The following morning I felt almost blasé about getting ready. Day three, right? No big deal. And then I looked at the clock. Twenty minutes is really not enough time for breakfast, coffee, shower, packing up the harp, and loading the car. I scrambled!
At the studio, we got through the first tune, “This Gloom on my Soul,” in a reasonable amount of time. I played more takes than usual, but finally got a perfect one: no edits necessary. Then we tackled the monster, a four-tune March/Strathspey/Reel set full of ornaments and tricky transitions; it took two hours. In my mind I kept thinking, “After this will be ‘Skye air,’ which I can nail in one take. Or maybe two.” But of course that’s not what happened. The openness of the arrangement and the bare octaves made the tuning so tricky. I tuned and recorded and thought, “Not usable.”
Re-tuned and rerecorded. “Still not sounding right.”
Re-tuned the entire harp. Spot checked for another twenty minutes or so. Finally did another take, and finally, got it in one. After a whole bunch of “warmups.”
At home again, I decided I really ought to finalize the text for my CD, but couldn’t bear the thought of staying inside on such a gorgeous September day. I packed blanket, laptop, water, and a sweatshirt (because it’s getting to that time of the year when the sun is broiling but the shade is chilly), and did my work in a nearby nature area, swiping the occasional mosquito and enjoying the color of golden-rod-covered fields in the evening light.
Day Four in the Studio
Twin-Cities harpist Stephanie Claussen invites audiences to explore new locales and eras through her music. Influenced by her love of fairy tales, J.R.R. Tolkien, and the world music section at her local library, she performs a unique mixture of Scottish tunes, J.S. Bach, and anything rich in medieval or French harmonies. Sign up for her e-mail newsletter to receive important announcements and notifications of upcoming performances.