My main area of interest and specialism is in old Irish harp playing techniques and fingerings. In recent years I have been working to interpret and understand the table of fingerings published by Edward Bunting in his 1840 book. Based on this, I have been working towards reconstructing and developing a system of fingerings and principles for playing the old Irish harp. My first book, An Introduction to Old Irish Harp Playing Techniques (published in 2021), is a reconstructed method of playing the old Irish harp, based on marrying two core pieces of written evidence that we have about the lost oral tradition – the playing techniques, as used by all the harpers that Bunting met, and the First Tunes, as collected from the harper Patrick Quin.
I have been continuing to work to develop my new insights and apply these principles and playing techniques to the wider old Irish harp repertory. My aim is to develop a sound, idiom and way of playing that are consistent with wider Irish traditional music style and approach, using playing techniques that are characteristic of oral music traditions – named motifs, recurring patterns, tactile fingering, non-visual approach etc. My own background in Irish traditional music along with my interpretations of Bunting's field transcriptions, jotted down from live performances of harpers in the old tradition, are helping me in this process. I am currently preparing a second book, arrangements of old Irish harp airs, using reconstructed playing techniques and fingering based on Bunting's tables.