance was part of a festival celebrating the music of the Greek composer Iannis Xenakis.

This is not everyone’s cup of tea, admittedly, but I have found contemporary music to be both calming and energizing. My first experience with this was when I was young. As a student, we were challenged to listen to everything around us, and to attend all kinds of events. One semester, our school hosted a contemporary music symposium, including both scholarly talks and performances of all kinds of sounds, from Tibetan throat singing to multiphonics in woodwinds. It takes a certain kind of listening to appreciate this music, and I admit, it takes repeated listening for me to hear any kind of structure (more about that in a later post) to this kind of music, but once I find that, I am usually hooked on the piece.

If you are not a fan of this kind of music, try this experiment: Find a quiet space sometime when you don’t have any pressing thoughts or tasks. Just sit quietly, and listen, really listen, to what is around you: the air currents, the traffic sounds, the building settling (if you are inside). Then listen to Xenakis again, and see if your perception changes. I’d be interested in hearing your experiences with this. If they are anything like mine were, we just might see each other at the next ACME performance.

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