by Ruth Ann Amberstone
I fell in love with the piano when I was 8 years old. My aunt had one at her house and I used to love "playing" it — exploring the keys and making up melodies that disappeared like mist when I was called to the dinner table. I begged my parents for lessons for a whole year. At long last, my artist mother arranged to trade her artwork for lessons for me and my brother and I was introduced to a more disciplined approach to playing the piano.
When I was 16, I began a new love affair with the guitar and although I never completely abandoned the piano, it faded into the background for many years as I developed as a singer/songwriter and embraced the life and dreams of many of us who took part in the Greenwich Village folk scene of the '70s and '80s.
An odd thing happened when I became a mother. My infant daughter (who accompanied me on gigs while still in the womb) would scream loudly every time I picked up the guitar to practice. Reluctantly, I set it aside. (Ironically, music is a big part of her life now that she's an adult!)
When I decided it was time to go back to the guitar, I discovered that I had forgotten just about everything — how to play, and even my own songs. I turned my attention to other things, and performing music became a bittersweet memory.
At some point, I sat down at the piano and rather than composing something that I had to practice over and over again in order to remember it, I just played from my heart with the intention of letting it vanish like mist — just as I did when I was a child. I loved the results and have playing that way ever since. These days, I play whatever comes through me and let it go. It's gone forever unless I choose to record it.
These tarot-inspired pieces, composed in the key assigned to each of the Major Arcana by the Golden Dawn, were originally recorded to provide another level of experiencing the cards for the students in our Monday night tarot classes. I played them on my burled mahogany parlour grande piano with beautiful carvings on the legs and keyboard. It was built in 1899 by Hazelton Brothers of New York. I've compiled the improvisations (some would call them "channeled") in this cd and offer them to you to experience in your own personal way. I hope you enjoy them!
“Dear Ruth Ann, I have just been on the most emotional, musical journey through the magickal world of the Major Arcana. What a journey! Your CD is absolutely beautiful!! Your music brought every card to life and captured each one perfectly. I felt I was right there in every landscape — not physically — but like in a dream, when you sense your presence but no physical body. I could actually hear in my mind the child on the horse in the Sun card laughing!
I had no idea what to expect with Tarot Keys, I couldn't even imagine. Boy! was I in for an amazing surprise, and such exceptional value! What a lovely relaxation exercise before each Major Arcana lesson — Thank You!
I will cherish Tarot Keys and I will never tire of
Congratulations Ruth Ann. I just wish I could physically hug you and thank you in person.”
— Pamela May, Australia
“I use your CD, Tarot Keys, frequently while working at my computer or when doing Tarot spreads during my morning meditation time. I find that the clear piano and simple chording is pleasant to listen to and that the music instills a sense of calmness in me. I find that the CD is one that I can use while I read, as well, as the music is not a dominant force as is so much that has heavy orchestration. The piano work is clear and clean and a joy to listen to.”
— David Attwood, California
1) The Fool – E
2) The Magician – E sample clip
3) The High Priestess – G# sample clip
4) The Empress – F#
5) The Emperor – C sample clip
6) The Hierophant – C# sample clip
7) The Lovers – D sample clip
8) The Chariot – D#
9) Strength – E
10) The Hermit – F
11) The Wheel of Fortune – A#
12) Justice – F#
13) The Hanged Man – G#
14) Death – G sample clip
15) Temperance – G# sample clip
16) The Devil – A sample clip
17) The Tower – C
18) The Star – A#
19) The Moon – B
20) The Sun – D
21) Judgement – C
22) The World – A
“I purchased your piano CD and it's BEAUTIFUL! The music is just so relaxing and lovely to me, I leave it in my car to keep my nerves calmer in traffic. ;-) I also have it loaded in my iPod so that it's always with me. Thank you so much for your inspiration to record it!”
— Karen Shelley, Florida