March 16th 2022

Spring courses ONLINE, beginning 7 May, 2022

Enrolment is open for the spring programme of Acadamh na gCláirseach–Academy of Early Irish Harp!

Sylvia Crawford

Spring courses, beginning 7 May, 2022:

Enrolment is open for the spring programme of Acadamh na gCláirseach–Academy of Early Irish Harp! Join our friendly online community, and improve your playing skills and knowledge. Spring classes meet weekly, on Saturdays: May 7, 14, 21, June 4, 11, 18.

Video recordings of each class will enable you to revise and learn at your own pace both during and after the course, and will be available until the next season’s programme begins. As long as you are continually enrolled in any Acadamh course, you will have access to ALL videos of the classes in which you have previously participated

Developing your hands-on skills: post-beginners’ course  €120

Develop your playing techniques, and expand your core repertory, with Sylvia Crawford. Level: beginner+

2.00 – 3.15 pm Irish time (classroom opens at 1.30 pm for pre-class social ‘tea break’)

  • Learn four old Irish harp pieces from the manuscripts of Edward Bunting:
    • 'Nurse Putting the Child to Sleep'
    • 'Bacach Buí na Leimne' [The Beggar]
    • 'Planxty Irwin'
    • 'Thugamar Féin an Samhradh Linn' [We Brought the Summer With Us]
  • Develop and consolidate your use of the fingering techniques, published by Edward Bunting in 1840, as a basis for playing.
  • Learn new strategies for playing without looking at the strings.
  • Explore aspects of Irish traditional music style, as an integral part of playing old Irish harp music.
  • Learn about the instrument and the repertory sources (with guest speaker Simon Chadwick).


Historical music of the Scottish Highlands and Islands  €120

Explore medieval to 18th-century Scottish music with James Ruff and Bill Taylor. Level: Intermediate+

3.30 – 4.45 pm Irish time (classroom open until 5.15 pm for after-class social ‘tea break’)

  • learn about the mysterious port (puirt) in 17th-/18th-century Scottish lute manuscripts, which may be the earliest notated repertoire in Scotland for the harp.
  • learn a port from the manuscripts of the Maclean-Clephane sisters on the Isle of Mull.
  • explore how the Gaelic language, with its rhythm and stress, the ‘Scotch snap’, and anacrusis in poetic line, can inform, and bring about, more of a natural lilt in your playing of Gaelic song airs.
  • explore sacred music from one of the earliest sources of music in Scotland, the St Andrews Music Book.
  • learn a piece that Bill Taylor considers to be a surviving ancient piobaireachd – a sophisticated music of theme and variations for solo bagpipes.
  • explore the history and craftsmanship of the harp of the Scottish Highlands and Islands (with guest speaker Dr Karen Loomis)

Visit Acadamh na gCláirseach–Academy of Early Irish Harp for further information and enrolment.