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Trumpet Tune…or Strings..?

July 28, 2013

Clarion – definition: a kind of trumpet having a clear note


Trumpet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This was the common name for a trumpet in the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. It was also used as the name for a 4′ organ reed stop, creating confusion whether clarion  refers to a type of trumpet or simply the upper register of the standard trumpet.

As a lover of baroque, I was also reminded of the Trumpet Voluntary, which is played on an organ or other English keyboards not a trumpet!  The name comes from the piece being played on the trumpet stop

Listen here:

And thereby ends your lesson for today!

On a personal note (forgive the pun!) my favorite instrument is the harp. When asked at school which instrument I wanted to play – the harp. What’s your second choice – the harp. Needless to say I didn’t get my wish. However, I was blessed, to meet in person, a wonderful harpist, Marisa Robles. She is a diminutive woman, even shorter than me! That was one of the excuses, I was too small to handle a harp. When I spoke to her I was in awe but did manage to ask about her finger tips. Many harpist’s have callus’ but Marisa’s fingers were sooth and soft. She explained to me that she took extra special care of them. Decades later, a good friend taught me a few bars on her harp – so wishes do come true, just not when or how we expect.

Marisa Robles.


What instrument is your favorite?

What is Boxing Day?

December 28, 2010


I have mentioned Boxing Day several times verbally and on my face book page this Christmas season. This has resulted in several people being curious and asking me what ‘Boxing Day’ actually is. It is the day after Christmas Day and in my naivety I assumed everyone had Boxing Day but now I know it is not a global thing. Growing up my understanding was that it had been an old tradition to open gifts as Christmas Day was spent in church and feasting. However, after some research I too have been enlightened.

The exact etymology of the term ‘boxing’ is unfortunately unclear and although there are several competing theories, none are definitive. Money and other gifts were traditionally given to the needy and to those in service positions, such as servants. The European tradition goes back to the Middle Ages but its exact origin is still unknown. There have also been claims that it dates back to the late Roman/early Christian era.
It is known that metal boxes were placed outside churches to collect special offerings tied to the Feast of Saint Stephen. In England it was the custom in the nineteen-century for Victorian tradesmen to collect their ‘Christmas boxes’ or gifts on the day after Christmas in return for good and reliable service throughout the year.
The name could also derive from another old English tradition, where wealthy landowners would allow their servants to have the 26th off work to visit their families in return for a smoothly run Christmas. Each servant was given a box containing gifts and bonuses and sometimes leftover food! Also around the 1800’s churches would open their alms boxes and distribute the contents to the poor. These boxes were filled with monetary donations from the wealthier members of the congregation.
No matter which version you would like to believe, Boxing Day is still an enjoyable holiday and one spent with family and friends.

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