Music for a small harp

by Dwight Newton

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In the mid 1980's, my friend Tom Creech and I began making Celtic harps. We built six small 22-string harps based on a stringing pattern designed (or calculated) by Mark Bolles from a series of articles by him about harp physics in the Folk Harp Journal. Tom did most of the basic research and design work and I did a lot of the woodworking, especially on the pillars and heads, and I also did most of the stringing up. Tom later built a couple of larger harps on his own. You can see pictures of these and other instruments I've built on my lutherie page.

I wrote these tunes on the small harp. For only having three diatonic octaves (ascending from middle C), I discovered a tremendous versatility in this humble instrument. I offer this music for the enjoyment of whoever finds it pleasing, but please don't republish without my permission.

I am very interested in knowing what people think of these tunes. Send comments via the Oriscus Comments Form. Thanks.


  • Creech's Lamination - So called because Tom and I used cherry veneer plywood for our harps. MIDI File   |   PDF
  • Chernigov - The title comes from a city in Ukraine that was a center for the manufacture of ethnic musical instruments, especially the bandura - a large zither-like instrument. I originally wrote a version of this tune on the bandura. MIDI File   |   PDF
  • Pirouette - A fantasia. MIDI File   |   PDF
  • Ragamuffin - Syncopated notes in this tune reminded me of a rag. I played this tune for a Canadian television crew that was doing a piece on the Omega Workshops in upstate New York. They taped the whole thing with close-ups on my hands, but I have no idea if was ever used.
    MIDI File   |   PDF

Files were created in Finale 2000 and exported to PDF and MIDI formats.