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22nd Annual Historical Harp Society

Annual Conference

July 15-17, 2005



July 17-23, 2005

in collaboration with

The Amherst Early Music Festival

at Bennington College, Bennington, Vermont

Ron Cook, Artistic Director

Egberto Bermudez, Conference Director

Babz Schilke, H.H.S. President


Amherst Early Music Festival and Affiliated Events

The Amherst Early Music Festival features a broad selection of classes in early music; registrants in the Historical Harp program may cross-register in the Amherst central program and combine classes into one schedule.  The theme for this year is ?Music of the British Isles.?  The festival also features an instrument makers and vendors exhibition the weekend of July 16-17, nightly concerts and other экскурсии по москве пешеходные маршруты events, and a theater project each week.  The week of the Historical Harp Society Workshop, the theater project will be Ben Jonson's masque, Oberon, and harps will be welcome.  The week before our workshop, Andrew Lawrence-King will be giving classes and directing the theater project Dido and Aeneas, by Purcell.  A full list of classes, events, and concerts is available at www.amherstearlymusic.org or from Amherst Early Music at 47 Prentiss St., Watertown, MA 02472; phone: 617-744-1324; fax: 617-744-1327.


Registration for the workshop is handled via Amherst Early Music at the website or contact information above.  Registration for the conference should be made using the registration form enclosed, which will be sent to the Historical Harp Society, c/o Jean Humphrey, 631 North 3rd Avenue, St. Charles, IL 60174. 

Travel Information and Directions to Registration

Will be sent to registrants.

   Further conference and workshop details are posted as we learn them.


Contact Jean Humphrey at for a HHS brochure;
Marilyn Boenau at for an AEMF brochure,
 or visit the AEMF website, at:  http://www.amherstearlymusic.org/Programs%202005.htm  Workshop registration information is available through AEMF.

Historical Harp Society ANNUAL CONFERENCE

Friday July 15th ? Sunday July 17th, 2005

Schedule and Presentation Descriptions

--      Schedule is tentative.  The Historical Harp Society reserves the right to substitute conference speakers or to change presentation offerings or the schedule due to extenuating circumstances.

--      Final schedule will be distributed at conference registration.

--     Question and Answer periods will be included at the end of each presentation.

Friday, July 15th

Starting at 4:00              Registration

Starting at 7:00              Welcome Party

Starting at 8:00              Board Meeting

Saturday July 16th

9:00-10:00              Rethinking the Early Medieval Harp ? Ron Cook

This presentation examines the iconographic and literary evidence shedding light on the physical characteristics and use of the harp in Europe in the 12th and 13th centuries.  Based upon a review of over one hundred iconographical examples and descriptive passages from a large number of literary works dating from this period, tentative conclusions are drawn as to the number of strings that existed on the harp in this period, the probable tuning, and the implications for reconstructing performance practices today.

10:30-11:30            For the Harpe, Base Violl, Violin and Theorbo: The Consorts of William Lawes (1602-1645) ? Dr. Cheryl Ann Fulton

William Lawes can be seen as a transitional composer much like his contemporary Claudio Monteverdi (1567-1643) ? using daring dissonances and cutting edge instrumental techniques ? pushing the known limits within traditional, conservative structures.   The collection of eleven consorts composed for a quartet of two bowed and two plucked string instruments is unique in all of Western chamber music.  Grounded in the strong British contrapuntal style of the Renaissance, they also incorporate hints of the emerging ?seconda prattica? of the Italian Baroque.  This talk will cover the manuscript sources, musical and compositional styles, and evidence for the use of the ?arpa doppia.?  This will place these consorts within the context of Lawe?s corpus as well
as the musical establishment of Charles I.

Lunch Break

1:00-2:00                The Estampie - Dancing to Polyrhythm ? David C. Nelson

A polyrhythmic interpretation deepens the enigma of the dance form of the estampida (estampie).  Kalenda Maya, one of the few songs of the Troubadours for which we have not only lyrics and music on a manuscript, but also a cryptic physical layout, suggests some possibilities for understanding the relationship between song and dance in medieval Iberia.  With reference to a schematic of the layout, Mr. Nelson will present several possible articulations, including a polyrhythmic, with excerpted musical performances, both recorded and live.  As time allows we can explore this beautiful piece together, experiencing its possibilities.  Several players will join the presenter in a live workshop.  If a dancer attends, one who would like to interpret the estampie steps, so much the better.

2:30-3:30                The Street Harpists of the Late Nineteenth and Early Twentieth Centuries ? Paul Knoke

                                    This talk will present some of the iconographic and anecdotal documentation of the street harpists who were active from around 1875 to World War I. The iconology of a print from the 1880s, showing a street harpist with a pedal harp, will be closely examined.

4:00-5:00                Medieval Irish and Scottish Music ? Bill  Taylor

We are fortunate to have several sources for medieval sacred music from Ireland and Scotland.  Naturally, these are texted melodies, which indicate nothing regarding accompaniment of any sort.  How might a medieval harpist have supported singers in a performance of this repertoire?  Bill explains his recent work accompanying the Scottish women?s vocal quartet Canty.

Dinner Break and Evening Concert

Sunday, July 17th

9:00-10:00              LLanero music from Colombia and Venezuela: A musicological approach
  ?   Egberto Bermudez

Llanero music from the lowlands of Colombia and Venezuela is one of the most important contemporary Latin American harp traditions. Information about the tradition has been present since the beginnings of historical harp research, and present knowledge about the techniques involved has been very valuable in understanding renaissance and baroque Hispanic sources. Based on musical analysis of its repertoire, this talk intends to present the basic elements of the musical structures of this style.

10:30-11:30           Historical Harp Society Annual Meeting

Lunch Break/Workshop Registration Begins

4:00                       Historical Harp Faculty Concert

Conference registration form:  (Use your printer to print the page.)             Workshop  registration.

Amherst Early Music Festival/Historical Harp Society


Sunday July 17th ? Saturday July 23rd

Schedule and Class Descriptions

--     Schedule is tentative.  The Historical Harp Society reserves the right to substitute faculty or to change class or schedule offerings or the schedule due to extenuating circumstances.

--     Final schedule will be distributed at workshop registration.

Sunday, July 17th  from 1:30-5:00

Workshop Registration and Check-In

Monday, July 18th ? Friday July 22nd

Early Morning Classes: 9:00-10:30

Technique for Arpa Doppia ? Cheryl Ann Fulton

(for double and triple harps)

This class will focus on basic historical harp techniques, including duple articulation, methods for accessing the inner row of the arpa doppia, fingering, and tone production. Depending on the size of the class, each student will receive 30 minutes of individual work during the week, which the rest of the class will observe.

Psaltery Basics  -- Judy Kadar

(for psalteries)

Techniques for plucking (plectrum or fingernail), tuning, and hammering will be covered. In addition, the history and possible applications of the instrument will be discussed. The class is open to psaltery players of all levels of ability.

Ancient Welsh Harp Music ? Bill Taylor

(for harps)

The Robert ap Huw MS is the oldest body of harp music from Europe, composed in the 14th-15th centuries.  Originally intended for gut-strung bray harp played with the finger nails, this strange and beautiful music requires clear techniques for striking and stopping the strings.  By learning how to read the original tablature and how to execute the techniques it describes, students will be able to perform music written by medieval Welsh bardic harpers.  For all harps, both gut- and wire-strung, at all levels except beginner.

Performing English Dumps on the Harp ? Ron Cook

(for harps)

This class will explore the enigmatic form of 16th and 17th century English composition known as the ?dompe? or ?dump? and consider the possibilities for performance of these pieces on the harp.  The class will examine more than a dozen dumps in an ensemble setting and briefly consider the role of improvisation and ornamentation in performing this repertoire.  The content of the class will accommodate harpists with varied playing experience and proficiency.

<>Early Afternoon Classes: 1:30-3:00

Touch and Tone Technique for Harp ? Cheryl Ann Fulton

(for harps, at any level of experience)

This class will introduce the basics of Cheryl Ann Fulton?s Touch & Tone Technique TM.  Her approach treats the harp as primarily a melodic, not percussive instrument, with an emphasis on putting breath in the fingertips and playing from one?s center.  She will teach her series of Touch & Tone exercises, explain her concept of horizontal gravity and how to use it for playing the harp, and demonstrate the importance of complete freedom in the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints.  The class will look at specific musical examples to experience how this technique aids in deeper connection to music and expanded expressive capability.  Harpists at all levels will find value in this class.

Music from King Henry VIII?s Manuscript ? Judy Kadar

(for harps, singers and all soft instruments)

Dating from the early years of Henry?s reign (c.1510-1520), this manuscript contains vocal and instrumental pieces that were probably performed at court.  Isaac, Cornish, Fayrfax, and van Ghizeghem are among the English and continental composers represented, and a few pieces are attributed to Henry himself.  Intermediate level harp players, singers, and intermediate level players of soft instruments, with good sight reading ability, are welcome.

Scottish Renaissance Music for Harp and Other Instruments ? Bill Taylor

(for harps and all soft instruments)

This ensemble class will focus on supporting gut- and wire-strung harp players, but other instruments, such as fiddles, viols, lutes, and recorders, are very welcome to join the class.  Students will examine early 17th-century Scottish tunes in their original versions from lute, keyboard and fiddle collections and will develop solo and ensemble interpretations.

English Music for the Early Medieval Harp ? Ron Cook

(for harps and all plucked medieval strings)

This class will explore the manner in which the harp may have been used in early medieval England: as a solo instrument performing song and dance music, in providing accompaniment to vocal and instrumental music, and in accompanying the performance of poetry.  The class will explore a dozen early medieval English pieces and consider the role of ornamentation and improvisation in the performance of this repertoire.  The content of the class will accommodate harpists with varied playing experience and proficiency.  Psalteries, gitterns, plectrum lutes, and other medieval plucked instruments are welcome.

Late Afternoon Classes: 3:30-5:00

The Harpe Consorts by William Lawes: For the Harpe, Bass Violl, Violin and Theorbo ? Cheryl Ann Fulton: plucked strings and David Douglas: bowed strings

(for harps, theorbos, bass viols and violins)

This class is open to intermediate/advanced players of triple harp, bass viol, violin, and theorbo.  An overview of this unique set of quartets, including original source materials, historical setting, and basic stylistic concerns, will be presented.  The class will work in detail on two of the consorts ? one of the pavans and one of the dance suites.  Harpists should check in with the instructors a few weeks prior to the workshop for information on tuning.  There will be in-depth work on interpretation as well as technique.

Playing theTambourine ? Judy Kadar

(for anyone who would like to learn)

The tambourine was the most frequently used percussion instrument in the 14th century in both European and Middle Eastern traditions.  Techniques ranging from basic to sophisticated and from European, Spanish, and Arabic cultures will be covered.  Any students are welcome.

Beginning Historical Harp ? Bill Taylor

(for harps)

This class will provide an introduction to medieval and Renaissance music on historical harps.  Players interested in both wire- and gut-strung harps are welcome, as are players with or without finger nails.  The class will include basic exercises and fun, simple tunes to allow rapid progress for beginners.

We apologize to anyone who found before today the classes on 17th-century English song and on the MS 58 from 1530 who wants to take either.  In each case the faculty member withdrew the class for logistical reasons, not for lack of interest.

Faculty Biographies

Ron Cook has been performing on historical harps for more than twenty-five years.  He is a founding member and past president of the Historical Harp Society.  He has taught at the Society?s annual Historical Harp Workshop and contributed numerous articles and presentations to the Society?s Bulletin and its annual Historical Harp Conference.  He is also a past officer and director of the American Recorder Society and a current director of Early Music America.  He performs regularly on historical harp, recorder, and other historical wind and stringed instruments.  For twenty-eight years he has directed The Early Interval, a medieval and Renaissance consort performing both vocal and instrumental music.  He has taught recorder and regularly lectures on early music topics at Capital University.

Cheryl Ann Fulton, America?s premier performer of historical harps, has had an internationally successful performing, recording, teaching and scholarly research career since 1986.  She is one of the few harpists in the world to play triple harp, medieval harp, and contemporary lever harps. Her solo performance for the 2002 World Harp Congress in Geneva affirmed her rank as one of the world?s leading harpists. Her solo recital, performed at the John F. Kennedy Center, featured five historical harps on one program, of which the Washington Post said, ?Fulton drew from all of them a serene and delicate sound.... remarkable instruments which Fulton played with total skill and reverent affection.?  A versatile recording artist, she can be heard on over thirty albums and soundtracks broadly ranging from medieval, baroque, orchestral, and contemporary music to Celtic music and film scores. A leading scholar in the field of historical harps, Dr. Fulton, a Fulbright scholar and recipient of the Burton E. Adams Prize for Academic Research, is a contributing scholar for the new edition of the New Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians and A Performers Guide to Medieval Music (IU Press, 2000).  She has become a renowned and
highly sought after teacher of her masterful and expressive Touch & Tone Technique.  She has a full private studio in her San Francisco Bay Area home and this year will also be performing and teaching for the 2005 HarpCon in Big Sky, Montana, for Amherst Early Music in Vermont, and for the Lo Gai Saber medieval music workshop in Coaraze, France.

Judy Kadar, under the auspices of Amherst Early Music, founded and directed the First Annual Historical Harp Conference and Workshop in 1984. She directed this event through 1991 when the American Historical Harp Society was formed. She is also one of the founding members of the International Historical Harp Society. She studied harp at Mannes with Lucile Lawrence, holds a M.F.A. in the Performance of Medieval and Renaissance Music from Sarah Lawrence College, and has been in demand as faculty at early music workshops since the late 70's. She lives in Berlin, Germany, where she teaches harp, historical harp, and ensembles in medieval and renaissance music. She has had multiple theater engagements with renowned German directors, co-directs the medieval and renaissance music ensemble ?Collage,? and frequently concertizes throughout Europe. Collage produced and performed successful theater productions of the 14th century Roman de Fauvel and the 13th century chante-fable ?Aucassin and Nicolete.? Collage recently released the recording ?Blozen?, a collage of the ensemble?s areas of interest and expertise: Neidhart von Reuental through Claude Gervaise.  Ms. Kadar is also a member of ?duo citariste? and ?Jiddisches und Juedisches.?

Bill Taylor is a specialist in the performance of ancient harp music from Ireland, Scotland and Wales, and is one of very few players investigating these repertoires on medieval gut-strung harps, wire-strung clarsachs, and Renaissance harps with buzzing bray pins.  He has been resident in Scotland for many years, where he teaches and performs with the Highland early music group Coronach and the duo The Art of Musick.  A former president of the International Historical Harp
Society, he also plays with the Belgian Late-Medieval ensemble Quadrivium and accompanies the Scottish female vocal quartet Canty.  Bill has recorded several CDs with Canty, including music by Hildegard of Bingen and music from the feast day of St Brigit of Ireland; they plan to issue a CD of music for a medieval Scottish Lady Mass in 2005.  Bill teaches community music classes through Fèis Rois and is a guest lecturer at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama in Glasgow.  As a teacher of historical harps, he is frequently invited to lead workshops in the UK, Europe, and the USA, including regular appearances at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.

Workshop Registration: Use forms from Amherst Early Music, www.amherstearlymusic.org or from
 Amherst Early Music, 
47 Prentiss St.,  Watertown, MA 02472;
   phone: 617-744-1324;   fax: 617-744-1327.


Content Manager: David C Nelson
update: May 24, 2005