Scottish tunes for trad harp band

Scottish tunes for trad harp band

So I started a group called the NYC Harp Orchestra. Most of the members are my students from the Irish Arts Center and most have been playing about a year.

We learn tunes by ear and the skill level is increasing, but it basically a group of beginners with great rhythm.

We are playing at South Seaport at the end of the month for Tartan Day and I am scrambling to get some easy groove-y tunes that will sound good played by about 16 harpers.

fyi-current tunes are things like Brian Boru, Chanter and Carolan’s Welcome (this one took a long time).

thanks so much,

ps already doing sky song

Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

Might be better transposed from the original key of "E", but a favourite of mine for the past few years. I’ll have a think about some more.

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Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

For the level of your students, and the time you have to prepare, the arrangements in Sylvia Woods’ 52 Scottish Songs should be easy enough. Each is in two arrangements, one very easy and the other fairly easy. (She calls them "advanced" but they’re pretty easy.) They’re also unfussy enough for a large ensemble. They’re almost all songs, the old Scottish warhorses (lots of Burns), and many of your students will have heard some before. There are other collections of traditional Scottish music for harp, many of them arranged by harpers/harpists more steeped in the tradition, but often more challenging. Start with Sylvia — you can download a PDF for instant gratification, and buy the companion learning speed CD. Have fun!

Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

Oops. Didn’t notice you said they learned by ear. Here are some more focused thoughts.

The High Road to Gairloch. Pipe march (not polka). Works well on harp. Uses A-E-A drone throughout. Pipers in the audience will appreciate this one.

The Keel Row. Strathspey (not polka). Shows off those Scots snaps. There are multiple "versions" posted here, most incomplete. This is the easier version:
NOTE: the D in the pickup to the second section should be an octave higher.

Scotland the Brave and Loch Lomond go over well with the tartan covered crowd. They’re easy to learn because most of your harpists have heard them before. Amazing Grace, while not quite Scottish, falls into the same category, and is now entrenched in the Scottish tradition. And besides, harps!

I second the recommendation of The Atholl Highlanders. It’s longer than usual, but it has a good groove.

Katie Bairdie (Kafoozalem/Love will you marry me?) is fun on harp, and would work for multiple harps.

Hope these are useful.

Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

The above 3 tunes were recorded by the group "Ossian", whose music I’d recommend to you.

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Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

There are some lovely slow Scottish airs which are fairly simple

The Skye Boat Song
The Highland Cradle Song
Fagail Lios Mor (Leaving Lismore)
Morag of Dunvegan
Chi Mi na Morbheanna (The Mist-Covered Mountains)

One that serves, more or less, as the Scottish National Anthem at international rugby and football matches

The Flower Of Scotland

And a modern composition that’s extremely popular, also played at Scotland Rugby and Football matches

Highland Cathedral

You can look up any of those on YouTube and hear them.

Re: Scottish tunes for trad harp band

Go here:
for Seattle’s Seamus Gagne’s album and especially, the tune "Gradh Geal Mo Chridhe" called in English, "Eriskey Love Lilt" or "Fair Love of My Heart", from the Orkney Islands. It”s easy to pick out by ear for melody and chords, but I have a chart if you want…email lmkhandro@hotmail. com. Cheers! Linda.