New Series of Books by Katy Bustard

I am delighted to announce the publication of my series of books, designed to lead the harp player from beginner to advanced in Irish traditional music for harp. The series is designed to support both pupils and teachers in developing a stylish and authentic repertoire of Irish traditional music on harp.

Although I teach my pupils using the traditional aural method, I recognise the need to develop musical literacy alongside learning by ear; thus enabling the learner to become a more independent musician. This is particularly important for harp as much of the original Irish harp repertoire is contained within collections of music such as the Bunting collection. Without the ability to read music, one is disadvantaged in accessing the original music scores. It is my hope that these books will help support both teachers and pupils on their adventures with the Irish harp.

Volume 1: Traditional Irish Music for Small Harps: Arrangements for 20 and 26 strings

Many of my beginner pupils start on small harps. It is for this reason that Volume 1 is written specifically for small harps. At Causeway Harp School, I run hugely popular and successful harp classes for both children and adults on small harps, and this volume contains my arrangements of the tunes I teach in my classes (and to my beginner individual pupils). I have carefully selected tunes that my pupils thoroughly enjoy playing and that sound fabulous on the small harp.

As it can sometimes be tricky catering for small harps with different numbers of strings, I have included arrangements for both 20 and 26 string harps. The 26 string arrangements also contain some simple forms of ornamentation, which is required for grade 3 in Irish traditional harp. Each tune in this volume is arranged in the key of G, so it is not necessary to have levers on your harp to play the tunes in this book. Simply tune your F strings to F sharp and away you go!

Purchase a beautiful paperback copy of Volume 1, or a PDF copy, on the shop page.

Volume 2: Traditional Irish Music for Harp: Arrangements for 34 strings

Volume 2 contains stylish arrangements of a wide variety of tune types: harp airs, reels, jigs, slip jigs, polkas, hornpipes and slow airs.  Melodic ornamentation and accompaniment variations are included in each arrangement.

This book is suitable for intermediate players and is a useful resource for teachers and students preparing for grades IV-VI in Irish Traditional harp. I have carefully selected tunes that sound especially beautiful on harp and that my pupils and I thoroughly enjoy playing. 

This book will help you build a beautiful and stylish repertoire of authentic Irish traditional music on harp.

Although these arrangements are written for full size lever harps, it is not necessary to full levers as each tune is arranged in the keys of C, G or D, so F and C levers are sufficient.

Purchase a beautiful paperback copy of Volume 2, or a PDF copy, on the shop page.

Volume 3: Ancient and Contemporary Irish Music for Harp: Arrangements for harp from ancient, traditional and contemporary sources

This is a book of music designed for intermediate-advanced harp players interested in developing a stylish and interesting repertoire of Irish traditional music, from ancient, traditional and contemporary sources.  

I have selected some of my favourite pieces from the ancient Irish harp repertoire, namely the Bunting Collection.  Hailing from Northern Ireland, this collection is of particular interest to me as it was at the Belfast Harp Festival in 1792 that the young Edward Bunting transcribed the music of the harpers who attended, thus preserving the unique musical heritage of the Irish harp. Indeed, my pupils performed at the Edward Bunting Festival 2019 and they thoroughly enjoyed learning all about Edward Bunting and the musical heritage that he helped to preserve. It is very special to think that through our harp playing we are also helping to keep this beautiful musical heritage alive.

This volume also includes recent compositions by contemporary Irish traditional musicians, from the north of Ireland and Donegal.  I love to draw inspiration from the vibrant traditional music community performing and composing today, which is an endless source of creativity and inspiration.

This volume is a stunning collection of music, old and new.  The ancient Irish harp repertoire is fused here with contemporary trad.  This book is, without doubt, a stylish and authentic addition to your harp repertoire.

Purchase a beautiful paperback copy of Volume 3, or a PDF copy, on the shop page.

Book Bundles and PDF bundles of all 3 books are available on the shop page at a discounted price. I can also offer a trade price discount for harp schools and teachers seeking to purchase sets of books for their pupils. Please get in touch for more details on this via the contact page.

“Thank you for these fabulous books. Mine arrived yesterday; they are such a wonderful resource for all levels of harpers.” Sinead McLaughlin

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