Feb. 15th, 2017

kareina: (Default)
I bought my hammer dulcimer almost five years ago now, and since then I have had to memorize each new tune I have learned, and learned them slowly, by carefully looking at sheet music, writing down the letters of each note, and then using that list of letters to learn which strings I needed to hit for each song. This works, but takes enough effort that I still only have a list of about a dozen songs I can play.

Monday night, while working on a sewing project at Nyckleharpa night and wishing we could have brought the dulcimer (there were four of us in the small car that night--no room for the dulcimer, too), and that I could play more of the songs they play, it suddenly occurred to me that if I were to put coloured dots on the dulcimer to show which string is which, and overlay coloured dots on the sheet music I might be able to learn to play from sheet music, instead of treating it as a translation language.

Today I finally got a chance to sit down with the computer and try applying my colour code:

B purple
A red
G brown
F orange
E yellow
D green
C blue

Note that for this I am not bothering to distinguish between sharps and flats--my dulcimer isn't chromatic, which means that the next string is the next note in the series. In some parts of the instrument the next string is sharp (or flat, depending on one's point of view), in some parts it isn't.

The colours of all the strings on my instrument are:



and one of the songs I have coloured is:



I tried this song (which I have heard the nyckelharpa players play so often that I can sing along with it) today from the coloured sheet music, and I am delighted to report that it is SO much easier to play it this way. I can look back and forth from the music to the instrument when trying to figure out which strings to hit and my eyes just jump to the correct spot. I could never do that when trying to look at all black sheet music. Note that for the dulcimer image that goes with the sheet music I have made it simpler by colouring only those strings that I will actually use while playing.
kareina: (Default)
(Originally posted to LiveJournal on 12 February 2017 @ 10:37 pm via the phone app--I forgot to switch to my DW account that day, so it didn't show up here and cross post to there, so I am posting it here now, and will tell it not to cross post this time.)

I flew south on Friday morning and took the train from the Stockholm-Arlanda airport to Uppsala central station, where I was met by M. and we walked back to the apartment into which M, H, and K moved only one week ago.
After eating a quick lunch (yay, leftovers!) dropping my backpack at the apartment we went back out to the museum at the university that I had visited a couple of years back when in town for a conference. I found it more fun this time as I had a friend to share it with, but, of course, the highlight of this museum, as with last time, is the display of the items from the Vendal age boat grave, including the lovely gold and garnet sword hilt. (The kisses shared in that room were another highlight, but not actually related to the museum.

After the museum we stopped by the store and picked up some real butter and kale and went back to the apartment, where I cooked the kale with sunflower seeds, made dhal of lentils from their pantry and a batch of naan.

By that time K & H were home, so they joined us for dinner, after which we watched an episode of a show in which some people were moving into a farm in the UK to spend a year living ad they did in Eadwardian times. Since I was feeling linda sleepy by then I did my yoga during the last half of the show, and we went to sleep not too long thereafter.

Saturday morning M, K and I played a cooperative card game in which the goal is to make the best fireworks display ever, but one can't see one's own cards, only those of the other players. We take turns either giving the other players hints about the cards they hold, or trying to play an appropriate card based on the hints we receive. This turned out to be both very fun and a little stressful as one wished to give the most useful hints possible, yet it is easy to get confused and forget the facts that one has already learned about one's cards.

After the game M and I went out to Gammal Uppsala, where there is a museum by some old burial mounds and an old stone church. That was a lovely excursion, with a highlight of a nice garnet and gold broach, followed by a Belgian waffle with cream and jam at the restaurant (note to self: next time order it without powered sugar on it (I would have if I had known they would do something so unreasonable to the otherwise yummy food)).

That evening I made more naan to go with the leftover dhal and kale (no surprise that we had eaten all of the nann the day before). After dinner H and K went to the home of one of H's old friends and I did my workout followed by yoga, while M caught up with a computer game. Then it was time to snuggle up to sleep.

This morning M did some laundry while I borrowed M's computer to skype into the Frostheim annual meeting, where I agreed to run Norrskensfesten again (and managed to get the sleeves attached to my new nice herringbone linen underdress). Then a quick lunch and K, M, and I went out for a walk to enjoy the pretty day. We also stopped by the store and I bought them a new Turkish yoghurt to replace the container I had used up making naan and K bought some things to make a lasagna for dinner.

Before dinner we four played another board game I hadn't seen before. This one involved us each getting one of the seven wonders of the Ancient world (I got Stonehenge) and trying to build up the best civilization from cards that are available in a variety of types. I was usually the slowest each round to decide what to do as I had to take time to find out what each card type does. However, despite coming in last place I still really enjoyed the game.

Then we had a bit of time to cuddle up on the couch and watch the first half of a cartoon about the Book of Kells before M walked me back to the train station to head to the airport.

Now the flight has landed so I can turn on internet and post this before heading home.

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