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Spring Strings 2021

Transpennine Harps Spring Strings 2021

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(Or scroll further down to see course info if you've not yet decided what you'd like to do...!)

Poster of a harpist against some daffodils
Poster of a harpist against some daffodils

We are delighted to announce that our online activity continues apace! Join us on March 6th 2021 for another workshop-filled day! Lucy and Tamsin will be leading us through a number of classes loosely based around the theme of 'chords' - from 'what exactly IS a chord?!' for those who are new to music theory to how to actually USE them in your own arrangements.

There will of course also be the opportunity to learn some new pieces (see programme below for more details), and of course, the TPH Common Room will be open for tea and chat throughout the day.


The day will finish with an informal tea concert, where Lucy and Tamsin will be playing a selection of music including their own arrangements and also to showcase some new pieces that have been recently published that YOU TOO can play!

Learning materials...!

All of the sessions will be recorded and the videos of all the sessions will be available to review for FREE to all attendees.

If you would like to view the materials for a course you did not attend in person, these (along with any relevant sheet music) may be purchased as a digital download for £3.50 and will be emailed to you after the weekend.

Using Zoom to access online courses

If you are unfamiliar with Zoom (though we feel like we are all much more tech-savvy than we were a year ago!), 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!

There will be spaces available for private lessons of 30 or 60 minutes with both tutors (£35/hour; £17/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. Bookings open on the 5th of February 2021 , but if you have any questions in the meantime please do get in touch!

The informal tea concert is attendable by donation - if you can give nothing, there is no pressure; if you would like to donate it is very much appreciated. Proceeds go to funding this and future events, and continuing our work in promoting the harp, supporting musicians and providing an afforable and accessible musical education through our classes and workshops over the year.

To book, please visit our booking page, powered by the refreshingly easy-to-use 'Zestival'!

Book places here

If you have any questions, or experience any difficulties in booking, please do just get in touch - you will reach a human and we will do our best to help!


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 March

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 or click on the relevant workshop to take you to a more in-depth description of the class:

Morning timetable:

Afternoon Timetable:

The Classes:
Meet and Greet back to top

The TPH Common Room will open from 9:30 for us all to meet each other, have a chat and generally say hello!

Bring your tea/coffee or even your breakfast (we won't judge!).

Group warm-upsback to top

To get us all going and get those brains and hands in gear, Lucy and Tamsin will lead us through some of their favourite warm-ups.

T1 - Chords 101: a grounding in essential theory (B) back to top

It seems so obvious in some ways (and maybe it is, in which case this is possibly not the class for you!) - we use the word 'chord' all the time. But what exactly, well... IS a chord? What are these 'inversions' we hear about? What are they for? How do you use them?!

If you've ever been baffled by music theory terms concerning chords, worry not! It really isn't as complicated as it can seem (we promise!). Come along to a gentle introduction to what chords are and how they work.

This class can be taken alone, but if you'd like to take class L2 (Lead Sheets Demystified) or T3 (how to USE chords) this is intended also to act as a precursor to make sure everyone's comfortable with the terminology that will be used.

L1 - Arpeggio Revamp (I/A)back to top

The word 'arpeggio' comes from the Italian word 'arpeggiare' which means to 'play harp'. No wonder so much harp music features arpeggios in some shape or other! Arpeggiated chords, arpeggio runs... whatever guise they appear in nobody wants a lumpy arpeggio! Ever wondered how to get them faster? More Even? How DO so many harpists whizz up and down the harp in such a calm manner whilst their fingers work arpeggio shaped musical magic?! In this session we will cover what arpeggios are and go through tips and ways to practise to get them smoother, faster, more controlled and more musical. We will look at some examples of pieces where arpeggios feature and consider how to tackle them to get the best results. If you are ready to revamp your arpeggios in a fun and stylish way then this is the class for you!

T2 - Music from the Middle East (ALL) Nearly full - don't delay! back to top

If you're into the lever harp, chances are you've played a fair amount of traditional music from Celtic countries, but how about trying a piece from a very different musical tradition...?

In this workshop we will be looking at one of the most popular pieces from Middle Eastern culture - a popular traditional song which is a standard of the Oud repertoire.

All players are welcome to this class - the piece will be taught by ear with printed music available.

L2 - Lead Sheets Demystified (I)back to top

Lead sheets are a great way to record the basic skeleton of a piece and normally just feature the melody and chord symbols but where do you begin? How do you know what all those chord letters mean and how do you know what notes to play? In this introduction to lead sheets we will go through a step by step approach on how to work out the chords needed and how to start fitting them to a given melody. Join Lucy to demystify them and open more musical doors!

T3 How to CHOOSE chords and how to USE them... Nearly full - don't delay! (I/A)back to top

So, you have a melody. Or maybe you've written your own. Or perhaps you've got a tune from YouTube stuck in your head and you've got the fingering down. But what about the chords...?!

If you've ever struggled to put chords to your melodies without reference to an existing arrangement then this is the class for you! We'll be building on our knowledge of what chords actually ARE and looking at some guidelines (we hesitate to say 'rules' because there are no /real/ rules...!) to help you choose which chords to use if your unsure, or your ears aren't being cooperative!

We'll be looking at a simple tune and we will work together to discuss possible harmonies (which chords to use) before looking at different ways we might then arrange these chords.

This workshop will be at an intermediate/advanced level but will build on the ideas and knowledge about chords from class T1, so even if you're not confident about your playing you're very welcome to come along and get some ideas for when your technique matches your invention!

L3 - Arpeggios in Action (A) Nearly full - don't delay!back to top

The 18th century classical harpist and composer, Francois-Joseph Naderman's compositions are seen as some of the most important works in harp repertoire. Impressive and beautifully balanced in sound, most of them are bursting with material made of simple arpeggio and scale patterns but don't be deceived! The music is elegant but very much in the sense of, 'Be like a swan, graceful but furiously paddling below the surface'. Taking music from the prelude and 1st movement of the first of his Seven 'Sonates Progressives' we look at how to put together and practise in a way to get the most even and controlled sound possible. If you joined the 'Arpeggio Revamp' class we will be building on techniques explored and seeing those beautiful new arpeggios in action. It is definitely not a pre-requisite to have come to the class though - this is open to anyone (lever and pedal harpists) alike who is up for exploring some beautiful core harp repertoire.

L3 - Informal Tea Concert back to top

Bring your tea, cake (even a glass of wine) and join Lucy and Tamsin for a fun, informal tea concert. They will be sharing their usual wide range of pieces (even some virtual duets!), including some beautiful new pieces that have been recently published that YOU TOO can have a go at!

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