For 2023 I am working towards developing an understanding of traditional Irish harp playing style and repertory, through studying the fundamentals:
- traditional style and idiom
- playing techniques
For the past few years, I have been working through Edward Bunting’s live transcriptions from the harp tradition-bearers in 1792 and 1796, preserved in his papers at Queen’s University Belfast.
- We could talk through a manuscript page or pages to help you understand Bunting’s working methods.
- We could talk through the various catalogues and finding resources, including my indexes and spreadsheets, to help you understand the source materials that are available.
I have been trying to understand how the old Irish harp style relates to the older more conservative strands of traditional Irish music on pipes, fiddle, song etc.
- We could listen to some traditional recordings and discuss how they relate to old Irish harp style and idiom.
- We could discuss more “political” issues to do with what the Irish harp is, how it is perceived, what its role is.
I have also been trying to get up to speed with the way of playing the old Irish harp, as described in Sylvia Crawford’s recent book.
- We could work through a tune applying the fingering techniques.
- We could discuss issues specific to playing without fingernails, using the fingertips, the way the vast majority of the harpers played in the 18th century.
I have also been refining and developing my understanding of harp design and setup
- We could discuss how you can choose a harp, based on your own style, ergonomics, and the repertory you want to play.
- We could discuss practical applications such as tuning the harp or changing a broken string.
I’m also very happy to consider any personalised requests you may have of particular things to study. Email me on firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss your requirements.