Turlough O'Carolan (the most common spelling of his name, but there were many) was a fine composer and harper whose legacy we reap today. Various researches have collected his compositions starting in the late 1700's and though we presume many are lost, at least 266 survive.

I've decided to declare a Carolan Year, and starting in September (well, truth be told, started already) I'll be finding and arranging pieces from his collection for all my students. And imagine if we kept track - imagine if collectively we could total 100 Carolan tunes being played. A Carolan marathon!

I'm posting this already, as I'm thinking some of you would like to get started finding your tunes to work on, or read more about his fascinating life, the study of which comprises two of my three favourite things - history and music.

In 1792 The Belfast Harp Meeting was held to gather 10 of the best harpers still active in Ireland. Edward Bunting, fresh out of music school, was hired to transcribe the tunes they played, for both by changing fashions, and political brutality the venerated tradition of trained, skilled, and noble harpers was dying out and their music was going "extinct" How fortunate we are that this event occurred, as Bunting began a life-long study of this music, and his field notes and publications are used to this day.

This is our overview page of some resources I'll be working from in the summer to prepare for this. No, I don't have ready arrangements for more than a dozen. I used to play his music more than teach it, but that will change!

Books with Carolan arrangements

Reference books


and you tube