Christmas Lever Harp Music

Posted In: Amateur Harpists

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    Laura Wilson on #159755

    Hello everyone! I am looking for some challenging intermediate Christmas music for lever harp. I am considering a couple of Daniel Burton’s Christmas music, but I’d like to have some other options as well. Many books seem to be really easy—but I want a challenge!

    Another consideration is the style of music. I want a classical sound—without modern rhythms or dissonance. A good example of the type of songs I’m looking for would be Susann McDonald and Linda Wood’s Christmas music for pedal harp. It is challenging, and yet it is very classical and traditional in its music.

    I appreciate any suggestions. I’d like to buy some music soon!


    holly-kemble on #159756

    Hi Laura~

    I have limited harp experience….but I ordered Kim Robertson’s ‘Celtic Christmas’ and it was too challenging for me in my first year of playing. My teacher really likes ‘What Child Is This/Greensleeves’ from this collection. It utilizes the entire range of a 36 string harp, and the arrangement is full and lush. I’ll save this for next year!

    I also like Sunita Staneslow’s collection in Mel Bay’s Christmas Eve, 16 Solos for Celtic Harp. The arrangements are probably easier than you are looking for….but they are so well written that they sould harder than they are. There are also some more unusual pieces in here….Scandinavian and German carols.

    Good luck!


    barbara-brundage on #159757

    If you like the McDonald-Wood arrangements, you can actually play quite a few of them on lever harp.

    In book 1:

    O Holy Night, with a little fudging on the inner voices in mm. 9 and 10. i usually just play the top line in treble in the second half of m. 9, and and subsitute another note for the D# in the bass in m. 10.

    O Come All Ye Faithful: play it A rather than A-flat (you’ll need to adjust for range in the bass octaves sometimes and leave out the D# in the right hand in measure 23.

    Away in a Manger: no problems

    First Noel: just don’t do the elaborate cadence at the end.

    Lo, How a Rose: no problem

    Book 2:

    Silent Night: Just cadence before the glissando section begins

    Away in a Manger: no problem

    We Three Kings: no problem

    It came upon: play scale gliss or arpeggio instead

    Hark: Play scale glisses where you have the B# F-flat

    Lullay: this is very doable, but kind of complicated to explain. Pay attention to which voices need to go back and forth between the F natural and F sharp and you can figure it out.

    Come thou long expected: no problem, although I’d leave out the C# in one voice in the chord section where it appears in both hands.

    Book 3:

    Bring a torch: play scale gliss or skip the transition section at the bottom of the first page

    Rudolph: in the descending octaves on the first page, don’t play on beat one, skip the F# octave, so it’s rest, G, E, D.

    We wish: some variations work fine

    Deck the Halls: scale glissandos

    Twelve days: no problems

    barbara-brundage on #159758

    Of course, you’ll need to adjust for range on some of them, just as you would with a small pedal harp, but it’s usually just a case of leaving out the bottom notes of octaves or jumping the octave once in a while, like in the arpeggiated left hand of Silent Night. Of course, if you have a 40 string harp, no adjustments would be necessary.

    Rachel on #159759

    I also like, “A Christmas Medley” by Mitch Landy (classy, with good energy and full arrangements), “Christmas Music for the Lever Harp” by Karl Wienand, and the Sunita Staneslow and Kim Robertson (Celtic Christmas) books already mentioned.

    Karen Johns on #159760

    Now, I’m not familiar with some of the titles/composer’s you mentioned, but one piece I’m working on that I really enjoy is the medley by Sylvia Woods titled “Arabian Dance/We Three Kings of Orient Are”. This is found in her Two Christmas Medleys sheet music. It is in the intermediate range, and you can see a sample of the music and hear a clip of how it sounds if you go to

    Laura Wilson on #159761

    I appreciate everyone’s responses. A special thanks to Barbara Brundage for her helpful information—thanks for writing all that out!

    I ordered Kim Robertson’s Celtic Christmas and Dewey Owens’ Noel!Noel! from Melody’s Traditional Music and Harp Shoppe. They were also very helpful.

    Happy Harping!

    kay-lister on #159762

    Ray Pools Christmas Medleys are absolutely beautiful!

    helen-rudd on #159763

    My favorite book is Whitney Dobyns Christmas Present. It has lovely and different versions of In the Bleak Midwinter, Silent Night, The First Noel, O Come, O Come Emmanuel, Still, Still, Still, The Holly and the Ivy.

    lisa-clark on #159764

    I really like Rojean Louck’s “Christmas” book. I think it gives a good challenge for intermediate players yet not too hard to learn by Christmas.

    Karl Wienand has some nice arrangements in his Christmas book as well. The Australian Carol sounds fabulous (harpy sounding with descending arrpeggios).

    Briggsie B. Peawiggle on #159765

    I vote for Ray Pool’s too, although mine is the pedal harp version, and the book he has with secular Christmas tunes is great too, but

    brook-boddie on #159766

    Our friend Andy Barber has arranged and published some beautiful carols in his latest book:

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