Celtic music

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    unknown-user on #162758

    I am looking for sheet music with nice Celtic songs. There are so many books out there that I have a tough time choosing. Can someone recommend a book with Celtic songs? Thanks.

    tony-morosco on #162759

    It’s hard to say without knowing your skill level, but a good bet are always Sylvia Woods Books. I think all of her different Celtic Music Books, with the exception of the Irish Dance Tunes Book, all have two versions of each song, an easier A version and a more intermediate B version.

    What is nice is that even if you can play the B versions you can learn both and put them together playing the A first and then B on the repeat to give it some variety.

    She has a book of Irish Songs, Scottish Songs, Irish Dance Music, and a book of all Carolan tunes.

    I tend to

    unknown-user on #162760

    Thanks, Tony. I really appreciate your recommendations.
    What exactly are “fake books”?

    tony-morosco on #162761

    Fake Books are collections of lead sheets.

    Basically instead of a full arrangement, with treble and bass lines all clearly worked out, a lead sheet gives just the basic melody and the chord symbols above it, as well as lyrics.

    You use that to make your own arrangements, either ones you write out or if you get good at improvising ones you make up as you play.

    Most Jazz musicians use only Fake Books and lead sheets because Jazz is rooted in the idea of improvisation so Jazz musicians don’t like to be bound by an pre done arrangement. They

    Audrey Nickel on #162762

    The word “Celtic” is pretty vague, as covers a pretty broad range of traditional music from all six of the Celtic nations (Irish music is quite different from Breton music, for example, but both are technically “Celtic”), as well as some baroque stuff (think Carolan).

    unknown-user on #162763

    Thank you, both Audrey and Tony. You both seem to know a lot about this kind of music and I am glad that you shared your knowledge with me. I now have a better idea of what to look for.


    jennifer-buehler on #162764

    Beth Kolles books are really nice too.

    Fairy Reel on #162765

    Please be very, very careful with the Sylvia Woods books. There are often several versions to different folk songs, and usually one is more accpeted than the rest, and quite often the Sylvia Woods version is not the popular version I thought I was getting. For instance the song listed as “Shule Aroon” (Siul Arun) in the SW Irish Book is not what you would hear at an Irish festival, etc. I try to steer clear of Sylvia’s things; they tend to be pretty ubiquitous but I have a much easier time of just reworking piano arrangments for the harp. Usually Mel Bay Irish books are good.

    One of my favorite books that I use all the time is Kim Robertson’s Celtic Solos book. Some Scottish, some Irish, some orginial,

    Audrey Nickel on #162766

    I wouldn’t say that “one is more accepted than the rest.”

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