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English Harp

GUEST,S.T.M. 23 Jan 11 - 01:10 PM
WalkaboutsVerse 23 Jan 11 - 01:32 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 23 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM
GUEST 23 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 23 Jan 11 - 03:43 PM
Anne Chorley 24 Jan 11 - 05:58 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 24 Jan 11 - 06:15 AM
sian, west wales 24 Jan 11 - 07:36 AM
GUEST,leeneia 24 Jan 11 - 09:52 AM
GUEST,Richard 24 Jan 11 - 11:03 AM
GUEST 02 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Nov 11 - 06:39 AM
Jack Campin 02 Nov 11 - 08:58 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Nov 11 - 10:42 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Nov 11 - 10:59 AM
Bonnie Shaljean 02 Nov 11 - 11:01 AM
Crane Driver 02 Nov 11 - 11:28 AM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Nov 11 - 12:39 PM
Helen 02 Nov 11 - 02:36 PM
GUEST,Suibhne Astray 02 Nov 11 - 02:51 PM
Helen 02 Nov 11 - 03:09 PM
Hawker 02 Nov 11 - 03:25 PM
GUEST,gazukiman 03 Nov 11 - 02:24 PM
Helen 03 Nov 11 - 03:37 PM
xrisxroz 03 Nov 11 - 07:16 PM
Howard Jones 04 Nov 11 - 08:46 AM
Jack Campin 04 Nov 11 - 09:50 AM
Don Firth 04 Nov 11 - 04:29 PM
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Subject: English Harp
From: GUEST,S.T.M.
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:10 PM

Hi there,

I was wondering if anyone had any information on the harp being used in English folk music? I don't seem to be having much luck, as most harpists I come across play in Scottish or Irish bands. I have recently acquired a harp but am finding it difficult to find a suitable teacher. I have no real issues with learning classically, as it would be good to get some basic foundations but eventually I would like to learn with someone who can use their harp spontaneously (i.e. without always having a score and as a bit of a busking instrument) and with someone who is genuinely passionate about the English folk tradition (rather than saying "oh yes, I do folk!" and proceed to play awful arrangements of Scarborough fair and Greensleeves...)

I am based in Kent but more than willing to travel if it means finding the right teacher. Also welcoming suggestions of harpists to listen to; particularly those involved in English folk.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: WalkaboutsVerse
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:32 PM

I can't help but wish you well; and, by the way, there is an English Dital Harp/Harp-Lute.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 01:54 PM

I play an English Harp - as made for me by Tim Hobrough circa 1982 and based on medieval Anglo-Norman iconography. I call it my Hare Harp after one illustration in which such a harp is depicted being played by a hare. Whilst I don't use it too much these days, I use it to accompany myself reciting the Middle-English poem The Names of the Hare (& related folklore) which is the first track on my (still extant!) Myspace page:

http://www.myspace.com/sedayne


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 02:09 PM

Hi Suibhne Astray, thanks for the link and information, that's great! :) Have you ever used it to perform English folk songs? I hear so many Irish and Scottish songs played on the harp!


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:37 PM

There are quite a few people around, once you get into the (for want of a better word) "contact network". I played harp for years in the English folk scene, though now live in Ireland. Being able to busk & play by ear is more a matter of innate musical abilities, while playing the instrument in the most (again, for want of a better word) efficient manner is a matter of technique. (By technique I mean how you use your finger muscles to physically pull the strings. I do NOT mean issues of musical style, which is up to the individual musician.)

So get a teacher and learn the hand technique, and then play whatever music you want on your harp! Some good folks to get in touch with are Pilgrim Harps in South Godstone, Surrey, who know a lot of musicians and very much have a foot in the "folkie" camp as well as classical. You might try asking them (best person for that info is "John" who knows loads of people). They also have a list of teachers. Link is:

http://www.pilgrimharps.com/teachers.htm

Come back & let us know how you get on! So nice to see another harper here -

All the best, Bonnie


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 23 Jan 11 - 03:43 PM

Mike O'Connor (fiddle) and Barbara Griggs (harp) are based in the southwest and make lovely music - he specialises in Cornish repertoire. Facebook page is

Mike O'Connor and Barbara Griggs


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Anne Chorley
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 05:58 AM

You might like to contact Steph West

http://www.stephwest.co.uk/index.html

and there is also a website that has just started up to promote the harp in English traditional music

http://www.englishharp.org/


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 06:15 AM

Have you ever used it to perform English folk songs?

Not really; it's a mediaeval thing so a few medieval English songs maybe - Bryd One Brere etc.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: sian, west wales
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 07:36 AM

Mike O'Connor does perform with harper Barbara Griggs. They have a myspace page. Another possibility, once you've got the basics sorted, is for you to come to Wales for a Clera (Welsh Traditional Instrument society) workshop which happen 3 times a year, or come to our Big Experiment weekend in October. Welsh music is far more similar to the English tradition than it is to Irish/Scottish. We've had 2 harpers attend our weekend from England; they seem to get a lot out of it.

The Welsh harp makers, Telynau Teifi , have a series of basic harp tutorials on their website. I think there are a few teachers now offering classes online or by video conferencing.

sian


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 09:52 AM

I know a lot of harpers, although I don't play myself.

When finding a harp teacher, it is important that you find someone who teaches you good technique. You don't want to develop back trouble, shoulder trouble or wrist trouble from learning bad posture. And you don't want to discover down the road that you can't play fast or play fancy because you have developed bad habits.

You should be able to find a teacher who can teach you both to read music and to improvise. Many, many people do that.

There's no need for your teacher to be passionate about English folk music. What's important is that your teacher do her job well and do right by you as you learn to play.

Once good source of genuinely English music would be the Playford dances, (which Google.)

Best of luck with your new instrument.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Richard
Date: 24 Jan 11 - 11:03 AM

Try Telephone: 020 8883 5742 Email Keith on keith.beechey@yahoo.co.uk
Keith Beechey makes harps, teaches harp and plays them very well. I play with Keith, he plays all manner of music including much English music, from before Playford up to tunes from the Hardy manuscripts 9references to these can be found on Mudcat. He lives in North London, but is worth the journey.
Richard


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 06:31 AM

I love the picture of the hare with the harp - where did it come from?


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 06:39 AM

A wee book simply called The Hare. Not even sure if I have it any more... As to the original ms. I'm sure I couldn't say. I'll have a look later.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 08:58 AM

I came across this note when searching for information about Rose Parisot, the dedicatee of "Parisot's Hornpipe":

John Old of Par

So it seems there was at least one harpist/dancing-master in England in 1808, playing fairly conventional dance music.

Maybe the VMP knows where his manuscript is. Google doesn't, and I'm not on Facebook so I can't ask where the poster got that information.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 10:42 AM

The fine fiddler Mike O'Connor (who's also on Facebook under his own name) published the John Old Ms (and some other historical material) and he sent me STACKS of interesting info on Mlle Parisot. I played that tune when I was doing a harp workshop in Devon a couple of summers ago. Mike is really the person to ask. He's based in Cornwall and his website is:

http://www.lyngham.co.uk/index.html

I think I've even seen him around Mudcat but can't remember if he uses a screen pseudonym or not. His books of old Cornish music are lovely, well worth getting. There's also the John Giddy Ms.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 10:59 AM

PS: Since this is a harp-related thread, I ought to mention that Mike makes beautiful music with harpist Barbara Griggs and they gig regularly:

http://www.lyngham.co.uk/Mike&Barbara.html


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 11:01 AM

...ooooops, just actually RE-READ the whole thread...! I see I've repeated myself...


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Crane Driver
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 11:28 AM

Mike's Mudcat 'nom-de-keyboard' is Crowdercref, which I believe is Cornish for 'on the fiddle' or some such.

Highly recommended.

Andrew


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 12:39 PM

The Hare & Harp image is from Ms Ashmole 1525. FB FS 187J-6. The book I got it from is actually called HARES, edited by D. Wyn-Hughes, published in 1981 by W H Allen & Co.

Coo! I've had it 30 years!


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Helen
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 02:36 PM

I wonder if Guest, S.T.M. ever came back to look at this thread.

My favourite harp CD's are by the Scottish duo called Sileas. Yes they are Scottish, not English but their harp and singing skills, passion, and their choice of songs are unequalled in my opinion. They are raucous, and their love of the music is infectious. About 20 years ago I originally bought the vinyl records of Beating Harps, and Delighted with Harps, and then upgraded to CD. I listen to the CD's a lot and I am still enthralled by them. They also played with The Poozies, and I have their CD called Infinite Blue, which I also love.

I can totally identify with Guest, S.T.M.'s post because I was in the same predicament, having a harp for the last 30 years, but no access to a teacher. I went every week for 10 years to a local folk music session and managed to get some music out of my harp, but I eventually (a couple of years ago) resorted to going to a piano teacher so that I could learn the trick of playing more than chords as accompaniment to other people's melodies. I intend to start putting that knowledge into practice on the harp very soon.

I found the email Harplist was a lifeline for me as an isolated harper. (Hi Bonnie!)

Helen,
Newcastle, NSW, Australia


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,Suibhne Astray
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 02:51 PM

I had a Sileas Xmas album on cassette once - do you know that one? Bought it from them at an Edinburgh festival gig back in 1990 or so...


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Helen
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 03:09 PM

No, I only have the two I mentioned and Play on Light, which I like, but not as much as the other two.

Helen


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Hawker
Date: 02 Nov 11 - 03:25 PM

Sarah Deere Jones Of The Cornwall Harp Centre does harp lessons on Skype.........http://www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk/onlinelessons.htm
Cheers, Lucy


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: GUEST,gazukiman
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 02:24 PM

Thanks Lucy for the plug, yes Skype Lessons work very well she has pupils all over the world and is a QUALIFIED harp teacher. Also on the site is a comprehansive page about the history of the harp in England.
Phil - hope Kevins comfortable.
www.cornwallharpcentre.co.uk


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Helen
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 03:37 PM

Sian, Hawker & gazukiman,

Thanks for the info about harp lessons. I started watching the Telynau Teifi lessons yesterday, and I'll watch the rest this weekend. I don't have access to Skype yet, but I can look into it.

Helen


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: xrisxroz
Date: 03 Nov 11 - 07:16 PM

I see you're in Kent but the Edinburgh Harp Festival each Easter is well worth a visit. Teachers and harpists from all round the world attend. Great craic, wonderful lessons, workshops and concerts.
Janet Bennett from Northumberland is a superb teacher and, of course the festival scene provides opportunities to make contacts.
I agree with Bonnie (who inspired me when I saw you at festivals some time ago- thank you), learn how to get your fingers working then play any style you like. There's a lot of good material out there.


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Howard Jones
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 08:46 AM

The harp was sometimes played by English traditional musicians, and I recall seeing a few photos of village bands which included a harp. However these seem to have been relative rarities compared with the more usual fiddles and squeezeboxes

Amongst modern players, Jack Shuttleworth plays English music on harp (a vividly purple one, unmissable)


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Jack Campin
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 09:50 AM

There is a tradition of the harp being played along with the Northumbrian pipes. I have only one cassette of this, from some rather obscure (to me) performers - Bonnie, do you know more?


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Subject: RE: English Harp
From: Don Firth
Date: 04 Nov 11 - 04:29 PM

Maybe it depends on how far back you want to go.

Benjamin Bagby of Sequentia, a medieval music group, plays an Anglo-Saxon harp. This instrument is contemporary with, and historically consistent with the chanting/reciting/singing of such things as Beowulf, which Bagby does with considerable élan on a DVD.

"Hark to the song of the Spear-Danes. . . ."

In Olde English. But with sub-titles.

Bagby uses the Anglo-Saxon harp to sort of "punctuate" his spirited recitation, as the scops and bards of that time did. But it's kind of amazing how much music he can get out of six strings, no frets!

I understand that such things as Homer's Iliad and similar epic works were performed the same way back in ancient Greece, using the lyre, a very similar instrument.

Don Firth


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