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Mermaids Book

ALL HARPS - 6 harp solos, 3 harp/voice duos. Mermaids and their kindred water spirits such as naiads, lorelei, and sirens are often musical creatures. They sing and even play harps or lyres in our myths, art, and poetry, like the nereids in Walter de la Mare’s "Sunk Lyonesse." 

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92017

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From Carol: Mermaids and their kindred water spirits such as naiads, lorelei, and sirens are often musical creatures. They sing and even play harps or lyres in our myths, art, and poetry, like the nereids in Walter de la Mare’s "Sunk Lyonesse." A collection of harp music about mermaids, therefore, seemed like an attractive idea to me.

I’ve used several "watery" musical devices, including parallel fourths, whole-tone glisses, and arpeggios built on diminished and half-diminished sevenths, to suggest the element in which mermaids live and play and sing.

The "Little Blue Barcarolle" is somewhat different from the typical barcarolle, the rhythm of which is usually meant to suggest the gentle roll of a small boat. Here, the rhythm and the blues mode suggest, I hope, that mermaids are playfully rocking the boat.

"Iona’s Mermaid" is based on the medieval story of a mermaid who wanted to be baptized by the monks living on the holy island of Iona. Though the poor mermaid swam round and round the island, the pious monks refused to baptize her, presumably because they believed a mermaid had no soul.

"From the Rocks" is the kind of song that mermaids might sing to lure sailors onto the rocks that will destroy their ships.

"The Forsaken Merman," by the Victorian poet Matthew Arnold, is a touching poem about a despondent merman and his children, left alone by the human woman who returns to her life on land.

The Victorians were particularly fascinated by mermaids. Many painters of the period depicted them, including the late Pre-Raphaelite, J. W. Waterhouse. His painting "A Mermaid," is reproduced on the cover of this collection, by kind permission of the Royal Academy of Art (London).

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