back  prev  next  Irish harp terms from Bunting 

Return to Home

Sruth mor

from Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Dublin 1840), Page 24: Graces performed by the treble or left hand.

Irish sruth mór spoken by Gráinne Yeats
Scottish Gaelic sruth mòr spoken by Tony Dilworth

Click the play button to hear it spoken. help

“ First, second and third fingers of left hand slid along the strings, which were either stopped or allowed to sound, as the harper pleased...”

Simon Chadwick 2008

Note also the musical notation shows the ascending sruth mor starting on comhluighe g, and ascending to d''' which is the highest note on Denis O'Hampsey's Downhill harp. Presumably other starting and finishing notes could be used.

The video shows a legato version. A more staccato effect can be obtained by reducing the distance between the sounding and damping fingers. Maybe this is what Bunting means by "stopped or allowed to sound".

The descending sruth mor is marked ‘fingered in the same manner... by the right hand’. This is slightly enigmatic; the right hand can be inverted to allow the same sliding action, but players have suggested other ways to finger a descending sruth mor including using the left (treble) hand, and using the back of the index fingernail while damping with the thumb. more videos coming soon

Simon Chadwick 2008

Sruth mor - A great stream ascending / Or descending

Spelt sruth mór, 'a great/large stream'. On p.19, discussing Gaelic harping terminology, Bunting writes of "a run of execution, Sruith-mor, or, 'the great stream'". On p.93 of the main text we find an ascending series of notes headed 'Sruith, a stream, played very staccato and soft'.

Colm Ó Baoill 2002