Tag Archives: harp

Anna, Yuki, and Helen

Those aren’t the names of people, though.  They are the names of a few instruments I’ve been trying to learn.  That’s right, I name my instruments.  Anna the piana (I know I spelled it wrong).  Yuki the ukulele.  And the little harp looks like a Helen.  (I can’t figure out a good name for the guitar).

            I like instruments.  Strangely enough, I am not a fan of most music, yet I like instruments.  There’s such a variety, and they make all kinds of different sounds, and sometimes it is fun to try to learn how to play a few songs here and there on different instruments.  I have gotten pretty decent with the guitar (I can’t figure out the timing of music or anything like that, but I at least know what dot corresponds to what string), but I still have a few other instruments I have a decent amount of trouble with.

            Out of the three named in the title, I am the best with Anna.  Remember, the piano.  Problem here is, there are so many darn keys.  You have to have an entire thing of notes for the right hand and the left.  I don’t know the word for it.  The thing with the five lines the notes go on.  The guitar requires one.  Anna has two. Yeah.  I got the right hand just fine, as those notes are the same as with the guitar, but the left hand eludes me.  It’s not the same as the right.  Not in the slightest.  The middle line is no longer B.  It is, I forgot.  But, I can’t remember both.  It’s impossible.  So I can play okay on the right side, but when I get to the left, I have to hunt for a while until I find the right note.  I mean, the left note, or something.  You can’t play a song with a minute gap between each note.  And this piano book came with stickers with the letters only.  That is meaningless to me.  So I got a bunch of slips of paper with the lines with the dots on them and used the stickers to hold the paper on the keys so I know what dot goes to what key.  And then there are these three little pedals at the bottom that I never use.  (And I still haven’t taken off the things they left on for protection, so it looks like Anna is wearing socks, which you’d think would be cute, but it’s actually creepy.)  I like Anna, though.  She’s fun to play, and the notes on the far left sound positively sinister.  She’s just difficult.  At least I’ve gotten pretty decent at such songs as the organ music that plays in the haunted church in “Banjo-Kazooie” and the Song of Healing from “The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask”.  Now it sounds like when the Happy Mask Man is playing it.  Which should be bad, though, because he’s really creepy.  Ahem, rambling.  Also can play the “Winnie the Pooh” theme because, why not?

            Yuki (ukulele) gives me even more trouble.  Just four strings (though the book decided to leave out one), but I am used to the guitar, so I end up reading the notes as if I’m playing the guitar, and I get all messed up.  And she won’t stay in tune.  I must constantly use Anna to tune her for me, then, by the next day, she’s completely off again.  Darn, Yuki, it’s like ADHD for instruments!  Plus, I found that not many songs sound right on the ukulele.  I can play the Gelato Beach theme from “Super Mario Sunshine”, though.

            Helen is even worse.  What a disobedient child she turned out to be.  It took a long time to figure out what strings were what notes, and she won’t stay in tune, either.  Once again, I must use Anna to tune her, then before you know it, out of tune again.  To make matters worse, I really can’t remember what strings are what notes when trying to read the music, and you can’t do sharp notes or flat notes, so the songs I can play are quite limited.  I’m a fan of sharp notes.  Sharp notes are great.  But, Helen won’t do them.  Because Helen’s stupid.  Stupid Helen.  I can’t really play a thing on her.

            So instruments are hard.  Really hard.  I doubt I’ll ever fully get most of mine figured out.  I’m never even trying the flute or ocarina again.  Now those are really impossible.  Plus the ocarina hurts my ears.  The flute might, too, if it would even make noise….


Unmusical Instruments

I first tried playing the recorder, and to this day, I despise that instrument.  No matter what I did, it always squeaked and screamed whenever I blew into it.  Not getting the hint that wind instruments were not for me, I later decided to buy an ocarina.  Same issue.  I actually got one that looks like the ocarina from “The Legend of Zelda” video game series, with the Triforce on it and everything, so it’s quite an adorable little thing.  I just can’t play it.  And I tried for a while.

            Still quite determined and devoid of basic common sense, I later got a flute.  It’s a pretty blue one, made out of clay, with designs on it.  I can’t make a sound on that thing.  There’s a cork inside it, and I have no clue if that’s even supposed to be in there.  Probably.  I’m sure all the fault lies with me.  I just can’t play wind instruments.

            So next, I tried the harp, a little wooden one.  Perhaps I’ll have better luck with string instruments, I thought.  Who knows.  I could never tune it.  I don’t know what note each string should be, and my tuner won’t cooperate.

            Finally, I found an instrument I can somewhat manage, the guitar.  I got a red electric one which I can play all right.  I even finally learned how to read music, but I am still awful at it.  I know what notes I’m looking at, but I can’t do the timing right.  I have no idea what they’re trying to tell me.  No idea.  And I can’t do chords…if that’s the thing where you hold more than one string down at once for one note.  My fingers don’t bend like that!  It’s absurd!

            And I still had trouble with tuning.  I now know which string should be what note (I mainly know which one is G, then work out from there), but I was still using the tuner that had quite an epic grudge against me.  I know I can get one that plugs into the guitar, but I don’t want to.  I am determined to reconcile the differences between me and that tuner, but no amount of talking and therapy has changed its opinion of me.  In fact, our relationship has gotten worse.  The last time I used it, it wouldn’t do anything at all.  Pluck as I may, it just ignored me.  So I got an idea.  I tried singing the notes, and this actually worked.  The lights started to come on, so I kept singing different notes until the light for the correct one came on, then I plucked the strings before they went out.  What a chore that was.

            By now, you’d think I’d be sick of instruments, but I later got another guitar.  I always thought those big wooden ones were quite lovely, and I’m not even a rock and roll type of person, so I don’t know why I chose an electric guitar as my first one.  Finally, I got myself an…acoustic guitar?  Is that what they’re called?  It’s quite pretty and is big, but weighs less than the other one.  And I like the sound better, and I don’t need to use a pick.  I don’t actually know why I used one before.  Anyway, another super thing about my acoustic guitar is that it comes with a built-in tuner.  I used it not long ago, and tuning was so easy.  I felt quite neat about myself.  This tuner actually likes me and doesn’t daydream when I need its help.

            Now when it comes to the actual playing of my guitar, I’m a little embarrassed.  I don’t actually play any real songs on it.  Just…well…video game music.  It’s quite fun, but probably pretty geeky.  I don’t use any sheet music, but figure out the notes myself.  I rather enjoy plucking strings until I get the right note, and then if I’m lucky and manage to finish the whole song, I write the notes down.  Then, I memorize it.  I’m actually working on a song from “Super Mario Galaxy” now.  I have about half of it, but am still too lazy to write any of it down.  Oh, well.

Not A Musical Duck