Jubal’s Muse

Jubal’s Muse
for solo harp
Dan Locklair

Dedicated to friend and outstanding American harpist, Jacquelyn Bartlett, Jubal’s Muse is a short one-movement piece for solo harp composed in December 2010. The slow, expansive opening (a variant of which briefly returns to end the piece) leads to a fast, dance-like second section. Until the latter part of this second section, Jubal’s Muse is based on only seven pitches: D-sharp, C, B, E, G, A-flat, F. These seven pitches, which contain rich triadic relationships, are at the heart of both the melodic and harmonic make-up of the composition. Near the climax of the Jubal’s Muse, the five remaining pitches of the chromatic scale emerge (F-sharp, B-flat, D, C-sharp, A), leading to the end of the piece at the further-most point (D) – a tritone away – from where it began (A-flat).

Jubal, as recorded in Genesis 4:21, was Lamech’s second son by Adah of the line of Cain. History also remembers him as the inventor of musical instruments, specifically the organ (i.e. the mouth-organ or Pan’s pipe) and the harp (lyre). The harp is cited often in The Bible, especially in The Book of Psalms. The extra-musical stimulus for Jubal’s Muse is found in Psalm 108 : 2-3 (KJV):

Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early.
I will praise thee, O Lord, among the people:
and I will sing praises unto thee among the nations.
Psalm 108: 2-3

As an aside, the second verse of this Psalm, Awake, psaltery and harp: I myself will awake early, seems to have been a favorite of the pioneering and inventive American composer, Charles E. Ives, for it appears on his Danbury, CT tombstone.

Dan Locklair
Winston-Salem, NC
December 2010

Duration : ca. 4’ 00”