Chanah Ambuter, Michigan Harpist

Bring the Beauty of the Harp to your Day

Contact Michigan Harpist Chanah Ambuter to bring music to your wedding, fine event, ensembles, and harp lessons. Visit to see photos, professional sound clips and videos, reviews, and blog.

First post!

Hello!

First post on the blog! My hopes is that this informal blog will be a combination of my reflections as a musician, a teacher, an artist, and a performer. Hopefully you'll find them interesting!

I thought I'd share a before-and-after shot of one of my earliest "big girl" harp pieces. It's "Impromptu Caprice" by Gabriel Pierné, and if you asked, would probably be my favorite harp piece to date. There's a whole lot of emotional history in it, has some memorable melodies, and contains almost all of the staple harp techniques (glissandi, arpeggios, quickly repeated chords, intonation, syncopated rhythm, muffles, enharmonics, you name it!).

I recently came out of a period of being "burned out" and began toying with this piece again. It instantly brought back so many memories that I decided I wanted to learn it again and see what I could do with it after six years of professional tutelage. (Recordings will be forthcoming!).

You can find an unmarked score at imslp.org, the public domain site of sheet music.

So, here's what the page originally looked like: 

 

And here's what it looked like after my 17-year-old self thought, "Hey, I'll color-code it! Oh, legibility? Eh, it's good enough!"

I'm now going through and simplifying it back down with good old white-out and erasers. 

The moral of the story? Don't give your brain more than it can handle. Our brains form a complex relationship with music. We go from sight-reading a piece to memorizing it to playing it by heart (and yes, there is a difference between memory and heart). Much like the scene in "The King's Speech" staring Colin Firth, we need to mark up our "speeches" to remind us how we want to express them with our own diction. HOWEVER, they must not be sloppy, half-hearted, or over-cluttered; otherwise, our brains simply can't process what we've written and we start to panic!

This just goes to show that logic and chaos, rationality and creativity, planning and inspiration, are all essential to living. Music, to me, is the greatest expression of this balance.

Happy harping!

~ Chanah