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Self relection, November 2018.

Updated: May 15, 2020

It is a snowy Monday morning in Kansas City, Kansas. I am in preparation for my fourth local feature on the topic of 17th century Scottish lute music on KKFI, Kansas City Community Radio. I sip my coffee and ask myself, “why is it that I want people to hear this music?” During my last four years of study on the Scottish lute the aspect of performance had been my primary contribution to its history. I took this route mainly due to the rarity of intimate live performance, and interpretation of this music. My secondary contribution to the history of this music has been one on the preservation and accessibility of the music. This includes a full arrangement of the Straloch Lute Book, (for six string guitar) as well many arrangements of works from the Rowallan and Balcarres Lute Book. Performance and preservation, as rewarding as it has been, is no longer the defying factor in my personal journey. Rarely does one comment on the interpretation of the work, or musical it components. More often, the historical context and the ways in which I have re-contextualized this music, and furthermore interwoven it into my personal life as a recreational lutenist is what bridges the gap between the performer and the audience. After many readings of Victor Frankl's Man's Search for Meaning I have unquestionably self identified with the preservation and performance of 17th century Scottish lute music as a large portion of the meaning of my life. Although my audience is quite small I now for the first time feel worth in even my smallest accomplishments on the instrument. Dedication to this alone is paving a road of light and fulfillment in my life. If only one heart be touched, even if just by one note of this performance, I am confident this makes the world a more beautiful place. The realization that this music is the murmur of a past life, and a beating heart in my own, has inspired me to write my own Lute book, the Delaware Lute Book. I now share the unknown stories of others alongside my own as I read from the Delaware Lute Book. A collection of 17th century Scottish lute music.

Peace, love, and music - Neal.


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