Festival 2020

Transpennine Harps Festival 2020!

Festival Bookings update: We have had an INCREDIBLE response to this festival and we are so gladdened and grateful for all the interest and support! However, it does also mean that every single one of our workshops is now fully booked, so we're afraid that bookings are now closed!

We are hoping very much to run similar events in the future, so if you have missed out this time, please don't worry, there will be other opportunities! We also welcome your ideas for workshops/ideas that you would like to see featured next time.

So, happy harping from all the festival team, and please excuse us now whilst we finish the preparations!

Join us for our first ever (online) Transpennine Harps Festival weekend! There will be a wide variety of workshops as well as the opportunity to meet and chat with other harp enthusiasts...!

All workshops will be held using Zoom and the relevant links will be sent out to participants in good time for the classes.

All of the sessions will be recorded so you can reveiw them later (they will be online for a period of six months during which you will be able to download them to keep should you wish), and there will be handouts and printed music with each class for you to download and keep.

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom, never fear - you don't need any special equipment other than a laptop/phone/tablet and a reasonable internet connection. It is very simple to use and we are available for any troubleshooting!

Download Zoom for free here!

Our tutors Lucy Nolan and Tamsin Dearnley will be leading a dazzling array of workshops over this two-day exploratory feast of the possibilities of the harp. With their incredibly diverse backgrounds, let them take you through music both old and new, from near and far, melodic and rhythmic - and with the possibility of creating your very own silent film score...!

There will be spaces available for private lessons of 30 or 60 minutes with both tutors (£35/hour; £17.50/half-hour) - please contact them to book a slot and let them know what you'd like to work on so that they can prepare materials in advance.

Cost and how to book:

Each workshop will cost Clarsach Society members £5 (or the equivalent in your local currency) and non-members £7. The exception to this is the 'Create your own Harpscape' class which is £10 (£14 for non-members) and includes a follow up/feedback session (see course info for details).

There will be a livestream concert/ Q & A session on the Saturday evening with the tutors which is attendable for a donation of £1 (or more, if you're feeling generous - we do very much appreciate any support!) into the virtual hat.

Book concert / Q & A tickets

To book, please contact us and let us know which classes/events you would like to book for (T1, L2 etc). You will then receive an email with a PayPal link. Once your payment is confirmed, we will send you the appropriate zoom links closer to the date. It would be very helpful if you would provide us with a phone number when booking (this will not be kept after the event) so that we can get in touch quickly in the (hopefully unlikely!) event of any technical issues before or during the workshops.

Please note that the evening concert is bookable through Eventbrite - please click on the link in the course description for tickets to this!

If you do not have a PayPal account, this is not a problem - we are happy to send you an invoice with bank transfer details or even an address where you may send a cheque!

If you have any questions at all, or experience any issues, PLEASE do just drop us a line. You will reach a human and we will do our best to resolve any problems as quickly as possible!

Email us to book workshop tickets


You can view and download a quick-view timetable of the weekend here:

Open quickview timetable

For more information on the exact content of each course, please look at the links below.

If you have any questions at all about the content of the workshops, please do not hesitate to contact the relevant tutor: Lucy Nolan or Tamsin Dearnley.

Saturday 7th November

Level indicator (but please do read the descriptions or contact us for more detailed information if you are unsure whether a class is suitable for your level or not - most things are adaptable!

B = Beginners/Post-beginners

I = Intermediates

A = Advanced

ALL = All playing levels welcome

Please tap the relevant workshop to take you to a more in-depth description of the class:

Morning timetable:

Afternoon Timetable:

Sunday 8th November

Morning timetable:

Afternoon timetable:

Follow-up/Feedback for 'Create your own Harpscape' on Sunday the 29th November at 2pm

The Classes:
T1 - (Re)-start the harp!back to top

Maybe you've had a harp for a while and never /quite/ got around to having some lessons; maybe you've been playing for a while but taken a break; maybe you simply can't get to a tutor...

In this workshop we will have a refresher of the basics of good hand position and placing whilst learning a very pretty (but simple) melody.

This workshop is aimed at beginners and 'post-beginners', although early intermediates who like a slower pace are also very welcome to come along as well - there will be a left hand part as well for those who are not necessarily beginnners but would like a nice new tune!

L1 - Finger Twisters - FULLY BOOKED!back to top

Strengthening your fingers and developing good technique is integral for making the best sound possible..but the good news is it doesn't have to be laborious! Join Lucy for some finger twisting challenges to test just how much control you really have! Suitable for all levels and all ages. As well as recapping the principles of good technique, participants will all get a handout and be guided through enough finger challenges to give your harp warm ups some 'pizzazz' for months!

T2 - Music 'a` la Mode' back to top

You've heard the terms so many times: modes, scales, relative major, harmonic minor... but what /exactly/ do they mean? And how do they work?! Why do we set the levers the way we do? And how does any of this relate to the music we want to play...?!

If you've tried to glean the answers to any of the questions above and given up in despair, this course is for you! You are definitely not the only one. Hopefully, what you will find is that there are just a lot of new words for concepts you already know, or that your ears understand.

It's not at all /necessary/ to have a deep knowledge of music theory in order to play the harp. But sometimes it can just be really interesting to know WHY something sounds the way it does...!

L2 - Delve into Classical music (PT 1): A Taste of Classical - FULLY BOOKED!back to top

Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart is hailed as one of the most influential composers in classical music so why shouldn't we enjoy more of his music on our wonderful harps?! Mozart's melodies are beautiful yet memorable so come along and learn a brand new harp arrangement of one of his best and most well-known, the first movement of Eine Kleine Nachtmusik (commonly referred to as A little Night Music).

HS1 - Harp Surgery back to top

If you have any problems that you'd like to troubleshoot, or any questions that you'd like to ask, bring them to this group 'Harp Surgery', where both tutors will be on hand to offer ideas and advice!

T3 - Be a rhythm BOSS! PT 1 - FULLY BOOKED!back to top

Come and try your hand at some simple polyrhythms! Using a simple Paraguayan melody, this class will focus on getting to grips with that 3 against 2 rhythm so beloved of the Latin Americans once and for all!

L3 - The Harp Unleashed 1 - an introduction to extended techniques and harp notation (ALL)back to top

We've all heard the anecdotes of the harp being the instrument of angels' but as well as creating beautiful melodies, with so many strings and different parts there are many many more sounds to explore! We will look at different extended techniques possible and the notation used for them - you may even come up with some new ones of your own! All participants will receive a glossary handout summarising the sounds covered and how to recognise them in your music. For those that fall in love with these sonic explorations, there is a further chance to use these in creating your own harp film score!

Attendees of this workshop are welcome to create and submit a film soundtrack and join the feedback session on the 29th of November for an additional £5, though this is of course not obligatory!

T4 - Be a rhythm BOSS PT 2 - FULLY BOOKED!back to top

Already comfortable with playing 2 against 3? How about 3 against 4? Or even 4 against 5...?

In this workshop we will look at some more complex polyrhythms and we will also learn a piece using at least one of them...!

L4 - The harp unleashed 2! (I/A)back to top

Building on our exploration of extended techniques in the previous session, we will learn an exciting new piece that incorporates extended techniques - get ready to unleash your creative side as you realise your harp's sonic potential! For those that fall in love with these sound explorations, there is a further chance to use these in creating your own harp film score!

C1 - Livestream concert/Q & A session back to top

Join Lucy and Tamsin for a relaxed evening performance and Q & A session - this is your chance to ask a harpist that question you've always wanted to know the answer to...! (And yes, we do occasionally swear, and no, we don't all have long hair - that's just a coincidence!)

Book concert / Q & A tickets

T5 - Magical Memory Tricks back to top

If the idea of 'hiding the dots' makes you nervous, this is the class for you! Using a simple piece as an example (so you DO get a new tune to practise the techniques on!), Tamsin will sharing her methods of leaning and committing music to memory. Like everything, it takes practice, but it's not as hard as you fear!

L5 - St Kilda Inspiration (intermediate to advanced) - FULLY BOOKED!back to top

In the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, 41 miles west of the Outer Hebrides, lie the mysterious islands and cliffs of St Kilda. Prior to the evacuation of residents in 1930, the largest island (Hirta) was inhabited for thousands of years with islanders forced to rely mainly on materials from seabirds to survive the harsh conditions. Since being lucky enough to visit, Lucy became interested in the songs from the island as they offered a first hand insight into such a different way of life. Join her for a magical hour learning arrangements of music from this fascinating island.

T6 - Create your own Harpscape! back to top

Want to try something completely different? In this workshop we will look at the basics of how to record sound into your computer and how to use digital effects to make it sound as weird as you like!

The eventual goal is to make a soundtrack/score to one of the short films shown below.

No special equipment is required other than a computer with a microphone (either an external one or whatever comes built-in is just fine), OR a phone with a record function and the ability to get the audio files from your phone onto your computer.

This workshop will use the FREE (yay!) software 'Audacity' which can be downloaded by clicking the link below.

Download Audacity for free here

You are welcome to use another DAW (digital audio workstation) of you have one, but Tamsin will be teaching using Audacity and cannot guarantee familiarity with all other possibilities! (If you happen to have Logic that's fine - she's very familiar with this one!).

No previous knowledge of recording and/or sound processing is required, but it would /greatly help/ if you check that your microphone is working (look in your computer's 'settings' options) and make sure to download the software in advance (and open it to check it's ok) before the class starts!

Your choice of short films to score - or you can make your own! (There is a YouTube playlist if you click the button in the top right corner of the video):
L6 - Classical PT 2: A Night at the Opera (I/A) back to top

Giacomo Puccini's well known aria, O mio Babbino caro, is known for its glorious heart-wrenching melody which translates beautifully onto the harp.

ST1 - Show and tell! back to top

An opportunity to get together with everyone who's been attending the festival and discuss what you've learned. Those that would like to will have the opportunity to play everyone a piece from the weekend in a supportive atmosphere!

This session is FREE for all festival attendees - everyone will receive the link closer to the event.

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