Taking a little break from practicing and thought I would let you in on some of my preparations for the Canyon of the Ancients residency in September.
I'm about to purchase my tickets -Yes, tickets plural - from Rochester to Durango; one for me and one for 'Scubba the cello' who will travel alongside me the entire way, perhaps even getting me a better seat without paying for it if the flight attendants decide it is safer for us to ride in the front of the plane... I get asked all sorts of questions while flying with my cello. 'What does it weigh?' 'Is that a guitar?' 'Are you in a symphony?' etc. Some people are impressed, the rest are annoyed when I board early, or bump them while trying to navigate the aisle carrying my instrument sideways along with my carry-on backpack (or take their seat!). Often the flight attendants insist passionately that I cannot take Scubba on the plane; that he won't fit in the overhead! It takes several times of me patiently waving my TWO tickets in front of them before they relax... since 9/11 you can't gate-check a cello so the only safe option is to purchase a ticket or an incredibly large and almost equally expensive flight case.
Last night my parents and I were discussing the work I hope to do in Colorado and Mom was asking how the climate would affect my cello. Wooden instruments respond daily to changes in temperature and humidity. As the wood expands and contracts the sound changes, the level of the strings alters, and the general feel and finicky-ness of the instrument moves around. At a certain level of aridity the wood will crack causing irreversible damage - the instrument will never sound the same again even if repaired. To combat dry conditions string players use rubber coated damp sponges called dampits which are placed inside the instrument, as well as various kinds of humidifiers. I would like to purchase a Stretto hygrometer and humidifier to take with me which are small enough to fit into my cello case and according to this article work as well and better than dampits while also requiring less water. I think with the combination Scubba will be okay.
Another thing on my to-buy wish list is a professional quality hand held sized recording device with microphone (and which is battery operated). I'd love to be able to capture the sounds of the desert as well as the acoustics within structures or rock formations. Sound environments are known historically to influence music creation; the sounds of nature and types of sound objects available as well as the kind of acoustic resonance. My parents asked if I had done any research on the peoples of the canyon and if there were known/assumed musical traditions etc. The "to research" list lengthens...
Well, time to get back to the current project!