Back to the Celtic Harp Main Page    Harp Books - Harp Music Collections (updated May 2009)
           Including Sheet Music Collections

  • Celtic, Early Music, & Misc. (incl. original)
  • Music for Children
  • Hymns & Other Spiritual Music; Music for Healing
  • Wedding Music
  • Ensemble
  • Wire & Multi-Course

  • Celtic, Early Music & Original

    Bunting, Edward. A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music ... Collected from the Harpers etc. in the Different Provinces of Ireland, and Adapted for the Pianoforte. 1996 reprint by Linen Hall Library, Belfast. Originally published by Belfast Society for Promoting Knowledge 1796.
    Although the music in this volume is arranged for piano, it is all perfectly playable on harp. Unfortunately, the original arrangements (i.e. left hand part) for harp were never written down (that I know of), so only the tune line is authentic. According to Gráinne Yeats' The Harp of Ireland, this volume is probably the closest to the original tunes, despite being arranged for pianoforte, while the other two in the series get progressively more modern and elabourate, thus losing some of the ancient Irish feel. However, there is still useful and interesting information (based on Bunting's research) contained is the 2nd & 3rd vols. For those interested in traditional ornamentation and other ancient harping techniques, see Bunting's The Ancient Music of Ireland (vol.3). - T.H.

    Cáirde na Cruite. Sounding Harps: Music for the Irish Harp. Books One to Three. Mercedes Bolger & Gráinne Yeats, Ed.
    A series of repertoire books for Celtic harp, starting at a beginner/intermediate level and moving to advanced. I thoroughly enjoy this collection. They have a wide selection of enchanting tunes, from simple tune lines in the first few pages of Book One to fairly complex arrangements. Almost all the tunes in the first book can be played on a small harp. For those who like to make their own arrangements, the tunes in Book One can be easily modified to more advanced arrangements, and stand well on their own even with sparse accompaniment. Over half of the tune titles are in Irish Gaelic, and many of the tunes include brief notes.- T.H.

    Edwards, Star. Easy Celtic Harp Solos, Mel Bay.
    I'm always pleased to see collections for Celtic harp that make an effort to draw on all the different Celtic cultures. In this book Star presents a diverse mix that includes tunes from Manx, Welsh, Scottish, Irish, Hebridean, Cornish and Breton backgrounds. It also includes some old favourites like Minstrel Boy, Suo-Gan (Welsh lullaby) and My Love She's But a Lassie Yet. The pieces lie easily under the fingers and the left hand parts are quite simple, making this an accessible book for anyone who is at the playing-with-both- hands stage. However, this is not a book for total beginners, as there are no fingering or placing notes. There are also 3 lever flips, and some sixteenth notes, although the pieces that look fast can be played slowly at first and still sound fine. The keys range from 2 sharps to one flat, and there is one A# in Mylcharaine, so ultimately best suited to a harp tuned to F with full levers. Note that those with harps tuned to Eb can't just substitute a Bb for the A#, since there are also B naturals in this piece (so a lever flip would be required). However all the other pieces would be playable on a harp with levers on the B's, F's and C's. Not suitable for small harp. - T.H.

    Friou, Deborah. (2 books)
      Baroque Music for the Harp. Friou Music, 1999.
    ISBN 0-9628120-6-4
    and Ballads and Court Dances of the 16th and 17th Centuries, 1994. ISBN 0-9628120-5-6
    These are both wonderful collections, a thoroughly enjoyable foray into the world of Baroque music. The pieces range in difficulty, but stay mainly in the intermediate range. I was looking for a bit of a change from the Celtic and medieval music I usually play, and this was the perfect thing to refresh my repertoire. Many of the pieces from "Ballads & Court Dances" are modified from lute music, but they are perfectly suited to lever harp. Most pieces range from no sharps or flats to two sharps, so even people with only partial levers (C's and F's) can play most of the pieces in these books. For experienced harpists, the pieces are easy to work up, since for the most part they are short (1-2 pages) and the arrangements are simple but elegant. - T.H.

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Hambly, Gráinne. Traditional Irish Music Arranged for Harp. Mayo Abbey Press, 2001.
    For fans of Gráinne Hambly, the book contains many pieces from her CD Between the Showers (for review click here). In general, it's a nice collection of Irish tunes, covering a good range from slip jigs & reels to hornpipes & even a couple of slower songs. Gráinne has thoughtfully included some notes on playing Irish dance music at the beginning, a helpful addition to harp players who are either new to playing Irish music, or who want a few tips on how to get that proper "Celtic feel" to their playing. She's also included two versions of some of the songs, one of them slightly easier, the other with ornamentation, altered bass lines and/or variations on the basic tune. So far I like what I've tried (you just have to listen to Gráinne's CD to know that she does great arrangements of trad dance tunes). The pieces range from intermediate to advanced; it's one of those books that would be good for people wanting to improve their playing and challenge themselves (you can start with the easier pieces, and work up to the more advanced ones). For those of us who already play lots of Celtic music, try playing all the dance tunes up to speed! (A sure way to find out if you're really as consistent with your fingering and placing as you think). - T.H.
    For more information on Gráinne's music, you can see her web site at

    Hull, Lisa. Fantasy Suite for Harp, No. 1 - Imaginative Programme Music for Pedal and Non-Pedal Harp. Essential Peace Publications, 2000-2001.
    This is Lisa Hull's first work for both pedal and non-pedal harp. While all the pieces are meant to be performed together in a suite, they also stand alone. Some pieces have two separate versions, one for pedal harp and one for lever. Pedal and/or lever settings are listed for each piece. With the exception of a couple of lever/pedal changes in "Alladin's Dream", there are no lever or pedal changes in the middle of pieces. Lever harps will need to be able to accommodate from one flat up to three sharps. The pieces range from advanced beginner to intermediate. "Alladin's Dream", in particular, might be daunting to lever harp players below intermediate level. The music does indeed have a fantastical feel to it, and as I played through it I imagined that it would be ideally suited for children. It would work wonderfully as a suite to entertain children, and any child with the skill to handle some of the faster runs and broken chords would undoubtedly have great fun playing the pieces. (I would definitely recommend that anyone under intermediate level tackle this with the help of their teacher - in fact, Lisa even includes a few teacher/student notes at the beginning.) Lisa was thoughtful enough to try and make the page turns as logical as possible, and she also included alternate pedal settings at the end. For advanced harpists, it is a fun suite to sight-read through. If you're in danger of being "too serious" about your playing, you might want to try this suite; it may bring out the kid inside. That said, the suite is by no means frivolous, and Ms. Hull has obviously put a lot of thought into it, always keeping the practical player in mind.- T.H.
    Recorded samples of each piece and more information on Lisa Hull and her work can be found at

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Jenkins, Delyth: Ar Y Ffin (originally reviewed in January 2007)
    Traditional and original tunes arranged for Celtic harp (many of which can be found on the CD of the same name.)

    I was delighted to receive this book just before I went on holiday, since I've always liked Welsh music, and had been wanting to try out some new tunes on my little double-strung harp (to which Welsh music is particularly suited, given the prominent role the triple harp has played in Welsh music). So over the holidays I tried all the tunes on my double-strung lap harp, and then got to re-discover them again on my 34-string Celtic harp when I got home. Some of the tunes sounded just perfect on my double harp (22 strings x2courses =44). In Yr Hen Don, the dotted rhythms of the tune set against the regular beat in the bass hand sounded great on the double- strung, as did the sweet, bouncy nature of Y Corgi Bach, with its little offbeat moments and perky jumps. However, some pieces really did need the full two bass octaves of the larger harp, such as the original piece Land of Lost Content. Also the simpler, shorter pieces such as the two Bourrées at the beginning definitely gained a bit more of a grounded feeling when played in the range they were originally written in.
    There is quite a diverse selection of pieces in this book, from quick upbeat tunes to slower melodies like Castle Hill, that you can really let breathe. As Jenkins says in her introduction, the pieces can be played as written (which requires a harp with a full two octaves below middle C to play all the pieces), or they can be used as a springboard for the player's own interpretations. Since the bass hand parts are mostly based on simple broken chords (although the chord sequences often have a modern feel to them), these pieces are ideal for experimenting with variations.
    Land of Lost Content is a good example of the kinds of things you could try with the other melodies, since it takes you through a series of variations that seem to fit the traditional Welsh model of varying the melody. When I took a workshop with Robin Huw Bowen in Godderich we followed a number of variations such as these, and I also came to know how much Welsh music really is fond of nice, round chords with thirds, especially all those little jigs that are really just a bunch of quick broken chords and arpeggios (which I suspect are mostly an excuse to start people dancing!). All in all, an enjoyable book, from which I intend to grab at least a few pieces to add to my repertoire for sure. - T.H.
    For more information on Delyth Jenkins and her arrangements of Welsh and original music you can visit her website at

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Ossian Publications. The Celtic Harp. 1988.
    A collection of 31 arrangements of Celtic tunes. Covers a wide range of Celtic cultures: Irish, Welsh, Breton, Scottish, English, Cornish and Manx. Arrangements are at roughly intermediate level, and are clean and uncluttered. They leave lots of room for playing around, but sound equally nice just as is. Titles which are in a Celtic language have translations, which makes it easier to track down alternate versions of the tunes.- T.H.

    Ossian Publications. The Complete Works of O'Carolan. With intro by Gráinne Yeats. 1984, 1989.
    A collection of all the known tunes attributed to Turlough Carolan. Some copies of the tunes as they were originally written down (by collectors, not by Carolan himself), most in modern notation. Tune lines only, with occasional suggested ornamentation. For harpers who enjoy making their own arrangements, or anyone who wants a comprehensive O'Carolan fake-book, this is a handy collection.- T.H.

    Pratt-Walter, Jennifer. Three Strathspeys for Harp - Sarona, Fiddler Play the Light, Brochan Lam. Lyrica Press.
    Sheet Music. Tunes are presented in lead sheet and full arrangement versions. Lively pieces, easy left hand, one "graceful" and two quick. Good for playing for dancing or as a set for performing. Arranged versions not suitable for small harps. Anyone who plays at sessions, or just likes to vary their arrangements of a piece, will appreciate the lead sheet versions of the tunes. They can act as a handy little reminder of the tune, and the chords are also helpful for anyone who wants to join in on an accompaniment. - T.H.

    Zarick, Maryjean: Welsh Ground with 24 variations for 22 string lap harp, arranged for small harp.
    Comes with a CD, on which all the variations are played at a relatively slow pace, so they are quite easy to follow. I was struck by the similarity in feel between the Welsh Ground and the famous Pachelbel's Canon in D; perhaps the two composers were visited by the same muse. Note that there are lever flips in several of the variations, for which you will need levers on F, G, B, and D. The range for this arrangement is low C one octave below middle C, to high C two octaves above middle. More information on Maryjean's publications can be found at

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Music for Children

    Cater, Kathryn: Harping Cats and Dogs, Forever in Love with Horses, and Singing Wings. (All suitable for lever or pedal harp).
    These books strike me as being perfect for children - all the pieces have fun or whimsical names, and each collection takes you on an exploration of your harp, involving a variety of effects and techniques such as glisses, PDLT, arpeggios, etc. While appropriate for students (kids of any age, including those young at heart!), these books are not for beginners. Any player approaching these books should have completed a basic level one method book, and all of the books would be best used in conjunction with ongoing lessons. However, for the accomplished early intermediate player (or an earlier level student who has the help of a teacher), they would make an excellent collection of solo tunes. Not for small harp - for lever harps, I would recommend a range of 34 strings or up.
    Harping Cats and Dogs is probably the easiest collection of the three. Some of the tunes would be fine for a student just getting comfortable with playing two-handed, and the rhythms are quite straight forward. However, some of the pieces require more skilled RH-LH coordination, and there are some lever/pedal changes. There is one piece that requires E#'s, however for a lever harp tuned in Eb (or a harp without a full set of levers), they could simply be read (or written in) as F's.
    Singing Wings has some tunes that are slightly more advanced than those in Cats & Dogs, although the two books are fairly similar in their range of pieces. It would be helpful for the student to have practiced broken chords, triplets, solid chords, and know something about switching levers or pedals. A number of the pieces are in C, the others are in sharps. A couple of the songs have accidentals that can be preset for lever players, while one (Bumble's Boogie) has lever/pedal changes within the piece. While this may sound daunting, with the help of a teacher they could actually be quite fun, allowing the student to explore the chromatic potential of their harp. One of the pieces contains an A#, so this book (and the other two in the collection) would be best suited to harps with a full set of levers.
    Forever in Love with Horses is more advanced than Singing Wings, requiring that the player be quite comfortable with right and left hand independence, as both hands get an equal workout, and there are passages in some of the pieces that have both the treble and bass part being fairly active at the same time. As the book's title suggests, all the tune titles have a "horsey" theme. As with Singing Wings, there are some techniques used (PDLT, ornaments, etc.) that might mystify a player who has not had much instruction, but would be fine if the student has a teacher to show them how to achieve the various effects. For any "adult kids" out there, you might want to engage the assistance of a more advanced harp-playing friend if you don't have a teacher. - T.H.

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Hymns, Spiritual, & Music for Healing

    Bickel, Cyndi. Be Still & Healers of the Heart (CD and Book).
    Both worth checking out. I was pleasantly surprised by Cyndi's CD, since I'm not particularly a fan of spiritual or religious music myself. Her harp playing and singing are both soothing and pleasant, and this CD makes for nice meditative background music. I found the music to be heartfelt and genuine (rather than sappy or cliche, as is sometimes the case with similar recordings). Among other places, you can find stuff by Cyndi through Southwind Dulcimer Online and Melody's Traditional Music. Cyndi is currently a certified Music Practitioner at St. Mary's Medical Centre. - T.H.

    Pratt-Walter, Jennifer. Three Hymns for Harp - Be Thou My Vision, Wondrous Love, All Through the Night. Lyrica Press.   (Sheet Music)
    Tunes are presented in lead sheet and full arrangement versions. A thoughtful collection of moving tunes, appropriate for any somber or quiet occasion. Left hand a little more involved than in the strathspey collection. 34-string harp players will appreciate that Jennifer's arrangements make full use of their harp. (Definitely not for small harps). All Through the Night is the most advanced arrangement, taking the familiar tune through several variations. Lots of movement in the left hand, so more suitable for intermediate and up. - T.H.

    upBack to the Top   /   Back to Harp Books Main Menu

    Music for Ensembles

    Edwards, Star. Two's Company.
    Music from the Colorado Celtic Harp Orchestra arranged for two harps. Beginning and Intermediate level. Published by Enoch Productions. Contents: Christmas in Killarney, Christmas Day Ida Moarnin', Eileen Aroon, Eleanor Plunkett, Gentle Maiden, Mo Ghile Mear, Taladh Chriosta, Thugamar Fein an Samhradh Linn. While I haven't had a chance to personally try out this duet book by Star, I did review several of her other books: Easy Celtic Harp Solos, Learn to Play the Celtic Harp, and Play Celtic by Ear. More information about Star Edwards and her music books can be found on her website, - T.H.

    Hines, John C. Early Music for the Wire Harp. See the review in the Wire Harp section for more information. Contains one ensemble piece and two duets.

    Hurrell, Nancy. The Harpers Play Book. "Traditional Music from Britain Arranged for Ensembles and Solos." Afghan Press, Houston, TX. 1999.
    This is a good source for harp circles and workshops. The duet and ensemble arrangements work well in groups (we've tried them out!). Beginners can be given either the bass line or the easiest part. The three solos range in difficulty from advanced beginner to intermediate, and can also be played in workshops by splitting the lines between two groups. - T.H.

    Jaeger, Patricia. Folk Harp with a Friend. Herald Music, 1995.
    Great for pick-up groups or regular ensembles. The harp parts accompany a melody that can be played on flute, violin or other tune instrument, and there are four other part-books included: Treble 1 & 2, Cello or other bass instrument, and viola. These parts can be read up or down an octave to accommodate a fairly wide range of instruments. There are also words included for vocalists. None of the parts have a particularly high level of difficulty, and are fairly easy to sight-read. - T.H.

    Thomas, Moreen. Five Pieces for Harp, Flute, and Cello. Lyon and Healey, 1993. and Five More Pieces for Harp, Flute and Cello. 2001.
    Despite the popularity of this trio combination, there are not nearly enough books out there with music arranged for it. My trio arranges a lot of its own music, but we wanted to have at least a few collections we could just read straight, without modification. I would say that the music in these collection falls mostly in the intermediate level. Note: some pieces have multiple lever changes, most notably the Ave Maria, which is the most advanced piece in the first book as far as the harp part is concerned, and Opus 13. I found some of the arrangements more interesting than others, but if you're looking for something to fill out your trio repertoire, this is not a bad collection, especially if you play a lot of weddings. (I've heard from at least one other person who just loved the arrangements, incl. all the harp parts, so you'll have to make up your own mind!). The 5 pieces in the first book are: Ave Maria, Beethoven Opus 13, Blaenwern, Whispered Love, and Pachelbel Canon in D. The pieces in the second book are Aire from Suite No. 3, The Prayer, The Merry Widow, Panis Angelicus, and Frolic. - T.H.
    [Click here to go back to the Wedding Music Books section]

    Zarick, Maryjean: Essential Duets for small harp and violin or flute, arranged for small harp.
    It's always nice to see ensemble music arranged specifically for lap harp, which, while more common nowadays, is not always easy to find. "Essential Duets" comes with separate parts for flute (or violin) and harp, and covers the same range for lap harp as Welsh Ground. It contains a mix of well-known traditional and popular pieces: Ash Grove, Hie-ey Ma Tov, Gymnopedie No. 1 by Satie, the above- mentioned Pachelbel's Canon in D, How Can I Keep from Singing, two TV themes: Nadia's Theme from The Young and the Restless and Brian's Song, and Longer by Dave Fogelberg. More information on Maryjean's publications can be found at

    Back to Harp Books Main Menu