I have enjoyed listening to jazz since I was a teenager (I loved the laid-back coolness of all those performers of the 50s and 60s which was so far from my world of folk and choral music!), and during my time as a masters student, playing and arranging jazz for the lever harp became my way of relaxing. During the second year of my degree I was one of the resident jazz musicians at Divino Enoteca in Edinburgh - a wonderful experience during which time I learned (very quickly, out of sheer necessity!) more about improvising jazz. I still have a lot to learn, but that's where the fun is, right?
Whilst I enjoy very much writing (or trying to write!) tonally complex music and experimental music for the lever harp which pushes the capabilities of my instrument (see 'Experimental Suite' below), I also very much enjoy writing pieces for my pupils to play. This collection includes my favourite pieces that I have written for students over the years.
Contemporary/Experimental music for the lever harp
During my master's degree, I developed my interest in early 20th century music. Whilst as a composer I personally prefer to remain mostly grounded in the world of the tonal, I do love the feeling of liberation that leaving traditional tonal ideas behind gives me. I kept wanting to be able to interpret some of this type of music for myself on my own instrument, but the repertoire was sadly lacking for the lever harp.
This suite grew from my desire to readdress this balance somewhat. I also wanted to write something specifically for the lever harp; something that worked with its unique tonal capabilities. The fact that (unlike on a pedal harp) each string is individually controlled actually makes the lever harp surprisingly well suited in some ways for contemporary music, as one can have (for example) different notes in different octaves.
Each piece was written using whatever notes were available to me after setting the levers in an entirely random pattern. My one rule whilst writing these pieces was to avoid lever changes (or keep them to an absolute minimum) in order to avoid making them too annoying to actually perform!
Neonica stuff goes here...
Some stuff about other things that I do... words words words...
Website designed and built with the help of and by Tamsin Dearnley with her own fair hands