About this course

Discover the enchanting world of the Scottish harp with Ingrid Henderson in our course "Scottish Harp for Beginners" at The Folk Music Academy. Ingrid, a Lochaber-based Clàrsach player from the Highlands of Scotland, brings a wealth of experience and a deep passion for traditional music to this course. Designed for those new to the harp, this course covers essential techniques to help you produce the best sound from your instrument. You'll learn proper hand positions, the correct way to sit at the harp, and the crucial skill of tuning. Each lesson is structured to ensure you build a solid foundation and enjoy your harp-playing journey.

Our course offers a rich blend of tradition and technique. Ingrid will introduce you to beautiful Gallic song melodies. You'll start with basic right-hand treble melodies and progress to incorporating left-hand chords and more complex arrangements. By the end of the course, you'll have a repertoire of charming pieces, including "The Boat Will Come (Thig Am Bata)," "Lullaby - Dream Angus," and "Maol Donaidh (Song for Attracting Seals)." Each melody is taught in a way that is accessible to beginners while still being deeply rooted in Scottish musical traditions.

Join us in this immersive learning experience, where you'll not only master the fundamentals of harp playing but also gain insight into the rich cultural tapestry of Scottish music. Ingrid's expert instruction, combined with our structured course titles like "Posture and Technique", "Chords and Triads", and "Tuning", ensures that you will build a comprehensive skill set. Whether you're warming up with exercises or diving into the hauntingly beautiful "Brighde's Lullaby", this course is designed to keep you engaged and inspired. Embark on your journey with the Scottish harp today and create beautiful, timeless music.

Ingrid is tuning her harp in Eb major, and she will walk you through all the necessary steps to follow along.

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About Ingrid Henderson

Lochaber-based harper, pianist, and presenter Ingrid Henderson is a virtuoso musician with over thirty years of experience. She's performed with Cliar, Glenfinnan Ceilidh Band, and in duos with singer Margaret Stewart and her fiddler husband, Iain MacFarlane. Ingrid teaches UHI’s BA Gaelic and Music course at Sabhal Mòr Ostaig and is the principal harp tutor at the National Centre of Excellence in Traditional Music. She also co-directs Old Laundry Productions, a studio/music production company in Glenfinnan.
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Ingrid  Henderson

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About the Celtic Harp

The clàrsach/cruit/ Scottish/ Irish Harp is an iconic symbol of Gaelic music and heritage, stretching back over a thousand years. Traditionally wire-strung, it was played by professional harpers in courts and castles across Ireland and Scotland, often accompanying poets and singers, and holding a revered place in the musical landscape. The distinct resonant sound and the intricate craftsmanship of the clársach made it a central piece of Gaelic culture, embodying the spirit and storytelling traditions of the Celtic people.

Despite its historical significance, the clársach faced a decline in popularity by the 19th century, overshadowed by newer, more versatile musical instruments. However, the late 20th and early 21st centuries saw a revival of interest in this ancient instrument, fueled by passionate musicians and scholars dedicated to preserving and revitalizing Gaelic musical traditions. This resurgence has been supported by educational initiatives, workshops, and new instrument makers embracing new technologies and creating wire, gut, nylon, and even carbon fiber strung instruments to ensure that harping in all forms is passed down to new generations. Today, the clársach stands as a bridge between the past and present, offering a profound connection to the rich musical heritage of the Gaelic world, and continuing to enchant listeners with its ethereal sound.
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Celtic Harp