Player Sessions

Unearthing old harp repertory in Scottish lute manuscripts

James Ruff

75 mins

Level: Intermediate+

Tuesday July 27th

15:30 - 16:45 GMT

This event will be available to ticket holders to join at the given date and time

  • Times shown are Irish summer time (GMT+1)
  • Zoom login details will be provided 10 mins prior to the event

Event Overview

Some of the earliest recorded repertory for Gaelic harp, the port, is to be found in 17th- and 18th-century Scottish lute manuscripts, captured in lute tablature. As this notation describes where to put the fingers on the lute, these are fully fleshed-out compositions of the period. Together, we will unlock Renaissance lute tablature for the harpist, working at transcribing a representative piece, Port Lennox, from the Balcarres Lute Book, the largest and most important post-1640 source of lute music from Britain. We will experiment with idiomatic historical phrasing: the beautiful play of stress inherent in the Gaelic language, and its relation to the fingers and fingering, bringing this forward in our own phrasing at the harp.

Materials provided in advance: PDF handouts.

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