Festival 2021

6-7th November 2021!

Festival Bookings update: Thank you so much to all who have booked for this Festival - we are so happy about the incredibly positive response we have had!

However, to ensure everyone case receive all the relevant information in time, bookings for all courses are now CLOSED (concert places may still be booked).

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!

Huge thanks to our talented member Joan Dearnley for the wonderful fireworks drawings - we're sure you'll agree they look absolutely fantastic!

Cost and how to book:

Each workshop will cost £5 (or the equivalent in your local currency).

There will be a by-donation livestream concert/ Q & A session on the Saturday evening with the tutors.

We will be using the beautifully straightforward booking system 'Zestival' (if you came to our 'Spring Strings' event you will be familiar with this - if not, we promise it's super easy to use!). 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.



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 6th 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 7th November

Morning timetable:

Afternoon timetable:

The Classes:
9:15 - 10:00: MG1 - Meet & Greet (ALL)back to top

You asked, we listened! We were SO intent on jumping straight in last year that we realise we didn't give everyone enough time to get to know each other.

The morning 'Meet & Greet' sessions are a time for us to introduce ourselves, say hello to old friends, and generally enjoy each other's company before the classes begin. (If you're not a morning person, don't worry - attendance is not obligatory!)

10:00 - 11:00 T1 - Left Hand Arranging (B) back to top

So, you've just started the harp (or maybe you've been learning for a while but you're not super confident) and you've got a nice tune you can play. But... what about an accompaniment?!

It is pretty easy these days to find either sheet music for a particular tune, or to pick something out by ear using a YouTube video. But so often it can be hard to find an arrangement that suits you exactly - maybe it's for a bigger harp, or maybe it's just got too many notes, or maybe you just don't like the versions you find out there...!

In this workshop we'll be looking at how to go from 'tune' to 'arrangement', using some simple techniques that can be elaborated on as you progress. Remember, more isn't always more - the simplest of arrangements can often be the most beautiful!

We'll be learning a short tune by ear (though printed music will be provided) and then going through it and discussing how we might add a simple accompanying part.

This course is for beginners or those who simply lack the confidence to try their own arranging - remember, there ARE no 'wrong notes' if you've written the arrangement yourself!

10:00 - 11:00 L1 - Finger Twisters (take 2!) (ALL) back to top

Due to the sellout success of our Finger Twisters class last year, Finger Twisters returns, bolder and with even more finger twisting challenges. Short snappy exercises that focus on developing and improving techniques we are likely to have to use in pieces, this class is designed for anyone and everyone who would like to revamp their harp technique so they can play with more control and more confidence and flair. All participants will receive a handout of challenges covered which should be enough to spice up your warm ups for weeks to come.

11:15 - 12:15 T2 - How to make a (good) harp video (ALL) back to top

Whether you're wanting to be the next YouTube sensation, take an exam, or just show your friends and family what you've been learning, there are some very simple tricks you can learn to make your videos better!

No special equipment is required (we will be discussing things you might like to get, depending on your budget). We will be having a look at some of the basics of video editing using some free software, as well as tips on microphones, lighting and how-not-to-panic-when-you-need-20s-takes (relax, it's normal!).

PLEASE NOTE that due to the short time available and the variety of platforms/operating systems attendees will be using, this session will not be a tutorial on how to use a particular piece of software - there will be general instructions that apply to all types of film editing programmes that you can try out later on whatever you're most familiar with, and Tamsin will do her best to answer questions!

11:15 - 12:15 L2 - An English jaunt (I) back to top

Here at Transpennine we have had the joy of exploring many folk songs from the rich Scottish and Irish heritage over the last year but we less commonly turn to the riches offered by composers from England's 'green and pleasant land'. Join Lucy to investigate what those 'English folk' had to offer in arrangements of English folk music for harp.

13:30 - 14:30 X1 - How not to break your harp...! A talk by Mark Sharp, head of production at Teifi Harpsback to top

There is nothing (at least, we've not found anything) that this man does not know about harps, how to make them and how to maintain them! Whether you're new to the harp or a seasoned player, we're sure you'll learn something new about how to care for your beloved instrument.

15:00 - 16:00 T3 - A Japanese Adventure (I) FULLY BOOKEDback to top

From the Pennines to Mt Fuji - come with Tamsin on a journey to Japan to learn about some of the traditional music of this fascinating culture, and how to play one or two (depending on time!) of their most popular folk tunes on your harp.

15:00 - 16:00 L3 - Practice makes perfect...? (B) back to top

Where to begin and how to structure that all important practice time. We've all heard of the importance of practice. Whilst there is no such thing as perfection, especially not in music there are definitely ways to approach a piece at the beginning that make all those dots and lines on the page seem slightly less daunting and makes our practice seem more manageable and most importantly more enjoyable and productive! If you are new to the harp or need some top tips to structure your practice sessions this is the class for you!

16:00 - 16:30 MG2 - Tea + Harps + Chatback to top

Take a break from learning and come join us in the virtual common room for a cuppa, a piece of cake (sorry, you'll have to bring your own!) and a relaxed and sociable chat with everyone!

17:30 - 19:00 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...! (do we have tattoos? Know how to climb a rope upside down? Have a secret love of Neon lighting?!)

9:30 - 10:00 MG3- Meet & Greet back to top

Join us all with your morning coffee (even bring your breakfast if you like, we won't judge!) to say hello before classes begin!

10:00 - 11:00 T4 - Bring Bach my Harp! (A) back to top

Bach is one of those composers whose music is, sadly, notoriously fiendish to play on the lever harp. But there is slightly easier repertoire available to us from a slightly unlikely source - his famous Cello Suite in G.

You might think that, only consisting of one line that these pieces might sound 'thin' on the harp - but not a bit of it! In fact, the resonance of the harp only serves to enhance the harmony of these masterfully constructed studies which are incredibly rewarding to play.

In this advanced workshop we'll be taking a look at how to tackle the first and most well-known of Bach's Cello Suites in G - the Prelude. We'll examine its structure and discuss different ways of approaching the piece, looking at the fingering in particularly tricky sections, and how (and where) to fit in the lever changes!

10:00 - 11:00 L4 - Cantiga Artistry (I) back to top

Pre-dating any of the Western World's current notation practices, the medieval songs composed in 13th century Spain known as 'cantigas' have intrigued music historians for years with their hidden subtleties in their texts and elusive notation. Go on a journey to discover the history of this ancient music style and learn new music arranged for harp inspired by their artistry.

11:15 - 12:15 T5 - Join our Vitual Ensemble (ALL) back to top

You've seen them going round the internet at least a million times over lockdown - choirs, orchestras, even sea shanties! Whether you're an old hand at internet videos or whether you've always wanted to partake but didn't know where to start, DO join us to take part in our virtual ensemble!

We will be looking at a tune specially commissioned by Transpennine Harps last year to celebrate managing to stay together as a group over lockdown. (This piece is also playable as a solo so you'll get a new tune as well!)

We'll being by learning the piece (there are parts for ALL levels, even absolute beginners) and then we'll go step-by-step through the process of recording/videoing your part (no special equipment required - you will need headphones when recording, but not necessarily for the class) so you can send it to Tamsin to edit together into a virtual harp choir!

11:15 - 12:15 L5 South Indian Explorations (ALl) back to top

South Indian (Carnatic) music revolves around the voice and even instruments are intended to be played in a singing style. Despite having a strong improvisation tradition, typically it is taught through compositions (kriti) so what better way to begin exploring this rich musical style on our harps than through learning a beautiful Carnatic composition?! Lucy has spent years collaborating with the Carnatic singer, Supriya Nagarajan, with performances ranging from the Royal Albert Hall to Jaipur Literature Festival to for the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace. Join her to learn about the basics of Carnatic music and discover an arrangement of a traditional South Indian composition all about the moon.

13:30 - 14:30 MG4 Show and Tell! (ALL) 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.