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Somerset 2024 Workshops with Cindy Shelhart

Hey there! I’m looking forward to seeing you in person and online at the Somerset Folk Harp Festival this July. I’ll be teaching 4 workshops.

First, for ALL harpers, there’s a lead sheet arranging workshop called “On the Other Hand,” where we’ll create on-the-go arrangements with lead sheets and accompaniment patterns.

Then, 3 workshops especially for double-strung harps:

  • There’s a session on “Adapting Classical Music for Double-Strung Harp.” (You know it’s not just for pianos anymore, right?)
  • Another workshop, “The Double Effect,” gives you arranging tips and tricks to make your DSH sound more like a double.
  • And in “Pop Goes the Double,” we’ll explore modern sounds that you can add to any double-strung arrangement.

I’ll also be performing on the last day of the festival.

If you still need to register for Somerset, first of all, what are you waiting for? Come join us!

And, if you’re reading/watching this before May 1st, 2024, you can also save $100 on your festival ticket. Go to the festival website at to learn more.

Hope to see you there!

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Three’s company: Irish music and the double-strung harp

Have you noticed that the Irish have a preference for things that come in threes? And that’s not just limited to three-leaf shamrocks, or the green-white-orange Irish flag.

The Irish have been using the “triad form” (arranging ideas by threes) for centuries, including in the Old Irish collection Trecheng Breth Féne “A Triad of Judgments of the Irish”, or “The Triads of Ireland”, from the 9th century. (Learn more in Triads of Ireland on Wikipedia.)

The Three Musics in History

And even earlier, Irish mythology used the number three in the story of the good god The Dagda and his magical harp (his greatest treasure), whose music could cause listeners to laugh, weep, or fall asleep. These three moods, or qualities, are sometimes called the “Three Noble Strains” or “The Three Musics” of harp music:

  • Geantraí (“joyful music“)
  • Goltraí (”sorrowful music“)
  • Suantraí (“lullaby music“)

You can hear the modern Irish and Scottish Gaelic pronunciations of these terms here.

Later, these “noble strains” became the “three musics” required of ancient harpers in Ireland and Gaelic Scotland. In his first book, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Dublin, 1840), music collector Edward Bunting included the Old Irish spellings of these terms (geantraigegoltraige, and súantraige) which he learned from harpers at the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival.

You can learn more about the harp in Irish mythology in Scottish harper Ailie’s Robertson’s blog post.

And my US harper friend Jo Morrison wrote a 3-part tune to, in her words, “embody the three types of music required of ancient harpers, the music of joy, sorrow, and sleep.” This tune is the title track of her CD The Three Musics.

Good Things Come in Threes

So what do “The Three Musics” and the double-strung harp have in common? Easy—the number THREE!

When I created The Technique Triangle™, the easy way to make your double-strung harp “sound more like a double,” I literally based it on 3 basic techniques. Once you master these 3, you can use them in endless combinations, in a wide variety of music… which includes Irish music!

In my upcoming Irish music workshop for double-strung harp on February 12, we’ll learn 2 brand-new arrangements: a lullaby (suantraí) and a dance tune (geantraí), with the help of the Technique Triangle.

(Spoiler alert: Split Technique is awesome in helping you play Irish dance tunes on your double harp!)

I invite you to join us for the February 12 Irish DSH Workshop—registration is open through February 9.


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You’re invited! [Holiday DSH Workshop]

Making plans for the holidays?
Be sure to leave some time for yourself…
and your double-strung harp!

You’re invited to a Holiday Double-Strung Harp Workshop
Saturday, November 20, 2021, 1:00-2:30 PM CST via Zoom

  • Looking for new music? Your workshop ticket includes 2 new holiday arrangements for your double-strung harp (1 sacred, 1 secular).
  • Want to learn how to make your harp “sound like a double?” Take a peek behind the scenes at my trademark techniques & arranging process.
  • Short on time during the holidays? Get a head start on the arrangements with helpful fingering and placing edits (exclusive to this workshop).

Ticket: $50.00
Click here to buy your ticket and learn more about the workshop

Registration closes next Wednesday, November 17 at 11:55 PM CDT. Even if you can’t make the live event, all registrants will receive a replay link (accessible through January 5, 2022—the 12th day of Christmas).

Don’t leave yourself off the list—give yourself and your double-strung harp the gift of music this holiday season. Seats are selling quickly; be sure to register before the November 17 deadline. Hope to see you there!

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Success and sources

Thanks to everyone at the Gebhard Woods Dulcimer & Traditional Music Festival for a great weekend! I enjoyed teaching two Zoom harp workshops (well done, harpers!) and the live chat during my prerecorded concert set.

As promised to my Fit for a Queen workshop, here are some of my favorite sources for English country dance tunes. Which sources – and which tunes – are *your* favorites? Let me know in the comments!

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It’s festival time!

Finally! Excited to return as the harp headliner at the 2021 Gebhard Woods Dulcimer & Traditional Music – yes, they have harp! This year’s virtual festival is free, with no registration needed.

My concert and both workshops are all on Sunday, June 13, 2021. The harp workshops are for *all* lever harps (key of G tuning); be sure to download handout PDFs before the workshops . I’ll feature the double-strung harp in my concert set.

My Sunday, June 13 GWDF concert and harp workshops (all times US Central):

  • 1:00 PM: Workshop: Flora & Fauna: Outdoor Tunes for Indoor Harpers.
  • 2:30 PM: Main Stage double-strung harp concert set (prerecorded).
  • 4:00 PM: Workshop: Fit for a Queen: English Country Dances for Lever Harp.

GWDF Festival Home Page:
GWDF Facebook and Insta: @gebhardwoodsdulcimerfest

The Festival Home Page is the hub for all GWDF activities, including my concert set and workshop links. You’ll need Zoom technology to participate in the Main Stage, Workshops, and Community Tent.

Zoom Workshops: access via the GWDF Festival Home Page. The Zoom link for each workshop will appear ca. 10 minutes before the hour, and you can join the workshop until 10 minutes after the hour. You’ll also need a camera and microphone on your device for workshops.Download harp workshop PDF handouts, and the workshop schedule, on the GWDF workshops page:

GWDF performance schedule page: