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First Tunes for Scottish Harp

For those starting out on this wonderful instrument

The First Tunes for Scottish Harp course is for those players of the Harp who know the basics of the instrument and are ready to play some tunes on it. 

Each lesson begins with a brief discussion on the piece of music and playthrough, before looking closely at the Melody played on the right hand and then the left hand accompaniment.

Downloadable sheet music is available for all tunes.

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Rachel Hair with Harp

Your Tutor - Rachel Hair

Widely regarded as one of the world’s finest exponents of Scottish Harp (clarsach) playing, Rachel is a prominent performer in the Traditional Music scene and having toured extensively throughout Europe, the US and beyond, she has released 5 critically acclaimed albums.

A world renowned soloist and teacher, Rachel has performed and taught at harp festivals in the USA, Japan, Russia, France, Switzerland, Spain, Germany and Scotland. She has published 4 books of harp arrangements and compositions, and her music is currently featured on the syllabuses of both the Trinity College London and RCS Scottish Harp exam syllabuses

Lessons in Course

Click on a lesson to be taken to it (you must be a subscriber)

Rachel Hair with two harps
Harp

1. Thig am bàta

Rachel’s first lesson looks at a haunting hebridean song which translates as “The boat will come”. Be sure to download the Key Signature and Lever Guide as well as the sheet music

Rachel Hair with Harp
Harp

2. Neilston Feis jig

Rachel’s next lesson is one of her own – an upbeat tune based on simple chord shapes she wrote after a Feis she taught at.   This Post is only available to

Rachel Hair with harp
Harp

3. Crodh-laoigh nam Bodach

The next piece Rachel looks at is a lovely gaelic lullaby where she develops the left hand some more.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

Black and white harp player
Harp

4. Tha mi Sgìth (Buain na Ranich)

Rachel next focuses on a Gaelic working song that’s often heard played on the Scottish harp.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

harp strings
Harp

5. Chì mi Muile

Rachel teaches a popular retreat march where she expands on more left hand accompaniment ideas.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

harp
Harp

Triad Exercise

As an added extra to this series, Rachel discusses a simple exercise that will assist in the future lessons.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

Harp strings
Harp

6. Arran Boat Song

The next lesson in Rachel’s course looks at a lovely air that she believes is Scottish, though she knows that some think it is Irish.   This Post is only available to

Rachel Hair with Harp
Harp

7. Fac’ tha nu Féidh

Next up is a jig from the Gaelic mouth music tradition, where Rachel starts to introduce some left hand syncopation.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

Rachel Hair and Harp
Harp

158 Exercise

As another added extra to this series, Rachel discusses open 5th chords, a popular shape for left hand chordal accompaniment.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

Rachel Hair with two harps
Harp

8. Tuireadh Iain Ruaidh

Rachel next teaches a lovely gaelic lament which translates as “Lament for Red Iain” who was nicknamed as such due to his red coloured beard.   This Post is only available to

manuscript
Harp

9. Brochan Lom

This time Rachel moves on to teaching a strathspey, named after that most Scottish of breakfasts, porridge.   This Post is only available to subscribed members. Login

harp
Harp

10. Ruidhle Mo Nighean Donn

In her final lesson in her First Tunes course, Rachel teaches a reel that translates as “The Reel of the Brown Haired Maiden”.   This Post is only available to subscribed members.

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