On losing an organ...

Submitted by Jessie on Tue, 03/24/2009 - 21:46

So as many of you have already read or heard, I had my gallbladder out last Thursday. It was the first surgery I have ever had, first time under general anesthesia, first overnight stay in the hospital since I was born and first organ removal. Yes I still have my tonsils and my appendix. Until now the most major things I have had removed are my wisdom teeth. So here is how I remember it:


Successful surgery!

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 03/20/2009 - 12:01

Jessie had her gallbladder removed yesterday, and we're pleased to say that everything went as smoothly as it possibly could!  She would have been discharged yesterday afternoon, but her surgeon likes to keep patients under observation for as long as their insurance allows (23 hours), so she came home this morning.

Jessie's mom, Debbie, came to town to help out, and stayed overnight in the hospital room while I came home and slept with the cats.  Debbie will be here until Sunday.  Thanks, Debbie!


We Gather Together

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:34

After playing just the melody notes through once, I like to play this a second time with twice as many strokes... it fills the song out somehow.

See below for an MP3 of this arrangement.

Note that this is in 3/4 time, with the first beat of each line held over from the previous measure.


Star Spangled Banner (To Anachreon in Heav'n)

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:32

Autoharp arrangement by Ben Stallings

Note that this is in 3/4 time with the first beat of each line held over from the previous measure, so that you should start counting time with the word "say."

I like to play this with the more rollicking rhythm of the original song, "To Anacreon in Heav'n." Click through for a recording of my arrangement... it took two takes, so there's a hiccup in the middle.


Spirit of Life

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:30

By Carolyn McDade
Autoharp arrangement by Ben Stallings

For some reason when I play this ordinarily sedate hymn as an instrumental, I like to use a sort of calypso rhythm. Don't ask me why. Click through for a recording.


Liberty Bell March

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:14

by John Phillip Souza
a.k.a. the theme song of Monty Python's Flying Circus
autoharp arrangement by Ben Stallings

This tune has no lyrics, but here's the fully orchestrated tune in case you're unfamiliar. Note that this recording is in the key of F while the transcription below is in G... unless your 'harp has an A#7 (Bb7) chord button, you won't be able to hit all the melody notes in F. But you could practice playing backup along with the music, if you like.



Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:10

When I was first teaching myself to play the autoharp, I got to feeling pretty cocky about my ability to play by ear. I brought it along to a church youth conference I was chaparoning and asked a teenage boy to pick a tune so I could demonstrate. I was expecting him to choose a rock song, I guess, but hearing a rock song butchered on the autoharp was not his priority: much better to make himself look smart and take me down a notch! He asked for "Greensleeves," and I was stumped... it took me about 5 years to work out this arrangement, and I don't ask teenagers for requests anymore.


Blue Boat Home (Hyfrydol)

Submitted by Ben on Fri, 02/27/2009 - 13:06

lyrics by Peter Mayer
tune ("Hyfrydol") by Rowland Prichard.

Peter Mayer's tune differs from the traditional hymn in that the last three notes are drawn out to three beats apiece; traditionally they get only one. Additionally, in the last verse during the words "sky my sailor song" he holds the Em chord while singing G for the entire line.

I play this in C or D because it's easier for me to sing. Your harp may sing it better in G. Here is a video of me performing it in D.