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Old 09-10-2009, 06:51 AM
mgj32 mgj32 is offline
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Join Date: Jan 1970
Posts: 117
Default Canyon de Chelly, Wedding Piece

I have fooled with this for years. It was written for a wedding which took place on the rim of Canyon de Chelly, which is just outside Chinle, on the Navajo Reservation, on a hot clear blue late spring morning. It was for flute and cello and (I think) Indian Drum--which would be the Pow Wow drum, not one held between elbow and side--though the latter didn't, as I recall, show up. But someone, I think a bride's maid played guitar, had it with her, and offered to improvise an accompaniment. She must have had very good eyes because, although finding a third folding chair was easy enough, there only two music stands. It went well enough, I guess, those of us playing weren't looking at the crowd. We were told later, however, that an eagle appeared out over the canyon shortly after the piece started and hovered, keeping time by slight rises and falls, and sailed away when the piece ended.

The reasons I have fooled with it so much are two. First I added the violin I wished we had had. Second, though I believe I have the general tenor of the guitar accompaniment, I have had an awful time finding out for sure what the range of a guitar is, let alone that there are alternate tunings, the most frequent of which seems to have the lowest note tuned to the second E below middle C. The highest, as played, note seemed to be the B above middle C. This was several years ago, and I finally decided to use a harp. Recently, I thought I'd give the guitar another try and readily found many midi files using Composer's search feature. I went through them until I found one with E3 as the low note and F7 as the highest note, but since it was in the treble clef, the as played note would have been F6, which was not quite high enough. It was at about that point that I decided that I rather liked the harp/guitar combination, though I can't say I've ever heard them together in a situation where they function, in a way, as the same instrument.

So the piece is pretty much as it was that day around 40 years ago, except it now has a violin and a harp, and a hope that the guitar is capable of the range I've given it. What I really wonder is whether that bald eagle would have stayed for the duration with the changes.

all best,
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File Type: not Canyon de Chelly, Wedding Piece.not (386.2 KB, 24 views)
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guitar tuning range, indian drum

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