SM0490: Folio 46 Esme's Adventure

The Clarsach Society Folios
Esme's Adventure - The Girl with the Purple Harp
Mixed Ability Level

This collection of harp tunes was inspired by a young harp player Esme Morris Macintyre from Kinnesswood, Scotland. Esme died aged 18 in July 2013 after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was aged only 11. She wrote a searingly honest account of the challenges she faced through her Facebook page and she worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust. Click the panel headings below for further information

Cover ImageTunes in the Book:

A Tune for Esme – Rachel Hair
Esme’s Adventure – Jennifer Port
Esme’s Dream – Debbie Nash
Esme’s Purple Harp – Màiri Macleod
The Arran Boat (trad.) – arr. Amy Moar
Esme’s Flying – Patsy Seddon & Mary Macmaster
The Lily of a Day – Rosie Morton
Memories of Gartmore – Elinor Evans
Sunflower – Fiona Rutherford
Esme’s Tune – Mairi Robertson
The Girl with the Purple Harp – Karen Marshalsay
One – Gwen Yorke
Esme’s Bicycle Ride – Isobel Mieras

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Teenage Cancer Trust Logo
Proceeds from the sale of this book will go equally to The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Clarsach Society
The tunes in this book have been recorded on the CD Esme's Adventure - The Girl with the Purple Harp
Click for details

Click for further details of the CD and audio samples

More about Esme's Adventure

Esme Morris Macintyre
14 February 1995 - 7 July 2013


This collection of harp tunes was inspired by a young harp player Esme Morris Macintyre from Kinnesswood, Scotland. Esme died aged 18 in July 2013 after first being diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was aged only 11. She wrote a searingly honest account of the challenges she faced through her Facebook page and she worked tirelessly to raise funds for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

It was her immense courage and determination to live life to the full that touched the hearts of thousands of people who followed Esme’s Adventure on Facebook. When she made a wish list of people to meet and things to do the response was just amazing. She met sporting heroes Sir Chris Hoy, Dame Ellen MacArthur and Andy Murray and singers Amy Macdonald and Emeli Sandé. She went hot air ballooning, sailing and snow biking and took part in fashion shows – all the while raising awareness and money for the Teenage Cancer Trust.

Also on her wish list was to “have harp tunes written for me to make a book and sell for charity”.

It is great to see this wish fulfilled and provides a unique compilation of tunes for the clarsach composed by some of Scotland’s foremost harp players who were inspired by Esme’s Adventure.

‘Esme’s Adventure – The Girl with the Purple Harp’ is also available as a CD click here for further information (on this site)



The Teenage Cancer Trust believes that teenagers shouldn’t have to stop being teenagers just because they have cancer. The charity has funded, built and now maintains 28 specialist units in NHS hospitals across the UK where young people can be treated together, by teenage cancer experts, in an environment suited to their needs. Esme was treated in the Teenage Cancer Trust units in Edinburgh and Newcastle.
Logo for Teenage Cancer Trust

Proceeds from the sale of this book will go equally to: The Teenage Cancer Trust and The Clarsach Society.


A Tune for Esme – composed by Rachel Hair
Rachel is a harpist-composer who was brought up in Ullapool but is now based in Glasgow. She has two solo albums to her name and performs regularly throughout the UK, Europe and further afield both as a solo musician and with the Rachel Hair Trio.

‘I first met Esme at Tinto Music summer school where she was in my harp class. She really was an inspiration to me to live life to it's full and I feel honoured to have met her’. Rachel

Esme’s Adventure – composed by Jennifer Port
Jennifer is a National Mòd Gold Medallist, has reached the final of the BBC Scotland Young Traditional Musician of the Year and became an ambassador for VisitScotland after playing the clarsach at Madonna’s wedding.

‘After I read Esme’s story I offered to write a tune for her and was delighted to accept Esme’s invitation to go busking to raise money for Teenage Cancer Trust’. Jennifer

Esme’s Dream – composed by Debbie Nash
Debbie is based in the Isle of Lewis and composed this tune after reading Esme’s Facebook page.

‘I was moved heart and soul when I read Esme’s story and wrote the tune ‘Esme’s Dream’ because it's such a basic yet wonderful idea - that all young people, no matter how unwell, should be able to live their dreams’. Debbie

Esme’s Purple Harp – composed by Màiri Macleod
Màiri is a clarsach player and Gaelic singer now based in the Isle of Lewis where she has a very busy teaching and performing career and also conducts the Carloway Gaelic Choir. Her debut solo album 'Ceòl is Òrain' features her composition 'Prayer' which she played at Esme's funeral service.

‘Esme loved playing her clarsach but when her instrument became too heavy to handle she got a smaller one, in her favourite colour. Esme's zest for life was so inspirational and her purple harp was a perfect complement to her bright personality. This tune was written with the range of Esme's purple harp in mind, showing the capabilities and potential of a smaller instrument.’ Màiri

The Arran Boat (traditional) – arranged by Amy Moar
Amy is currently working towards her BA Hons Music Performance and collaborated on a project for the 2014 Edinburgh International Harp Festival with Fiona Rutherford and Drake Music Scotland creating opportunities for people with disabilities to learn, compose and perform music independently. Amy chose this traditional tune because it was a real favourite of Esme’s.

‘I’ll never forget Esme playing this tune when she came to visit me just before she ordered her new purple harp. I will treasure the happy memories of us playing together’. Amy

Esme’s Flying – composed by Patsy Seddon and Mary Macmaster (Sileas)
This renowned harp duo, formed in 1981, has been instrumental in bringing Scottish harp music and Gaelic and Scots song to an ever-widening audience. They were inducted into the Scottish Traditional Music Hall of Fame in 2013. The inspiration for their tune was the pictures of Esme in a hot air balloon flying over Perth-shire on a sunny May evening.

‘I felt a connection to Esme first as a fellow harper but also as someone who has experienced life dealing with a brain tumour through supporting my late husband in his illness. I very much admired Esme's determination to do so much with the time left to her’. Patsy

The Lily of a Day – composed by Rosie Morton
Rosie worked as a clarsach player and teacher in the Edinburgh area for a number of years and first introduced Esme to the harp giving her lessons from the age of 9. Rosie currently tutors Art and English in Hampshire.

‘Esme was always quietly determined and enthusiastic, a pupil with real promise and I feel honoured to have started her off on the harp. The title of my piece is from a poem by Ben Jonson called ‘Underwoods’, which made me think of Esme’s short, courageous life’. Rosie

"…A lily of a day
Is fairer far in May
Although it fall and die that night;
It was the plant and flower of light.
In small proportions we just beauties see,
And in short measures life may perfect be."

Memories of Gartmore – Composed by Elinor Evans
Elinor has recently graduated from the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a BA (Hons) in Scottish Traditional Music with clàrsach as first study. She is now studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Composition at the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama alongside becoming a popular performer and teacher.

'Esme and I shared a room at the harp course in Gartmore. We were both quite talkative, so it's safe to say none of us got much sleep during the course....! This piece is written to remember the happy times we had playing our harps together.' Elinor

Sunflower – composed by Fiona Rutherford
Fiona gained degrees in Composition at Dartington College of Arts and Edinburgh University and has written for theatre and film. She was Esme’s harp teacher for several years and her piece ‘Sunflower’ was inspired by the beautiful poem written for Esme by her friend Eilidh.

‘Esme was both an inspiring student and a good friend. We had a lot of fun together in the lessons and I will always remember Esme’s great sense of humour and her laughing fits! I’ve tried to capture the warmth of her personality in my piece, titled ‘Sunflower’. Fiona


If a friend was a sunflower
You would be the biggest

If good thoughts were petals
You would spread your petals
by the wind,

If happiness was a colour
You would shine the brightest
of yellows,

Although you have shed
your last petal,
The ones you have given me
will stay with me forever,

You are so beautiful,
Esme, my sunflower.

Eilidh Gibson 16/07/2013

Esme’s Tune – composed by Mairi Robertson
Mairi was inspired to take up the small harp after reading ‘The Healing Sound of Music’ and has been involved in mental health support work for a number of years.

‘When I heard of Esme’s request for a harp tune I simply wanted to share my love of this wonderful instrument and was inspired to write ‘Esme’s Tune’’. Mairi

The Girl with the Purple Harp – composed by Karen Marshalsay
Karen is a composer, tutor and performer with an international career and a particular interest in pipe music, world music and multi-cultural projects. This tune was inspired by the picture of Esme with her new purple harp that arrived just days before she died.

‘When I read Esme’s Adventure I thought ‘Wow – here’s someone who knows what to do with her life and who thinks big’. When I saw the picture posted of Esme with her new purple harp I got the idea for her tune ‘The Girl with the Purple Harp’ and I still have that photo of Esme in mind when I play it’. Karen

One – composed by Gwen Yorke
Gwen's busy and varied career involves teaching the clarsach at the Glasgow Gaelic School, performing with folk duo Tornish and the Welsh project 10 Mewn Bws, as well as chamber and solo work.

‘Esme’s ambition and the way she managed to reach out to so many people and encourage them to get involved with and continue her fundraising for the Teenage Cancer Trust is inspirational’. Gwen

Esme’s Bicycle Ride – composed by Isobel Mieras
Isobel is the musical director of Na Clàrsairean (Gaelic for The Harpers) - the orchestra of the Edinburgh Branch of the Clarsach Society of which Esme was a member for a number of years. Isobel was inspired to write this tune after seeing the wonderful photo of Esme on a bicycle with Sir Chris Hoy.

‘We are proud to have counted Esme Macintyre as one of our members, taking part in our annual Christmas concert ‘Harps of Gold’ and the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’. Isobel



Jennifer Port for compiling this publication
All the composers for their tunes for Esme and their support in this project
Lillias Kinsman-Blake for the cover design
Tim Creighton Griffiths of Creighton’s Collection for printing and distribution


Score Information

Title: Esme's Adventure - The Girl with the Purple Harp
Composer/Arranger: various - see above
Instrumentation: Solo Lever Harp
except Esme's Flying - two harps; Esme's Bicycle Ride - harp ensemble
Level: Mixed Ability
Format: Wire bound
Size: A4
ISBN: 979-0-708115-09-0
Our Ref: SM0490
Publisher: Clarsach Society
Printer/Distributor: Creighton's Collection
Edition/Year: First Edition April 2015
Origin: UK

Sample page from the book

Sample page

Publications by The Clarsach Society