|A Personal Note from Sylvia Woods
My New Arrangements
I'm proud to announce my two new pop music arrangements:Hallelujah
by Leonard Cohen and Stay with Me
by Sam Smith.
Currently, they're only available as PDFs. The printed sheets should be available in a few weeks.
Enjoy the music!Sylvia
Hallelujah - by Leonard Cohen
Leonard Cohen's popular 1985 song Hallelujah has been recorded over 300 times. It gained a new generation of fans in 2001 when it was featured in the DreamWorks motion picture Shrek.
Sylvia Woods' 6-page arrangement of this classic song can be played by harpists of all levels. The first verse is easy, and each subsequent verse gets a bit more advanced. Beginners can play the first 1 or 2 verses, and more advanced players can continue on to the later verses. There are a total of 4 verses, and you may also repeat any verses that you'd like.
The music is in the key of C with chords, lyrics and fingerings. No lever changes are required.
The range needed for verses 1 to 3 are 20 strings, from a G up to an E. If you have a small harp with less than about 30 strings, you'll need to play the music an octave higher than written. Verse 4 requires an extra octave, with 27 strings from G up to E. The very last note also goes down to a lower C, but this can be left out if necessary.
p5585 - Hallelujah PDF - $7.95
Stay with Me - by Sam Smith
English recording artist Sam Smith's Stay with Me won 2015 Grammy Awards for Song of the Year and Record of the Year. This PDF includes Sylvia Woods' 4-page intermediate harp arrangement of this award-winning song about a one-night stand. The music is in the key of C, with chords, lyrics, and fingerings included. There are three relatively easy G# lever changes within the music. If you do not have sharping levers on your harp, or you do not want to make these lever changes, you may leave them out.
The range needed is 24 strings from C up to E. If you have a small harp that does not have 2 octaves below middle C, you'll play the music an octave higher than written.
p5586 - Stay with Me PDF - $7.95
|Victor Salvi (1920-2015)
I am very saddened to announce that we have lost one of the most dedicated and influential proponents of the harp, Victor Salvi. No matter what type of harp we play, we all owe this amazing man a debt of gratitude for all he has done for us. He will be greatly missed, but his legacy will live on.Click here for Victor Salvi's obituary from the New York Times
Photo courtesy of Salvi Harps.
| Charles Guard
This is the 11th installment highlighting the composers and arrangers whose music is available through harpcenter.com. This month we're featuring Charles Guard. His "Avenging and Bright" LP was one of the very first products I sold in my catalog . . . many years ago . . . (as you can tell from the word LP.) In later years, I sold it as a CD. This wonderful recording is out of print, but you can download the mp3 files through Amazon.com.
Here's what Charles has to say about himself.
I'm a Manxman! An unusual word but it means I come from a small island right in the middle of the British Isles, mid-way between Ireland and England called the Isle of Man. We are an independent country (though very small) with our own Gaelic language, independent parliament and cultural identity. It was when I left the Island to study at the Royal College of Music in London that I really started to look at the music of my native Island (I was homesick!) and discovered that there was a wealth of traditional material. Although I was studying the organ at the College I decided to take up the Irish harp as it was an ideal instrument for accompanying folk songs.
Initially I taught myself but I ended up, in 1973, going to live in Ireland to study the harp with one of Ireland's most respected players, Gráinne Yeats, daughter-in-law of the poet W B Yeats.
I earned my living in those years teaching and playing the harp for Georgian-style banquets in one of the great Irish houses, Castletown House. Dressed in a tail coat, knickerbockers and lace cuffs I played for the (mostly American) audience who came for the banquets. My time in Ireland was great fun and I made many friends. I was playing the harp all the time with other musicians, and I eventually recorded my own LP (as they were in those days) for Claddagh Records called Avenging and Bright. The owner of the company, an eccentric Guinness millionaire called Garech a Brún, asked me to join a Scottish folk group called The Whistlebinkies and for a time I commuted between Dublin and Glasgow and appeared on their first LP. It was during this time that I started researching the Irish wire-strung harp techniques that date back to Mediaeval times. By this time my harp maker was Jan Muylleart who was based in Navan, west of Dublin. Having built me a fine gut-strung harp Jan researched the construction techniques of the 18th century wire-strung harps and he eventually produced a superb instrument, though it took some time to find the right brass wire to string it with. I found that my fingernails weren't strong enough when they were grown long, and so I had to use stick-on nails, which caused some puzzlement in the local pharmacy when I went to buy them; the assistant was dying to ask what I wanted them for but I didn't let on and left it to her imagination.
Eventually I decided to return to live on the Island and I took up a position with the local radio station Manx Radio becoming News Editor and presenter of a daily current affairs programme, though I still found time to produce a small book of Manx tunes arranged for the Irish harp.
Since leaving Manx Radio in 1990 I have been writing music for television, playing the harp occasionally, making my own films and documentaries, recording CDs and publishing books. I have always been fascinated by the Isle of Man's history and I have produced many documentaries about all aspects of Manx life, though I have made programmes about other areas as well. Filming from helicopters has been great fun and a few years ago I made a film called London from the Air, which was a fascinating project. But filming the Isle of Man is the best thing to be doing. Follow this link for a short aerial tour I did of the Island using my music - and there's some harp in there somewhere!
Concerning our history, which goes back some nine thousand years, here's a section from my latest video called The Castles and Forts of the Isle of Man where I visit the remains of a Bronze Age (2,500 years ago) hill fort on the Island and try to work out what it originally looked like. I write all the music for my films using sampled instruments (full orchestras are so expensive) and real instruments and players where possible. I still play the harp whenever possible and the instrument has brought me some of the best times of my life.
-- Charles Guard
|PDFs of Manx Music ON SALE
To get the 15% discount on the following PDFs of music from the Isle of Man
by Charles Guard and Rachel Hair, enter the code word manx
in the Promo Code box on your shopping cart page
and click "Enter Code" by June 30, 2015
For more information, see the "Save 15%" section below.
|Some of the pieces from Charles Guard's
Manx Music book
are also available as individual PDFs.
Another Manx Article by Charles Guard
While emailing with Charles Guard
to get ready for this newsletter, I realized that over 20 years ago I had asked him to write an article for my printed newsletter called the "Harp Lover's News." He's now agreed to let me reprint the article here, and even sent me some new photos taken by John Keggin. So, here's a "blast from the past."
Thanks so much, Charles, for coming through every time I ask you for a favor!
The Isle of Man: The Secret Island
by Charles Guard
November 1993 - The Harp Lover's News, Volume 1, Issue 2
Many people have probably never heard of the Isle of Man. Those who have (most likely keen motorcycle fans) may only know it for the annual TT races that attract over 20,000 bikes and many more fans to watch the fastest road racing in the world. But there's a lot more to the Isle of Man than motorcycles!
It is, in fact, an ancient Celtic kingdom which sits in the middle of the Irish Sea, at the centre of the British Isles midway between England and Ireland. It has its own Parliament which has operated continuously for over a thousand years, and which makes its own laws and levies its own taxes for the Island (at a much lower rate than nearby Britain!).
Its people are a mixture of Celtic and Viking with a strong influence from England in more recent centuries. Culturally, the Celtic tradition shines through, and the ancient language of the Island, which is still spoken, is Manx Gaelic, a branch of Scottish and Irish Gaelic. The music and folklore too, have their roots in the Gaelic tradition. The great Celtic saints such as Patrick, Columba, and Bridget are celebrated in Island songs and stories, and many ancient chapels and wells are dedicated to their memory.
The island is perhaps one of the most beautiful places in Europe. This ancient kingdom has remained unspoilt by modern development, and still retains its windswept moorlands, remote mountains, and rocky coasts where seals play, showing much interest in those who walk the sandy beaches.
It is a land of legend, and like the surrounding Celtic countries of Ireland and Scotland, it has a rich tradition of music and folklore. Hundreds of tunes were collected at the turn of the century from the few remaining traditional singers. There is no written
record of the Celtic harp ever having been regularly used on the Island but there are references to it in passing, such as a carving of a harp-like instrument on a tenth century stone cross, and the placename Glen Crutchery
, or The Harper's Glen
, which suggests that harpers were known on the Island in ancient times.
The bulk of the Manx songs and dances were collected during the latter part of the nineteenth century, although a few more curious ballads were known in collections before then. The Island was not immune from the Victorian desire to collect, and sometimes to "improve" or romanticize the rural cultures, and collections of Manx music appeared in the 1890's with accompaniments and new poetry to replace the traditional words. However, it has to be recognized that without the efforts of these early collectors a huge part of the Island's music would have been lost forever as the pressures of an increased English influence and the opening up of the Island as a tourist destination disrupted the pattern of rural Island life forever.
The Isle of Man is referred to in the early Irish sagas as Ellan Sheant
, or The Holy Island
, and one American scholar has recently claimed that Peel Castle is the last resting place of the legendary King Arthur from the Dark Ages. But the Island was first settled thousands of years ago. After the last ice age, early man made his way up towards northern Europe, eventually arriving at the Isle of Man. Here they lived as hunter-gatherers, and today archaeologists are unearthing the remains of the first settlers.
It was the Neolithic people who left the most lasting remains from pre-history. They built stone circles, hut circles and passage graves. The haunting remains of these mysterious buildings - which have remained undisturbed for over three thousand years - are a striking feature of the Manx landscape. Like Ireland and Scotland, the Isle of Man was later settled by Celtic peoples, and they left their mark as well. Despite Christianization and later domination by the Vikings, the Island's Celtic ancestry has left the most lasting impression. The ancient Celtic language, Manx Gaelic, is still spoken and can be understood by speakers of Scots or Irish Gaelic. Like its language, the Island's music and folklore shares common roots with the surrounding Celtic countries.
I refer to the Isle of Man as The Secret Island because locked in its hills and dark glens are many secrets from the ancient times, and some of its legends and stories and half-remembered poems hint at the ancient wisdom and secret learning that was once sought by those who visited our shores.
Photos by John Keggan
#1. Lighthouses on the Calf of Man
#2. Sea Kayaking
#3. Cregneash heritage village
#4. Looking west with the Mountains of Mourne on the Irish coast in the distance
#5. West coast looking south
#6. Sunset over Port Erin
|Our newsletter promo codes are only redeemable on-line, and can only be used for the products featured in the sale section of this newsletter. They are not valid for phone, fax, e-mail, or in-store orders. This month's code word is manx and it is good for 15% off PDFs of music from the Isle of Man.
Here's how to get your newsletter discount at harpcenter.com:
#1. Put the items you want to purchase in your cart.
#2. On the page where you view the items in your cart, type this month's code word manx in the "Promo Code" box, and click on "Enter Code."
The actual price of the featured sale products on this page will then automatically change to reflect the discount. You'll also see a note below the Promo Code box saying the name of the promo code you entered, and the percentage amount of the discount.
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