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Celtic Harp on Guitar

JMB 06 Aug 17 - 03:40 PM
Jack Campin 06 Aug 17 - 04:31 PM
Helen 07 Aug 17 - 03:45 PM
leeneia 07 Aug 17 - 08:46 PM
Helen 09 Aug 17 - 02:06 AM
Jack Campin 09 Aug 17 - 04:10 AM
gillymor 09 Aug 17 - 06:54 AM
JMB 09 Aug 17 - 02:50 PM
Helen 09 Aug 17 - 04:45 PM
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Subject: Tech: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: JMB
Date: 06 Aug 17 - 03:40 PM

I am looking to find good resources for free Celtic Harp sheet music. Many sites I have found only have the melodies of songs. Should I check out the nearest music shop for books? I am looking to convert Celtic harp tunes to the guitar. Currently I have been playing tunes commonly played on the fiddle and tin whistle on the guitar. I would like to add some harp arrangements to it. Thank you.


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Subject: RE: Tech: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 06 Aug 17 - 04:31 PM

This is the only substantial harp-specific source from any of the Celtic countries:

http://imslp.org/wiki/The_Robert_ap_Huw_Manuscript_%28Anonymous%29
http://www.pbm.com/~lindahl/ap_huw/

There are a lot more melodies that are known to have been played on the harp, but if you find a harp-specific arrangement, it will almost always have been created recently enough to still be copyright and it won't be free.

As an example, there is not a single harp-specific feature in all the known music attributed to Carolan, and it survives only in copies used by flute, recorder and violin players. For another one - some piobaireachd was originally for the harp, but it didn't survive in any harp-playing tradition and we only know about it because pipers and fiddlers preserved it. We can reverse-engineer a few harpy tricks that fit, but that's all.

This is about as substantial as it gets:

https://raretunes.org/patuffa-kennedy-fraser/

and she was mostly making it up as she went along.

A lot of the 18th and 19th century Scottish tune collections, like the Gows and Marshall, suggest the harp as the primary instrument on the title page, but they had the big salon harp in mind, and their arrangements are equally designed for the piano with the melodies designed to fit the violin. This is miles away from anything a folk harpist would want to do.

You're on a hiding to nothing with this. Just arrange tunes you like for the guitar directly and ignore what harpists might have done with them. There is no traditional sound to imitate.


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: Helen
Date: 07 Aug 17 - 03:45 PM

Hi JMB,

I have bought harp music books from Sylvia Woods over the years. This is the page for Celtic Books & PDFs

I'm wondering whether you are referring as much to the type of harp as to the type of music when you refer to "Celtic harp", which may or may not have sharping levers, compared with a classical pedal harp which allows for accidentals a lot more easily. I have never tried a pedal harp, but I've been bumbling along on a Celtic harp for quite a while (self taught).

Because the harp is large-ish and heavy to carry around, and takes time to tune up, I have recently bought a concert size ukulele. Instead of just strumming it, I am attempting to learn fingerstyle uke to create a sound more like the harp.

I recently bought a couple of books by Tony Mizen with fingerstyle ukulele arrangements of some tunes, and I also bought his fingerstyle tutorial book.

Kemp's Jig
is not Celtic but it is a good example of the arrangement of tunes in Mizen's books.

You could probably find guitar arrangements of e.g. some of O'Carolan's tunes, but also my quick trick for finding sheet music is to do an image search on Google, e.g. "sheet music O'Carolan" and search through the results. It would give you a chance to see how the harp music is arranged by different people.

I have seen YouTube videos and I think I have also seen music books for sale of guitar versions of O'Carolan's music.

Give it a go. I think it's worthwhile experimenting.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Aug 17 - 08:46 PM

Hello, JMB. Here's a site with 264 pieces of trad music for guitar, and some of the music is Celtic. Some of the pieces have sheet music, some do not. Some have tab.

https://www.8notes.com/guitar/traditional/sheet_music/?page=1


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: Helen
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 02:06 AM

refresh


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: Jack Campin
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 04:10 AM

You might want to listen to what Dick Gaughan does with Highland pipe tunes - fast twisty melodic playing with no implied harmony beyond maybe a drone. It's got nothing much to do with the harp, but it's very idiomatic on the guitar.


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: gillymor
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 06:54 AM

Jean Banwarth has a site with usable free tabs and notation mostly in DADGAD but in other tunings as well and it includes some O'Carolan.


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: JMB
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 02:50 PM

Thanks for all your help with the resources. I really appreciate it.


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Subject: RE: Celtic Harp on Guitar
From: Helen
Date: 09 Aug 17 - 04:45 PM

Happy to help you on your quest, JMB.

If you do a Google search on Celtic guitar for videos you'll find a lot of inspiration.

Battle of Aughrim - Celtic Guitar

or Mudcat's very own Will Fly - Blackbird

There are probably a lot of tutorial videos, and also books available on Celtic guitar style.

Have fun!
Helen


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