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O’Carolan on the double

My newest book, Double the O’Carolan Tunes (Book 2 of The Double Dozen Series) is coming soon!

While it’s in production, I thought it might be a good time to answer some questions about this new book of arrangements for double-strung harp.


So, what’s in the new book? Anything digital to go with it? 

  • This book, Double The O’Carolan Tunes, is a collection of 13 compositions by Ireland’s most famous harper and composer, Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), arranged for intermediate-level double-strung harp.
  • Performance advice and technique tips in each Performance Note help you sound like a polished pro.
  • Want a head start on learning the music? Online MIDI audio recordings can help you out, especially if you learn best by ear. (Download tracks soon at cynthiashelhart.com/resources.)

You can play music from this book if:

  • You’ve just finished the Make Mine a Double method book. You’re in the right place! The intermediate-level music in Double the O’Carolan Tunes is a great addition to your repertoire, just like the Chapter 5 arrangements in MMAD.
  • You’re an experienced double-strung harp player. This book is for you, too! These custom arrangements bring out the unique qualities of the double—and make it easier for you to sound even better.
  • Each arrangement has 2-3 pages of music, depending on the length of the tune. (Longer tunes, longer arrangements.)

Can I play these arrangements on MY double-strung harp?

  • Absolutely! These arrangements are written for medium-sized (26 x 2 strings) double harps, or you can change them to fit your smaller or larger instrument.
  • Wondering about keys and tuning? I recommend a full set of levers for this book. The key signatures range from 1 flat to 2 sharps.
  • 2 of the Double the O’Carolan Tunes arrangements use pre-set tunings to help avoid lever changes, and only 1 arrangement includes a lever change. However, if you’re missing a couple of levers for a pre-set tuning, no worries. Just manually re-tune those strings.
  • In each arrangement, you’ll see register shifts for both hands, notated with treble and bass clefs, so that notes are written where they sound (with fewer ledger lines).

Where do the tunes come from? Which ones are in the book?

  • These tunes were compiled from historical manuscripts and publications by Irish music scholar Donal O’Sullivan in his book Carolan: The Life Times and Music of an Irish Harper. This is THE book for O’Carolan tunes and information.
  • Most of O’Carolan’s music was written down and published after his lifetime, so O’Sullivan used categories and sequential numbers (instead of composition dates) to organize the tunes. You’ll see these corresponding O’Sullivan numbers on the arrangements. (O’Sullivan did NOT call these tune numbers “opus numbers.” In Western classical music, opus numbers are used to catalog a composer’s works by date.)
  • Here are the arrangements you’ll find in Double the O’Carolan Tunes:
    • George Brabazon (Second Air)
    • Sir Festus Burke
    • Carolan’s Concerto
    • Carolan’s Draught
    • Carolan’s Welcome
    • Planxty Drew
    • Hewlett
    • Colonel John Irwin
    • Charles O’Conor
    • Eleanor Plunkett
    • Fanny Power
    • Sheebeg and Sheemore
    • Captain Sudley

Double the O’Carolan Tunes is available in 2 versions: a PDF digital download, or a print book/PDF download combo package. If you’re a print book person, you’ll love how the coil binding opens flat on your music stand, and the PDF is perfect for tablets! (I love using mine on my 12.9” iPad Pro with the forScore app.)

You can pre-order your copy of either version today for the first shipment (available by November 2021) right here.

Cheers!
-Cindy

PS: If you’d like to preview an arrangement from Double the O’Carolan Tunes, I’ll send you a PDF copy of Carolan’s Welcome. It’s yours when you join my list. Thanks!

PPS: And if you’re wondering how I arrange these tunes for double-strung harp, guess what? I’ve got a new book in the works about this… stay tuned for articles, videos, and more!

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