Online Group-Tuition Programmes

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Beginning - 04 May 2024

Airs and graces: music from Scotland


Come and explore Scotland's evocative and beautiful music. Learn three pieces from seventeenth, eighteenth, and early nineteenth-century sources, guided by experts in performing Scottish repertory on the harp. Start the course with Suipair thighear Leoid ['Lude's super'], a fàilte [salute or welcome] piece attributed to Rorie Dall, 'Blind Rorie'. Follow this up with the beautiful 'Port Atholl', a fitting contrast to the stately and regal Lude's super. Round out the course with a sweet and unusual port collected by the Maclean Clephane sisters in the Hebrides, in the early nineteenth century.

In this course students will not only learn technical strategies for finding their way around new tunes, but also will gain insight into the arranging process and what goes into engaging with a manuscript.

EARLY-BIRD DISCOUNT: enroll now for €99 and save 24% off the full price of €130. Offer ends 20 April, 2024.

Course Duration

6 Sessions



Class Time

3:45–5:00 pm Irish time




Saturday | 3:45–5:00 pm Irish time

04 May

Session 1

Suipair thighear Leoid ['Lude's super'] (1 of 2)

This tune appears in Daniel Dow’s publication, A Collection of Ancient Scots Music (1776). It is attributed here to Rorie Dall – 'Blind Rorie', the famed harper composer revered by so many traditional musicians. This is possibly Ruaraidh Dall Ó Catháin, the Irish harper said to have been active in early seventeenth-century Scotland. This seems a strong, formal occasional piece, to be played for the dining of the Lord of Lude, the melody marked by repeated rhythmic melodic cells that appear in many of the pieces attributed to 'Rorie Dall'.

11 May

Session 2

Suipair thighear Leoid ['Lude's super'] (2 of 2)

18 May

Session 3

Port Atholl (1 of 2)

A beautiful Scottish port taken from Daniel Dow’s 1776 publication, it also appears in the 1789 Collection of Strathspey Reels and Country Dances by John Bowie where it is attributed to 'Rory Dall'. Its earliest appearance is in the Balcarres lute manuscript (c. 1700). This haunting tune honors the Dukes of Atholl, and the support they gave to this great centre of early Scottish harping.

01 Jun

Session 4

Port Atholl (2 of 2)

08 Jun

Session 5

Port 8 from Maclean-Clephane (1 of 2)

In these two classes we will be learning the eighth port of ten puirt in Maclean-Clephane MS 10615: a sweet and unusual two-part tune that contains equal parts of strong declarative phrases and lightly floating lines. This manuscript is one of many made by the elder two Maclean-Clephane sisters, and most likely copied down by the younger of these, Anna Jane, in 1816. Landed gentry from the Hebridean Isle of Mull, in Scotland, the sisters were fluent in Gaelic. Encouraged by their mother, they took up music, and Gaelic song collecting from an early age, making lyrics translations that they also sent to their close family friend and guardian, the novelist Walter Scott. An annotation in this manuscript indicates that, beginning on page 39, ‘The foregoing airs are all taken from the playing of O'Kain by Mr MacDonald’, referring to the 18th-century Irish harper Echlin Ó Catháin, and the Rev. Patrick MacDonald, who notated music from him.

15 Jun

Session 6

Port 8 from Maclean-Clephane (2 of 2)

What to Expect

In this course, students will

  • explore three Scottish pieces from seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth-century sources, and learn about their history and historical context
  • experiment with idiomatic historical phrasing: the play of stress inherent in the Gaelic language, and its relation to the fingers and fingering
  • learn about historical sources for Scottish music and where to find them
  • become familiar with the Scottish port as a musical form
  • have demonstrated, and learn, appropriate posture, hand position, and playing techniques
  • learn technical strategies for finding your way around new tunes, and gain insight into the arranging process and what goes into engaging with a manuscript

Technical Requirements

  • A laptop, desktop or tablet computer; we do not recommend using a phone to participate
  • Speakers or headphones
  • Access to a printer for downloadable course materials
  • Access to the Zoom platform; further information to help you get set up for participating over Zoom will be sent after you have registered

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