Shawn L. Bird

Original poetry, commentary, and fiction. All copyrights reserved.

harp tune-Suo Gan June 24, 2014

Here is Suo Gân, a Welsh lullaby, arranged by me and dedicated to David Prosser of the Barsetshire Diaries.

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My paternal great-grandmother was Margaret Owen, born in Holyhead, Wales. She was married to Thomas Mosses of London, England.  About the only time the two appear to have been together is on their marriage certificate.  According to many years of census data, Margaret was alone from the time of the marriage onward.  My grandfather was David Owen Mosses.  I wonder if single mother Margaret ever sang this lullaby to young David?

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(And if you happen to be a Mosses from Liverpool or London, I’d love to hear from you).

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harp tune- Skye Boat Song June 17, 2014

Filed under: Harp,OUTLANDERishness — Shawn L. Bird @ 11:09 pm
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New and improved version of my arrangement of The Skye Boat Song for the double strung Brittany harp.  That’s a Scottish clarsach style small harp you see behind me in the thumb nail.  I even speak and show you the harp! 😉

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and here are my lyrics referencing Outlander.  At some point I’ll record myself singing this, but G isn’t my singing key, so it’s a bit of a stretch!

 

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poem- songful day June 1, 2014

Filed under: Harp,Poetry — Shawn L. Bird @ 10:49 am
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The strings of the harp sing

and the back deck resonates

with the soundboard

as spring and summer harmonize

and time drifts lazily

on my melody.

 

music-Skye Boat Song on harp May 29, 2014

Here’s a little break from ranting poems or pugilistic poetry!  In honour of the upcoming Outlander TV show, here’s an ‘arrangement in progress’ I’ve made of The Skye Boat Song, which I’m betting is incorporated into the TV show theme.

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For the technically curious:

I am playing a double strung harp.  (This was definitely easier before I had bifocals, though it was challenging enough then).  There are three octaves on each side of the harp, tuned to the same notes.  44 strings in all.  This is a low-head Celtic harp, in the style of the famous Irish Brian Boru harp or the Scottish  Queen Mary harp.  It is also known as a Scottish clarsach.  Specifically, mine is a Brittany harp, built for me by Stoney End 15 years ago or so. (When I bought it the Canadian dollar was around 70c US, so it was pricey!)  It still has its original strings!  This says it’s a tough little harp, and that I’m a lazy harpist (some people change strings a couple of times a year, to keep the sound bright).  It is made from a lovely, shimmery grained cherry and has a Baltic birch soundboard with a pretty inlay strip at the base of the strings.  It keeps its tuning brilliantly- rarely needing more than a titch of adjustment here and there.  This is a rare blessing in a harp!

Here are The Skye Boat Song lyrics as I say them to myself while I’m playing (which does not in any way imply they are the correct lyrics!)

Speed bonny boat like a bird on the wing

Onward the sailors cry

Carry the lad that’s born to be king

Over the sea to Skye!

Loud the winds blow

Loud the waves crash

Ocean’s a weary bed

La la la la

la la la la                           (< < < < pretty sure those aren’t the right lyrics)

Watch o’er your weary head

oh                                        (That’s the soft D sounded to start back into the chorus)

Speed bonny boat… (etc)

I always thought somehow Flora McDonald was on this boat with him, but I think that’s just me.

 

I promise OJ the standard poodle is only sleeping, though he certainly does look dead.  He is snoring now, in the exact same position.