Reverie Harp Duets
The Reverie Harp has made the joy of making music more accessible than ever. The simplicity of the design, the layout of the notes, and the comfortable shape all combine to make this musical instrument inviting to anyone and everyone. Just pick it up and start to play - you'll sound great! No musical knowledge or experience is needed.
Musicmakers has curated a collection of instruments that are easily paired with the Reverie Harp so two people can make music together. Below you'll find sound samples of various duets as well as suggestions on how to get started.
The Monochord provides a soothing, steady drone of notes that is that is ideal for relaxation or meditation. The calm, steady tone provides a gentle source of focus that keeps you grounded in the present moment.
The monochord is also well suited to accompany the Reverie Harp.
All of our monochords come tuned to the key of C so they will work with our standard Reverie Harp tuning right out of the box.
Get comfortable with the monochord. Set it on your lap or on the floor or even on a table. Gently drag your finger over all the strings by starting at the far side of the instrument and pulling your hand toward your body. One strum will produce a world of sound.
Alternate hands, strumming the strings with one hand and then the other to create a steady stream of endless notes. It's mesmerizing
You can change the dynamics by strumming more aggresivley or faster.
You can change the tone a few different ways. Strum with the pads of your fingers. Strum with your finger nails. Strum using a guitar pick or a felt pick. Strum in the middle of the instrument then spread your hands apart strumming near the ends of the instrument and notice how the tone changes.
Examples with the Reverie Harp
On this track the monochord is tuned to the middle C tuning and the Reverie Harp is tuned to the C Medidation tuning.
The monochord is strummed steadily while the Reverie Harp is played completely at random. This is the magic of the Reverie Harp - you can turn off your thinking mind and just let your fingers pluck strings and listen to what happens.
The monochord drones underneath with the Low C tuning. The Reverie Harp is tuned to the Mystic tuning which is great for this type of duet. It has a slightly familiar feeling but there is something unanswered about it that keeps you attentive and in the moment.
For this piece I set the Reverie Harp on my lap and set one hand on each half of the strings. I plucked a string on on the right side and then plucked a string on the left side. I tried to maintain a steady back and forth rhythm. After a while, it becomes very meditative and there is less and less thought given to what I'm doing. It's quite liberating!
And now for something completely different...
I tuned the monochord up from the Low C tuning to a Low D tuning for a different feel. And the Reverie Harp is tuned to the Paradox tuning which is in the phrygian mode. This tuning sounds like it comes from another world.
For this track I used a felt pick to strum the strings on the Reverie Harp. The track opens with some free form strums and then the strums settle into a gentle back and forth rhythm. The left hand then plucks out a notes from the left side of the instrument. All the while, the monochord offers a steady foundation.
The pentatonic tuning on the Reverie Harp and the flutes allow both players to play anything they like and the instruments will harmonize nicely. Neither player needs to have any musical background or knowledge.
Have the person playing the Reverie Harp start to strum the strings softly. Simply strum a few strings at a time or slowly strum across all the strings on the instrument. Strum with a pulse or steady rhythm or just strum at random.
The person playing the flute can join in anytime. No need to be fancy. Play and hold one note and enjoy the ethereal tone of the flute as it is supported and grounded by the sounds of the Reverie Harp. Try alternating back and forth between two notes and pay attention to the tone you are creating. Is it soft and airy? Is it focused? Can you change the tone? Do you want to add a third note? Feel free to take your time and explore. Be curious. Be the player and the audience.
The person playing the Reverie Harp can experiment with plucking individual strings. A simple idea with a lot of potential is to create a three note pattern. Set your thumb, index, and middle finger on any three strings. Pluck them in any order or rhythm until you create something you like. When ready, move your hand and play the same pattern on three different strings.
If you are playing the flute, listen to what the Reverie Harp is doing and let that guide your playing. Maybe you mimic the rhythm in time or maybe you echo the notes.
As both players listen and respond to each other, the pattern might evolve into something new. Follow it and see where it goes. There is no wrong path!
Notes on Tuning
The standard Reverie Harp tuning has the exact same notes as both the Spirit Flute and the Sparrow Hawk Flute so there is no need to retune your Reverie Harp. The tuning is C Major Pentatonic. The tonal center is C and the feel of scale is major which makes for a bright, cheerful, and optimistic sound.
If you want to explore a more melancholy feel, try tuning the Reverie Harp to A Minor Pentatonic. It has the same notes but moves the tonal center to A and emphasizes the minor scale creating a warmer, darker, and more brooding atmosphere.
The Shruti Box is both the simplest and most versatile instrument to pair with the Reverie Harp. It couldn't be any easier to play - just set the key and pump the bellows.
The Shruti Box can easily play in any key so it is a great option if you like to retune your Reverie to play in other keys.
Every key has its own feel and color. In the track below, the Reverie Harp is tuned to the key of F. (get the tuning chart here) Whereas the key of C major pentatonic sounds bright, happy, and light; the key of F major penatonic can sound more solemn, staid, and weighty.
The Shruti Box has the F and C notes open. This would be the first and fifth scale degree for the key of F. Those two notes will strongly establish and reinforce the tonal center.
We have pentatonic tuning charts for several different keys available here. It's fun to retune your instrument to a different key and spend a week or so in that tuning and see what you discover.
In the following track the Reverie Harp is tuned to the Earth and Sky tuning. This is one of our "two chord tunings". Each half of the Reverie Harp is tuned to one "chord". I set the Shruti Box to just have the G note open. It serves as a connecting note that is common to both "chords" on the Reverie Harp providing a home base from which to explore.
Notes on Tuning
As mentioned above, opening the first and fifth scale degrees on the Shruti Box will establish a clear tonal center.
Finding the first and fifth scale degrees is easy. The first scale degree is always the name of the Key. So, for the key of G, that would be... yep - G. To find the 5th scale degree just count up 5 notes. G is 1, then A is 2, B is 3, C is 4, and D would be 5. So if you open the G and D notes on the Shruti Box, you will establish the Key of G.
Two other things to keep in mind. In the above example, if you try and open the G and D notes on the Shruti, you will find that the only avaiable D note is lower than the the G. That is OK. Your ears will still here this as being the Key of G.
Second - using just the first and fifth scale degrees will work for both major and minor tunings.
The Rav Vast and the Reverie Harp are both melody instruments so duets with these two can be a bit more challenging. In general, if both players are musically sensitive and can listen and respond to each other, the duet will come off better.
That being said, it isn't hard for one player to provide something steady and simple allowing the other player more freedom.
I created a custom Reverie Harp tuning meant to play with the B Celtic Minor Rav Vast. In the track below, you'll hear both instruments start by slowly exploring the notes of the tuning. Then, after about a minute, the Reverie Harp will settle into a guitar style finger picking pattern. This opens up some space for the Rav Vast to to explore.
A Reverie Harp and Banjo duet? They said it couldn't be done. Many said it should be done. But I wanted to try it anyway and it turned out to be pretty fun.
I finger picked the Reverie Harp like a guitar and alternated my hand position creating the illusion of alternating chords. I emphasized the chordal change with the notes I played on the banjo.