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Strange Charisma : for solo harp with preparations

by Lisa Cheney (2021)

Strange Charisma


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Strange Charisma : for solo harp / Lisa Cheney.

Library shelf no. 787.95/CHE 2 [Available for loan]

Work Overview

I first heard the term 'strange charisma' uttered by a musicologist who used it to describe the puzzling allure of a chord in a piece of music. For weeks afterwards, I found myself relishing in the term, and its celebration of the seductive and beguiling meets something unique, new, and warped. Strange Charisma is a work for solo harp and preparations consisting of Blu Tack and wooden honey dippers. The Blu Tack and wooden dippers inserted between strings transform the angelic and natural beauty of the harp into something strange, sometimes out of tune and at times reminiscent of a Javanese gamelan if it were plucked rather than struck. It is divided into six small sections that alternate between high rates of activity and sections of more static activity and calm. It also explores the concept of vibration, experimenting with resonant and less resonant sounds. The work uses the harp's full register, gradually unfolding each register from the highest notes in the opening to its very lowest at the end.

Work Details

Year: 2021

Instrumentation: Harp.

Duration: 9 min.

Difficulty: Advanced

Commission note: Joseph Rebman

First performance: by Melina van Leeuwen at Sound Secrets (The Ian Potter Southbank Centre, Hanson Dyer Hall) on 4 May 2022

The preparations consist of:

1. Applying Blu Tack at the octave harmonic node on 8 strings

2. Placing 3 wooden honey dippers/spoons between strings.


Strange Charisma

Performances of this work

4 May 2022: at Sound Secrets (The Ian Potter Southbank Centre, Hanson Dyer Hall). Featuring Melina van Leeuwen.

7 Apr 17: University of Cincinnati - CCM, Ohio, USA.

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