Pedal or Lever Harp

The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs arranged by Caitriona Rowsome Book and CDs

Item #4956b
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$39.95

For lever or pedal harp.

This is the definitive harp book on Turlough O'Carolan. Starting from Donal O'Sullivan's 1958 classic study of O'Carolan and his music, Irish harper Caitriona Rowsome has expanded on the information and made it even more relevant for harp players.

Whereas O'Sullivan's book includes the melody line for all 226 tunes written by or attributed to O'Carolan, Caitriona's book includes 2-handed harp arrangements of each of the tunes. Most of the arrangements are for beginning to advanced beginning harp players, so they are accessible for everyone! She's even included the lyrics where applicable. An added bonus is a set of 4 CDs of Caitriona performing all 226 songs and airs. The arrangements are in the keys of 1 flat through 3 sharps, with no fingerings, and are suitable for piano as well as harp. Some of the pieces require lever changes, which are marked in the music.
This is an essential book for any Celtic harpist! 254 pages, paperbound, with 4 CDs.

Some of the subjects covered in the informative introduction include: Origin of airs and lyrics; Treatment of lyrics; Lyrics for patrons; Metric match; Historical English songs interpreting Carolan's verse; Musical influences; Use of ornamentation; The Carolan harp; Melody and accompaniment vs. harp and voice; How were Carolan's airs sung in the 18th century?; Irish harp festivals of the 18th century and style of playing; A brief biography and background; The character and the legacy; Bard "file" or "oirfideadh"; Settings of airs; Love, marriage and death; Authorship; and Conclusion.

Here's additional information from the back cover of the book.
This comprehensive collection gives a unique perspective to the music of the great Irish harper-composer, Turlough Carolan (1670-1738), Caitríona Rowsome has combined Carolan's surviving airs with sensitive and appropriate harp settings, metrically matching them with Carolan's surviving lyrics for the airs. Many of the airs are not commonly known as songs, and some include lyrics published here for the first time. For each of Carolan's Irish songs, an English interpretation is also provided. These are in the form of translations, paraphrases and, in some cases, English songs that give a context to -- and a broader understanding of -- Carolan's Irish verse.

The arrangements for the Irish harp of the 226 airs in this book vary from simple to complex and will suit a range of skill levels. Historical notes, detailing the intended recipients (much of Carolan's music was written in honour of patrons), are also provided, as well as an appendix and notes on ornamentation. The collection includes recordings of all 226 songs and airs, performed by Caitríona Rowsome.

Caitríona Rowsome was born in Dublin into a family that spans five generations of Irish traditional musicians. She studied Irish harp at the DIT College of Music in Dublin and taught there after earning her teaching diploma in 1990. Rowsome has also adjudicated harp competitions in Granard and taught the Irish harp for a number of years in Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann. An honours graduate of DCU with a B.Sc. in Computer Applications, she is a writer for their distance education programme, Oscail, and also paints in oils, drawing inspiration from her native Irish landscape and culture.


  • Lady Athenry
  • Mrs Bermingham (2 airs)
  • James Betagh
  • Lady Blayney
  • George Brabazon (2 airs)
  • Sir Ulick Burke
  • Sir Festus Burke
  • Lady Laetitia Burke
  • The Honourable Thomas Burke
  • Isabella Burke
  • Thomas Burke
  • Planxty Burke
  • Mrs. Cole
  • Nancy Cooper (2 airs)
  • Sir Charles Coote
  • Edward Corcoran
  • Mrs. Costello
  • Planxty Crilly
  • Sir Edward Crofton
  • James Crofton
  • Mrs. Crofton
  • Miss Crofton
  • Bridget Cruise (4 airs)
  • Richard Cusack
  • James Daly
  • Dr. Delany
  • Mrs. Delany
  • Lord Dillon
  • Lady Dillon
  • Gerald Dillon
  • Fanny Dillon
  • Counsellor Dillon
  • Luke Dillon
  • Edward Dodwell
  • Planxty Drew
  • John Drury (2 airs)
  • William Eccles
  • Mrs. Edwards
  • Mrs. Fallon
  • Mrs. Farrell
  • Miss Fetherston
  • Mrs. Garvey (2 airs)
  • Lady Gethin
  • Miss Goulding
  • Dr. John Hart, Bishop of Achonry
  • Mrs. Harwood
  • Robert Hawkes
  • Hewlett
  • Captain Higgins
  • Lord Inchiquin
  • Colonel John Irwin
  • Colonel Irwin
  • John Jameson
  • Baptist Johnston
  • John Jones
  • Loftus Jones
  • Thomas Morres Jones / Bumper Squire Jones
  • Robert Jordan
  • Thomas Judge / Carolan's Frolic
  • Mrs. Judge
  • Mrs. Keel
  • Daniel Kelly
  • Hugh Kelly
  • John Kelly
  • Mabel Kelly
  • Patrick Kelly
  • Susanna Kelly
  • Planxty Kelly
  • Lord Louth
  • Henry MacDermott Roe (3 airs)
  • Mrs. MacDermott Roe
  • Mrs. Anne MacDermott Roe
  • Elizabeth MacDermott Roe
  • Edmond MacDermott Roe
  • John MacDermott
  • Miss MacDermott / The Princess Royal
  • Dolly MacDonough
  • Dr. MacMahon, Bishop of Clogher
  • Miss MacMurray
  • Betty MacNeill
  • Morgan Magan
  • Captain Magan
  • Kitty Magennis
  • Brian Maguire
  • Constantine Maguire
  • Mr. Malone
  • Catherine Martin
  • Lord Massereene
  • Mrs. Maxwell (2 airs)
  • John Moore
  • Peggy Morton
  • Miss Murphy
  • Miss Noble
  • John Nugent
  • Mrs. Nugent
  • Elizabeth Nugent
  • Grace Nugent
  • Betty O'Brien
  • Donal O'Brien
  • Mr. O'Connor
  • John O'Connor
  • Maurice O'Connor (3 airs)
  • Mrs. O'Connor
  • Dr. O'Connor
  • Michael O'Connor (2 airs)
  • Denis O'Connor (2 airs)
  • Mrs. O'Conor
  • Charles O'Conor
  • Colonel Manus O'Donnell
  • Hugh O'Donnell
  • O'Flinn
  • Colonel O'Hara
  • Kean O'Hara (3 airs)
  • Captain O'Kane
  • Katherine O'More
  • Captain O'Neill
  • Mrs. O'Neill of Carlane
  • Mrs O'Neill
  • Mary O'Neill / Carolan's Favorite Jig
  • O'Reilly of Athcarne
  • Conor O'Reilly
  • John O'Reilly (2 airs)
  • Owen O'Rourke
  • Mrs. O'Rourke
  • Planxty O'Rourke (w airs)
  • Frank Palmer
  • Squire Parsons
  • Tobias Peyton
  • John Peyton
  • Eleanor Plunkett
  • James Plunkett
  • Planxty Plunkett
  • David Power
  • Mrs Power / Carolan's Concerto (2)
  • Fanny Power
  • Mervyn Pratt
  • George Reynolds
  • Lady St. John
  • Sir Arthur Shaen
  • Major Shanly
  • Dr. John Stafford / Carolan's Receipt
  • Mrs Sterling
  • Captain Sudley / Carolan's Dowry
  • Planxty Sweeney
  • Mr. Waller
  • Mrs. Waller
  • William Ward
  • Planxty Wilkinson
  • Lady Wrixon
  • General Wynne
  • Carolan's Welcome
  • Planxty Safaigh
  • Planxty O'Carolan
  • Planxty O'Neill
  • Planxty Scott
  • Planxty Browne
  • All Alive
  • Blind Mary
  • Carolan's Cap
  • Carolan's Cottage
  • Carolan's Cup
  • Carolan's Draught
  • Carolan's Dream
  • Carolan's Farewell to Music
  • Carolan's Maggot
  • Carolan's Quarrel with the Landlady
  • Carolan's Ramble to Cashel
  • Cremonea
  • The Dark, Plaintive Youth
  • The Elevation
  • The Fairy Queen
  • The Landlady
  • Ode to Whiskey
  • One Bottle More
  • The O'Rourkes' Feast
  • The Seas are Deep
  • Separation of Soul and Body
  • Sheebeg and Sheemore
  • The Two William Davises
  • Variations on the Scottish Air "Cock Up Your Beaver"
  • Variations on the Scottish Aire "When She Cam Ben"
  • Lament for Sir Ulick Burke
  • The Clergy's Lamentation
  • Lord Galway's Lamentation
  • Lament for Charles MacCabe
  • Lament for Terence MacDonough
  • Lament for Owen Roe O'Neill
  • Lament for Owen O'Rourke
  • Squire Wood's Lamentation on the Refusal of his Halfpence
  • Captain O'Neill
  • Athlone
  • Banks of the Shannon
  • Cuir Do Cheann Dileas
  • Failtte Na Miosc
  • Farewell to Lough Neaghe
  • Irish Galloway Tom
  • The Lamentation of Ireland
  • The Merry Maids of Connaught
  • Port Gordon
  • Righin Aluin Aribhin Og
  • Sorridh Leat a Naomhaig
  • Uillagan Dubh O

Reviews

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The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs
By Faye Fishman
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As soon as I saw this book was available I ordered it. I'm glad I did. I have other books on Carolan but this is concise and well written. The CDs are lovely. My only criticism is that not all the Gaelic words in the introduction are translated. But the info on the tunes is great and in general a very useful book to have.


The Ultimate Carolan Collection!
By Christine
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If you only get one Carolan book, this should be it. All his music in one place. I've been just waiting for this book - Awesome!


Loving This Music!
By Rita Dunn
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I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE Celtic harp music and getting "The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs" Collection and CD's was something I had to have! There are so many pretty arrangements in the book. It is perfect for St. Patrick's Day parties and events. It sounds Traditional Irish for sure. I feel so "Lucky" to have it!


Review: The Complete Carolan Songs & Airs
By Maris Whetstone
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I recently purchased this book from the Sylvia Woods Website. All I can say is, this book is amazing. I was very impressed by the amount of research that went into this book, as evidenced by the long list of sources included in the Bibliography and Principal Manuscripts sections. My favorite discoveries in this book are found in the many notes and stories that share the history and meanings of the songs included within. Some even have the lyrics included. The sections that describe Carolan, his love, marriage, and death, create an understanding of the man and his personality, and I found myself wishing I had been able to meet him in person. His lyrics demonstrated he was a kind and fun-loving person that would have been a joy to meet. The descriptions of how his music evolved from his time to now was fascinating. For example, it was discussed how the harps of current times differ from those during Carolan's times that had no levers or blades, necessitating a different style of playing; or the fact that his music was transcribed to piano, adding embellishments not playable on an ancient harp. There is a section towards the end of the book that demonstrates, by example, different ways to add ornamentation to the music. Along with the 226 arrangements of Carolan's songs, the book includes four CDs of each song played by Caitriona Rowsome. These are beautifully played and a joy to hear. If you enjoy the music of O'Carolan, you will never regret treating yourself to a copy of this music.


Awesome book!
By Amelia Gerlach
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This is a wonderful compilation of Carolan's work - I am so glad I bought it! It has the words and complete harp arrangements. I highly recommend this book to anyone who loves Carolan!


This Is A Multi-Faceted Gem
By Alice Grove
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This book represents so much. It touches on the varied history of our instrument. The music can be played and enjoyed by students and professionals. The student can grow with the book. As one learns the music you can play with the CDs included with the book. Or just enjoy the CDs at your leisure. Every time I use this book I get an insight into Carolan's strength and character and the friendship with those he encountered. Writing this book was obviously a labor of love for Caitriona Rowsome and it is an honor to own it.


Total Delight
By Nancy
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I am so happy I held out for the back-order of "The Complete Carolan Songs and Airs". It is a fascinating book on many levels. There are some interesting scholarly facts for those of us who like to learn a bit more about the music history. I did not know these songs were sung (well, OK a few you sing in the pub) and therefore the chromatic embellishments were more specifically for the singer (just a tidbit). The lyrics are given in Gaelic as well as English. Since O'Carolan was composing during that time when we were morphing into diatonic tonalities but not there yet, I find the melodies to be exquisite and rather exotic. Ms. Rowsome has harmonized the pieces in different styles to give one an idea of the motifs used at the time historically by 18th century harpers. It provides different stylistic possibilities for the various gigs and airs. Just what I was looking for. The harmonies are at times very unusual from the direction I would expect and very pleasing to my ears. It provides me with a lot of material to think about in arranging Celtic pieces. The CD's that come with the book are beautifully recorded. You could just play them for the joy of it... or use them to learn... or if you really want to up your Celtic game practice learning them by ear (and you have the written music to refer to).... Oh my gosh, it's a total delight!


Epic Work!
By Christina Sansone
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Rowsome's book is an epic work of dedication for any harpist who is serious about Irish music. Thorough and well-researched with extensive citations to further information and background--enough to satisfy any O'Carolan freak! The arrangements bring out O'Carolan's iconic style and the CD recordings illustrate how the music can be accessible to any player from beginner and beyond. The printed music is a bit small, I think it should be enlarged before starting to play.


Changing the binding
By Wendy McCormick
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The previous reviews extol all the virtues of owning this book. The only downside for me was the binding. I took the book to Staples and for less than $6 it is now spiral bound and lays flat on the music stand or piano. A simple fix for a frustrating situation of trying to keep the bound book open.


Fast Delivery Detailed Book
By Christina
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I anticipated an arrival by media mail of 4-6 weeks; however, the Complete O'Carolan book with cds by Rowsome arrived within the week! I look forward to exploring the various tunes and building my repertoire.


an amazing book
By Allison Marshall
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It will be no surprise that this amazing book, which Caitriona has put together with no less than 226 Songs and Airs in such detail, will have a profound effect for future harpists. The impact of her research brings us a knowledge, helping to more easily understand the nuances of Carolan's music. She gives information, not just involving the politics of that era, but also provides each song with specific details, giving a new depth to interpretation. Please pass on to Caitriona my gratitude for such devotion, which will give so much enjoyment to both my students and myself. Also, Sylvia, a huge thank you to you, for making this possible.

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