Creating Music in Silence

In this episode we talk with Jaymee Haefner, author of our new regular column Harmonic Curve.

Jaymee Haefner is Assistant Professor of Harp at the University of North Texas College of Music in Denton, Director of Undergraduate studies for the College of Music, and co-chair of the UNT University Undergraduate Curriculum Committee.

How to harvest the white space between the notes.

It is the silence between the notes that makes the music;

it is the space between the bars that cages the tiger

—Zen proverb

As harpists, we spend an inordinate amount of time fretting about the position and technique of our fingers as they make contact with the strings, and we easily forget about the “negative space” in our playing—that is, the space between the notes and the space between the strings. Consider that harp strings only make sound when we are not touching them. Let that sink in for a minute—we have to let go of our strings in order for our instrument to sing! This sets us apart from almost all instruments (with the exception of other percussion instruments and guitar). For us, the “negative space” between the notes isn’t the absence of music, but harp music’s very presence.

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About Author

Jaymee Haefner’s performances have been described by Daniel Buckley as possessing “an air of dreamy lyricism… interlocking melody lines with the deftness of a dancer’s footwork.” Jaymee joined the University of North Texas (UNT) faculty in 2006 and was appointed as Director of Undergraduate Studies for the College of Music in 2010. Recently featured at the 50th Anniversary American Harp Society (AHS) National Conference in New York City, and the 2014 AHS National Conference in New Orleans, she has also performed throughout the Dallas‐Fort Worth area, in Mexico, the Czech Republic and Russia. Her recordings include features with the Bloomington Pops Orchestra, baritone Daniel Narducci and Alfredo Rolando Ortiz. She published a biography entitled The Legend of Henriette Renié and presented lectures at the 2014 World Harp Congress (WHC) in Sydney, the 2008 WHC in Amsterdam and the 2009 AHS Institute in Salt Lake City. Jaymee was Chairman of the 2011 AHS Institute and was recently appointed as the Treasurer for the World Harp Congress, she also and serves as the National Harp Associations Liaison for the WHC Review publication. Jaymee’s current projects include a “Better than One” duo with harpist Emily Mitchell and her “Crimson” duo with violinist Matt Milewski. Both ensembles are currently preparing CD recordings. When she isn’t practicing the harp, Jaymee trains in karate and is a first-degree black belt. She obtained her Bachelor of Music and Master of Music degrees from the University of Arizona and her Doctor of Music degree from Indiana University.

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  1. Pingback: 30 Day Practice Challenge 2018 | Harp Column

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