At last I opened my first box, picked at random, of ancient, unique, and precious ceramic pieces. It was my bad luck that this turned out to be the worst packed box; three out of eight had very old glue repairs that fell apart when unwrapped. Old glues do fail; those from the past were not as good as now. But it sure scared the bejesus out of me, especially with the Music Department being closed for Spring Break. Yikes!!! Thank goodness most of the remaining boxes were better packed, with no more glue joints disintegrating in my hands.
Outside, the flowering cherry tree is in bloom, and petals are everywhere.
After about a week, Adje & his companion Olga finally arrived via a conference in Scotland. Adje is a German archaeologist specializing in musical archaeology; this project is right up his alley, and I’m happy to work with him again. Before she left for her own research project in London, Olga was most helpful in xeroxing Peter Crossley-Holland’s original records, and in taking some flute measurements.
We cannot look at the entire collection in the given amount of time and have been forced, forced I say, to pick and choose according to our interests. What a gift! to spend time with these objects, to play, study, and eventually make more clay pieces inspired by the collection. Quantities of small sculptural ocarinas and whistles, small and larger sculptures of musicians, bone rasps, conch shells, rattles, bells, drum forms, single pipes, double pipes and hundreds more pieces.
After a solid week of work, we have photos, sound files, and measurements on about 100 instruments that interested us individually or together.
Adje has left to return to Germany and tomorrow, I will record in the Bangor audio studio a selection of the single and double airduct flutes. These flutes are very sophisticated with evidence of manipulation in construction to change the timbre or sound of the instrument, as well as interval tuning on the double flutes. There is no evidence of fixed scales on any of the instruments.
We did find time for a few short hikes, including one to the Roman Camp. Bluebells were everywhere, laying down blue/purple under the trees, the plants. I wanted to roll in it.
On the hill in the late evening, looking over the Menai Strait, part of the mud flats can be seen, as the tide rolls in and out.
Adje & I then were tourists for a few hours before Easter supper with friends Kyle and Lewis.