Simon Chadwick’s
Early Gaelic Harp Emporium

Tutor & repertory books

If you wish to learn the early Gaelic harp traditions, it is definitely best to study regularly with a teacher, or attend events like Scoil na gClàirseach. You can even take online video lessons nowadays!
For those unable to do this, it is possible to work alone with tutor books. Indeed, I taught myself to play using Ann Heymann’s tutor books.
Different tutor books work in different ways, and will suit different personalities and different approaches. It can be instructive to get more than one to compare approaches. Click on an author’s name for pricing and purchasing details of all their books

Lessons book cover Gestures book cover A Gaelic Harpers First Tunes Der HarpffenschlaegerBill Taylor: Sources

Simon Chadwick
‘Progressive Lessons’
A source book for the three beginners’ as collected from the last of the old harpers in the 18th century; also a detailed notation and commentary on the fingering techniques preserved in Welsh and Gaelic historical sources.

Ann Heymann, ‘First Tunes’, ‘Coupled Hands’, ‘Off the Record’ and ‘Legacy’, and a secondhand copy of the rare out-of-print ‘Secrets of the Gaelic Harp’.
Two tutor books and two books of arrangements by Ann Heymann, undisputed master of the early Gaelic harp. Highly recommended.

Andrew Lawrence-King, ‘Der Harpfenschlaeger’
A slim tutor book for mainstream early harps from Europe’s best known historical harper.

Astrid Adler, ‘Play the Companions’
Using the sister strings (na comhluighe) for playing rythmic drone bass for traditional tunes.

Karen Marshalsay, ‘First Steps’ & ‘Key Techniques’
Two tutor books from a Scottish player and teacher

Bill Taylor, ‘Fingernail techniques’, ‘Early Scottish Airs’
An invaluable reference booklet, and a collection of tunes.

Cynthia Cathcart, ‘Pathway’ and ‘From My Music Stand’
A tutor book and an repertory book from an American player and teacher

John Hines, ‘Early Music for the Wire Harp’
Arrangements of medieval tunes.

Abbie Betinis, ‘An Caoineadh’, from ‘Aililiú, ó Íosa’
Score for a modern choral composition including Gaelic harp.

See also the Wire Branch DVD, ‘An Introduction to playing the Wire-strung Harp’
with tunes arranged by Ann Heymann, Javier Sainz and Bill Taylor.