Accompanying the Master
Iera twirled her flute between her fingers as she approached the
Master Harper's office, the action was born out of nerves as she told
herself that it was silly to be nervous. As a junior journeywoman,
Iera had yet to declare any sort of specialization in the Harpercraft.
Not that a harper had to have a specialty, but Iera was still
searching for what really interested her.
The entire reason she'd been allowed into the craft to begin with, was
her impressive skill on the flute, but she wasn't sure if she just
wanted to specialize in instrumental music or not. To try things out,
she was going to be playing for Master Eilomar as he sang.
"Sir?" she knocked on the open door to his office.
"Enter!" Eilomar's deep bass replied. "Are you the one who was
supposed to play flute? A girl?"
Iera's eyes flicked from side to side as if there might be someone
else in the room. "Yes, I was told that you needed an accompanist on
the flute today. Journeywoman Iera," she introduced herself, inclining
her head in a quick nod.
"Iira? What kind of name is that?" Eilomar asked, mishearing her name.
The journeywoman pursed her lips and then enunciated her name more
clearly, "Eye-rah, sir."
"Not much better. What were your parents thinking of?" Eilomar asked
rhetorically and gestured her to take a seat. "Do you think you can
manage this?" He pushed a note sheet across the table top towards her.
Iera couldn't decide if Eilomar was just a cantankerous old man or if
he had a problem with her because she was a female crafter. Even
though the Harper Hall allowed women to craft, the one in the South
was still plagued with men who didn't think the women belonged. She
took the sheet that was pushed toward her and held it up, "Shouldn't
be a problem, sir. Would you care for single measure intro before the
"Go ahead," Eilomar replied and leaned back to listen. His attitude
was actually based on envy: he was never good at mastering
instruments. He could play guitar well enough to accompany himself and
keep up the rhythm with a drum. All other instruments just were past
The journeywoman took in a deep, measured breath, brought the flute to
her lips, and warbled out the first lilting note of the song. Her
fingers felt especially damp and sweaty as they passed over the
fingerholes on her flute. The old harper was intimidating, and she
felt sure he would find some way to nitpick her accompaniment.
Eilomar just grunted when she finished. "Now, with me singing, here's
the rhythm," he tapped it to the edge of his desk.
Iera tapped her foot in sync with Eilomar's tapped rhythm before
lifting the flute again to her lips. Before coming to the hall she had
never played to a metronome of any kind. Her flute playing had always
been by ear, taking on whatever measure and quality she wanted to go
with the song. Since she had been at the Hall, however, she'd been
taught how to make the rhythm fit properly into each measure.
After the intro, Eilomar launched into his song. His bass created a
nice counter for the sound of the flute. In mid song, he suddenly
changed the tempo a bit, just to see if she could catch it and keep
The journeywoman's eyes flicked up to Eilomar as he sped up, forcing
her to skip a note so that she could catch up with his new tempo. She
knew the song well and so it was not hard to adjust to the singer's
For the final verse, Eilomar returned back to the normal tempo,
satisfied that she could keep it up.
"Not too bad, you'll do," from him that was a high compliment.
Even as the "compliment" made her bristle in offense, Iera
simultaneously felt pleased to have earned some bit of favor from the
old Master Harper. "Thank you, sir."
"You're welcome," the rotund, old harper replied smugly. "How is your
singing voice? Do you sing besides playing instruments?" Eilomar was
always looking for new voices to add to his choir.
"Yessir, I sing as well. I naturally tend toward alto so I have been
working on sight reading and harmonizing." Iera informed him.
"Do you show your singing to me?" Eilomar was always eager to add more
voices to his choir.
Iera suddenly felt self-conscious singing in front of the Master
Harper, "Um, yes, I could. Is there a song you would like for me to
"Let's see," Eilomar rummaged his desk for something suitable. There
was that new piece, but he yet to familiarize with it himself and it
seemed rather complicated. He found a simple love ballad, one often
performed at weddings. "Do you know this?" he handed her the sheet.
The young journeywoman took the sheet and looked it over, "Yes, I've
heard this one." She blew a soft note on her flute, giving her the
pitch for the song, before launching into it. Her voice was a bit
trembly and soft with nerves but her pitch was perfect.
"Well," Eilomar said and launched into his criticism. "The pitch was
spot on but your voice trembled. A training could help with that. You
would qualify for the choir, but not for the lead solos."
Iera was relieved, and not at all disappointed about the solos
comment, "Thank you, sir."
"Here's the choir's training schedule, if you're interested joining,"
Eilomar offered her a pamphlet. She was journeywoman, so he couldn't
just tell her to be there.
"Yes sir, I will think about it," Iera said taking the pamphlet in one
hand and her flute in the other. "Have a nice day, Master Eilomar."
"You too, journeywoman," Eilomar replied absently and waved her off,
his attention already at the hides on his desk.
Last updated on the February 3rd 2019