The Habit of Foreign Sky – An Analysis of a Harp Player’s Musical Motivations

Kansanmusiikin osasto

Table of Contents

The Habit of Foreign Sky

About the music

Track 1, “Bedford Row”:
Track 2, “Life on Wheels”:
Track 3, “Beneath a Balcony”:
Track 4, “The Miser’s Pocket”, “Sergeant Early’s Dream” & “M and M”:
Track 5, “Johnny”:
Track 6, “Yksi Kaunis Papilinen Polska”, “Johan Yli-Nickola” & “Polska Från Jeppo Efter Johannes Jusslin”:
Track 7, “In Memory of Michael Coleman” & “Kiss the Maid Behind the Bar at 9 O’Clock”:
Track 8, “It was Early”:
Track 9, “Rannalla”:
Track 10, “Loftus Jones”:
Track 11, “A Thousand Farewells” & “The Clear Coaster”:
Track 13, “Lady Ramsey”:





My project for my Master of Music degree at the Sibelius Academy’s Department of Folk Music was a CD entitled “The Habit of a Foreign Sky”. The following pages encompass the written element of that project. It is an analysis of what motivated me, in terms of music and musical influences, to produce the body of work on my CD.

“The Habit of a Foreign Sky” is comprised of thirteen tracks, mainly consisting of my original compositions and traditional folk music from Ireland and Finland. My goal in presenting this combination of music was to demonstrate where my training as a student at the Sibelius Academy has taken me. The work that I have done was very much influenced by the musicians with whom I have worked in Finland. Additionally, several of my compositions have roots that pre-date my time studying in Helsinki however those compositions, such as “It was Early” and “Beneath a Balcony”, were largely shaped by my work at the Sibelius Academy: one could say that being here strengthened my musicianship and contributed to giving these compositions their final shape.

In this paper I have tried to articulate and explore the musical process behind “The Habit of a Foreign Sky” with words.