September 10, 2010

Dreaded Wrist Pain

If you're a musician (or a fighter, or a knitter, or a tennis player, etc...), you know how alarming wrist pain can be.  You start to notice a dull achey stripe down the center of the inside of your wrist, and the first thing that pops into your head is "OMG CARPAL TUNNEL!!!  I'LL NEVER PLAY THE HARP/SWORD/NEEDLES/RACKET AGAIN!!!"

This is usually not the case.  Normally, after a short freak-out, I just take this as a sign that I've been practicing too much and my wrist is tired.  I put the harp down for a day or two, and when I pick it back up, I concentrate on playing with a nice, healthy technique (WRISTS STRAIGHT!).  Some people will wear wrist braces for a while to make sure they're not torquing their wrists doing some other random thing.  This is smart.

So yesterday, I noticed the tell-tale wrist pain.  "WTF?" I thought, irritated.  "I've been living in unpacking-new-house-land for the past week!  I haven't touched my harp OR my needles OR my rapiers for at least that long!  Unfair!"  Seriously, the unpacking hasn't even been of the heavy-lifting variety.  By the end of the day, the pain was shooting all the way up to my shoulder.  So not cool.

So here's a tip for people who have alarming, unexplainable wrist pain - examine how you sleep!  Turns out I was sleeping on my side with my bottom shoulder thrust forward underneath me and my arm curled up around me with my wrist hooked around my neck.  It was ugly.  Trying to find another comfortable way to sleep was uglier.  But hey, now my wrist feels fine!

It's something most of us don't think about, but really - when you spend 8 hours every night ganking the buhjeezus out of your wrist, good harp technique will only get you so far.  And if you sleep as hard as I wish I did, try wearing wrist braces to sleep one night, and see what it won't let you do.  It's enlightening.

September 06, 2010

What's Isolde working on?

I'm too uninspired/buried in unpacking (just moved!  w00t!) to dredge up a focused or, like, y'know, interesting post, but I'm going to post sort of a generic "no really, I'm not just slacking" update mostly to keep myself feeling like I'm getting somewhere.  Right.

So what's Isolde working on?

Three Words:  This is a song by Mistress Eliane Halevey from Northshield.  It's gorgeous, it reminds me of Northshield, and I wanted to have it under my belt.  So I wrote a harp part for it, and I almost have it performance-ready.  When Eliane sings this, she has a drummer or the audience accompany her with a simple beat and sings it acapella - it works really well.  So I've incorporated that beat into the harp part, which is hella fun.  The harp part itself is meant to build in intensity as the song moves forward, and I really hope I achieved that.  Performance will tell.

Goliard:  Doña Antonia Santiago da Lagos, of Ansteorra, wrote a poem for the occasion of Master Thomas of Tenby's baronial investiture.  It stuck with me, I wanted it under my belt as an "Ansteorra" song, and so I'm setting it to music.  It's metrically similar to "Frog Goliard," so I'm making it a sort of goliard/coranto...thing.  I'm hoping to have it done by Ealdormere's coronation at the end of the month, but who knows.

Clarseach:   I have one.  It needs new strings.  I have new strings.  I need to put the strings on the harp.  And then....then, my friends, there will be hella posting, cuz I have ideas!  MBWAHAHAHAHAHAAAAA!!!

I guess it's something about music and melodies - given the right words, they eventually just jump into my head.  It takes practice to get them right, but they'll happen whether I'm distracted or not.  Not so with poetry.  So when I have a lot of upheaval, like planning to move back to Atlantia while moving to a new house in Ealdormere, it seems that poetry takes a back seat.  I miss it, though.  I'll try to set aside some time to get something written before I head back South.