KL002: Harping On

Harping On
Kathleen Loughnane

Cover Image: Harping OnIn this collection, I have set down my arrangements of Irish traditional music for the harp. The music originates with the harper composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - Ó Catháin, Connellan, and O’Carolan - and the mostly anonymous composers of the dance music. The mood of the selection encompasses the lift and energy of traditional dance music and the expressive range of ornamented slow airs. Whilst they were developed on and for the harp, these settings can also be played on keyboard instruments.

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Contents & Audio Samples

Tunes in the book

1 Marie’s Welcome
2 The Queen of the Rushes
3 The Queen of the West
4 Eleanor Plunkett
5 Bright City
6 Margaret O'Carroll
7 Loftus Jones
8 The Sandhopper
9 Bean Dubh an Ghleanna
10 Aisling an Oigfhear
11 Grainne’s Jig
12 The Wheels of the World
13 The Three Sea Captains
14 Martin Mulhaire's Reel
15 The Blacksmith’s Daughter
16 The Princess Royale
17 The Gate to the Mill
18 Sir Arthur Shane
19 Mr O'Connor
20 The Annen Polka
21 Mazurka and Jig
22 Untitled slip Jig
23 Lúcháir an Léinn

Composers Notes

Introduction

In this collection, I have set down my arrangements of Irish traditional music for the harp. The music originates with the harper composers of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries - Ó Catháin, Connellan, and O’Carolan - and the mostly anonymous composers of the dance music. The mood of the selection encompasses the lift and energy of traditional dance music and the expressive range of ornamented slow airs. Whilst they were developed on and for the harp, these settings can also be played on keyboard instruments.

These arrangements have been arrived at aurally, rather than by conscious application of laws of harmony and counterpoint. The way of working was to settle in with the melodic and rhythmic shape of a tune. Passive surrender to the basic form allowed ornamentation to suggest itself and an arrangement to emerge. The shapes of the arrangements owe much to the musicians I have listened to along the way, and towards whom I have a continuing sense of gratitude.

Fundamental to traditional music is the re-shaping that takes place in its transmission from one player to another, whilst respecting the idiom. The musician is not bound by the written note nor by the idea that there can be only one correct version. Séamus Heaney describes the writer’s impulse for personal expression, the search for the individual voice, in terms which musicians might recognise as relating to their own search for a form that rings true:

How, then, do you find it? In practice, you hear it coming from somebody else, you hear something in another writer’s sounds that flows in through your ear and enters the echo-chamber of your head and delights your whole nervous system in such a way that your reaction will be, ‘Ah, I wish I had said that, in that particular way.’ This other writer has spoken something essential to you, something you recognise instinctively as a true sounding of aspects of yourself and your experience. And your first steps as a writer will be to imitate, consciously or unconsciously, those sounds that flowed in, that in-fluence.

Each tune has been given an arrangement suggested by its basic form. Some are therefore quite simple whilst others call for a reasonable degree of technical skill. All the pieces are easily memorised.

It is hoped that harpers will be encouraged to add to the fast-growing repertoire for the small harp, and that these arrangements might serve as a point of departure for their own creative efforts.

The majority of the tunes in this book can be heard on the companion CD. The remainder can be found on Dordán’s recordings on the Gael Linn and Narada labels.

 

The book also contains both Notes on the Tunes and Notes on Harping and a list of source material

Library Information

Title: Harping On
Composer/Arranger: Kathleen Loughnane
Instrumentation: Lever Harp
Level: Intermediate Level
Format: Stapled
Size: A4
Total Pages: 40
Weight: 265gm
ISMN: M 9002013 1 7
Our Ref: KL002
Publisher: Reiskmore Music
Edition/Year: 2002 Extended Edition
Origin: Ireland (EU)

Sample page

Sample of the music

Also from Kathleen Loughnane

Available from Creighton's Collection:
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Compact Discs
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Affairs of the Harp Harping On The Harpers Connellan Harp to Heart
Sheet Music
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Affairs of the Harp Harping On The Harpers Connellan