Catriona’s Jig

Intermediate to advanced

Maeve Gilchrist’s Celtic-inspired original composition Catriona’s Jig is for solo lever or pedal harp. With this arrangement Maeve also provides some alternative arrangement and ostinato-based ideas for you to make the piece your own.

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Fin and Sarah’s Wedding Waltz

Intermediate to advanced

Maeve Gilchrist’s original composition Fin and Sarah’s Wedding Waltz is for solo lever or pedal harp. It’s written in a “light and easy, dreamlike” jazz waltz style with some quick double lever changes. A great piece to explore the harmonic possibilities of a lever harp.

Visit Maeve Gilchrist’s studio at Harp Column Academy for her tips on how to play Fin and Sarah’s Wedding Waltz.

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Parking Spot

Intermediate to advanced

From Traditional tune arrangements and original compositions for the lever harp Book 1

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Rhythm and Hand Separation

My interest in rhythm explorations and hand separation has evolved organically through my love of texture, soundscape and my insatiable appetite for collaboration. I hope you enjoy this selection of exercises and études and that it inspires and helps you in your own journey to realising your musical potential.

I hope this book will be a gentle guide to encourage harpists into the greater world of rhythmic possibilities and hand separation. I’d like to emphasise the point that a solid sense of time and greater rhythmic understanding doesn’t mean more complex and syncopated material. More and more, I find myself wanting to play less but play what I do play more accurately and (most importantly) beautifully! I say this so that the beginning student will not be put off by some of the more complex etudes and examples. All of this material can be scaled down to the fundamentals and should be taken and understood at whatever pace is right for the student. A student might play the first page of ostinato-based exercises for a year at a very slow tempo. If they play the material with accuracy and understanding then that is a great accomplishment. For those with greater technical skills or experience with sophisticated rhythms, don’t let the end of this book be the end of your explorations.

For every étude you master, create your own. Turn it inside out, make something cooler! You are your own best teacher. As players of a marginalised instrument in contemporary music it is our collective job to push its boundaries and create music that illuminates the harp as a 21st century instrument. Whether that involves simply understanding and supporting the possibilities or bringing them alive, I hope this book is a help along the way.

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The Calm

Intermediate

I wrote this piece as part of a larger commission by Music Generation Laois, in Ireland, for a group of 37 harpers. The composition was called ‘White Horses’ and dedicated to the feminine strength of the young harpers in the orchestra in an analogy with the fluid yet powerful waves that crashed on the shore of the beach in Portobello where I grew up. I’ve always loved being on or near the ocean and this tune tries to embody that transitory state of blissful stillness that can come upon the water every now and then. Face upturned to the sun, cares left on the shore, glass of chilled Sancerre in hand: a little moment of calm.

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The Harpweaver

Intermediate to advanced

My first impression of this poem, from the 1923 Pulitzer-award-winning collection by the American poet Edna St Vincent Millay, was not of a tale of bleak circumstance but of the power of maternal love and the symbiotic relationship between instrument and player. I always loved hearing old-timers in New York referring to the ‘old’ and the ‘new’ worlds. It seems related somehow to this project which deals in the nostalgia I feel is inherent to traditional Irish and Scottish music and reflects my gratitude to my harp. It calls to mind old music-hall melodies, memories that won’t dissipate, the spell-binding recitation of a beautiful woman … In essence, this tangle of words and notes is my sonic postcard home, as I stand, like so many migrant musicians before me, on the bank of the Hudson and look East.

This collection of arrangements and transcriptions from the album is designed to launch you into the greater world of music and deepen your connection to our wonderful instrument. Go slowly, unveiling harmonic progressions, tuning into the rhythmic engine behind each piece, and use them as a jump-start for your own variations and explorations. I hold no claims to the exact rendering of these pieces as I wouldn’t dream of playing them the same way twice. Enjoy, learn and move forward in honing your own voice as a weaver of beautiful things.

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the lighter touch

Behind every physical movement is artistic intent:
this is the philosophy of Maeve Gilchrist’s new book, the lighter touch: a musically motivated guide to more effortless harp technique. Drawing upon technical ideas from both traditional and non-traditional harping styles, Maeve delves into a world of practice and thought designed to help evolve your harp technique regardless of skill level or genre.
Particularly focused on a supported method of playing, Maeve encourages a constant awareness of weight, balance, breath and groundedness to help the student push themselves artistically, while avoiding injury and physical or mental stress.
Divided into four main sections; Linear (scale-based), Shape work (arpeggios), Speed work and Independent fingers, Maeve will guide you through a series of exercises, études and ideas for further exploration, while reinforcing the idea of being as one with your instrument. By working patiently and consistently on the material in this book, you will be taking steps towards a more effortless harp technique and with any luck, a lighter touch!

“Maeve Gilchrist is a brilliant and innovative artist, composer, and educator. I have witnessed firsthand the amazing results of ‘The Lighter Touch’ as she was developing and teaching this method at Berklee College of Music. Maeve opens up the world of groove, accompaniment, arranging, and collaboration – all within the context of playing more ergonomically, with great expression. Recommended on the basis of real results!”
David Wallace, Chair of the Berklee String Department

“Harp players of all ages and stages, whether they play for love of the music or have made it their profession, will find thought provoking and inspiring advice in this book. With original ideas and practical examples at the turn of every page, is the ideal harper’s life time companion.”
Isobel Mieras MBE, Artistic Director of the Edinburgh International Harp Festival

“You can take it as given that any workshop at Somerset [Harp Festival] that Maeve teaches is going to be packed with harpers who know that they’re about to get those nuggets of harp technique and music essentials that Maeve will distill and dispense with the most digestible, accessible and clear manner that empowers them to play and feel accomplished. By carefully crafting the workshop she challenges and encourages the player while building their ability and confidence. She’s an incredible teacher and inspiring performer.”
Kathy DeAngelo, Director of the Somerset Folk Harp Festival

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Traditional tune arrangements and original compositions for the lever harp Book 1

Intermediate to advanced

This book of traditional tune arrangements and original compositions for the lever harp has been in the works for many years now. Through my time as a faculty member at Berklee, as a workshop instructor at various folk music summer camps and my monthly online workshop Harp Talk, I’ve been using arrangements of traditional material and my own tunes as vehicles to further investigate our wonderful instrument, the lever harp. I’m a firm believer in wanting to learn and by incorporating technical exercises, along with rhythm and musicality focus into our work on these melodies, we can take on satisfying repertoire while strengthening our general musicianship and becoming more skilful harp players.

The music in this book is for the intermediate through advanced player and gets a little trickier as you move through the book. I encourage you to jump in and thoroughly immerse yourself in each piece, becoming familiar and comfortable with its own particular challenges before moving on. Isolate sections, create loops, transpose, create new left hand patterns to fully utilise your own imagination as you progress.

After all – no one is a better teacher than you. Enjoy!

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Traditional tune arrangements and original compositions for the lever harp Book 2

Lever Harp

Here it is folks, my second volume of original tunes and traditional tune arrangements for the Celtic Harp. It’s a hodge-podge mix of tunes that have come my way or come from me that I thought would be interesting vehicles for arrangement ideas, technical exploration or simply fun to play! Throughout the book I’ve woven in technical exercises, stylistic suggestions and lots of ideas for musical interpretation. These facets are as important, if not more, then simply learning the dots on the page! Similar to the last edition, these pieces run from lower-intermediate to more advanced as we move through the book. If you’re a more elementary player, don’t be put off! If you’d like to learn a piece, simply deconstruct it until it’s manageable for you and then build up the arrangement slowly and steadily. For the more advanced students, use the simpler pieces as a way to work on your own melodic variations, ornamentation, speed-playing, reharmonization etc. There are so many valuable lessons to learn when you become your own teacher.

My incentive to approach the arranging process in this pedagogical way is due in part to my wonderful students and the rich online harping community that has been formed through my web-workshop series Harp Talk. Each lesson gives me much food for thought and helps me deconstruct my own playing in a more intentional way. Knowledge is power and I’d encourage you to utilize these arrangements to further your theoretical, rhythmic, interpretive and technical skills. This set of tunes should simply be the starting place for your own journey into this material. The ability to make spontaneous musical decisions and let the music guide is a joyous, liberating way to make music, but it can only happen when we develop all sides of our musical self.

So: thumbs up, fingers down and be sure to remember to breathe! Enjoy the music!

Love,

Maeve x

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Yellow Birds

Intermediate to advanced

Maeve Gilchrist’s original composition Yellow Birds is taken from the suite The Ostinato Project, and can be played on lever or pedal harp. Alternating from a sprightly 6/8 to 9/8 meter, the piece evokes “starlings in the sky.”

$13.95
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