July 23rd - 29th 2022


Pronuncio: the art of speaking with one’s fingers

Dr Maria Cleary

60 mins

Level: Intermediate +

Thursday July 28th

17:15 - 18:15 GMT +1

Support Material

Must have appropriate ticket to download support material


Event Overview

On the harp, the ancient art of pronuncio – pronouncing or articulating syllables – is accomplished with the fingers: choosing different articulations, and different fingers. My approach to fingering is to imagine that I am literally singing with the  fingers. With each sound produced, I consider the physical gestures of inhaling, exhaling, creating silence (staccato) and melismas (legato), resulting in consonants and vowels. This workshop will delineate the first historical European evidence of harp fingerings and articulations, and also those of their close relatives: keyboard instruments. This earliest information in German, Spanish, English and Italian sources up to 1600 is relevant to instrumental repertoire of the period. With this very practical  information, we will focus on music by the 15th-century, blind, German organist, Conrad Paumann, whose music finds a parallel in the sole surviving Irish harp prelude played by harper Dennis O’Hampsey.

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