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Friends of Wighton

workshop From October 2006 to March 2007 Simon Chadwick was resident musician at the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee.

The Centre houses the Wighton Collection, an internationally important collection of early Scottish printed music. Assembled in the 19th century by Dundee merchant Andrew Wighton, it contains over 700 titles.

Simon's work during the six months residency was to explore the old Gaelic harp music in the collection. He presented his findings in a series of recitals, talks and workshops.

The first event was a lunchtime recital hosted by the Friends of Wighton on Wednesday 4th October 2006. Other events were:

performance Wednesday 18th October 2006, 1.15-1.45pm
Illustrated talk. What is an early clàrsach anyway? A short talk, illustrated with slides and live musical demonstrations, on the history of this prestigious instrument, its music, its players, its decline and extinction in the 19th century and its rediscovery in the 20th.

Wednesday 15th November 2006, 1.15-1.45pm
Workshop. Two brave volunteers were taken through the beginnings of the old harpers' syllabus, finding out how the playing technique of this notoriously difficult instrument works.

Wednesday 20th December 2006, 1.15-1.45pm
Lunchtime Recital. "Take a break from the festive frenzy with a selection of old Irish and Scottish harp music". This recital highlighted the Irish repertory and featured a new replica of the 18th century "Downhill" harp.

Wednesday 17th January 2007, 1.15-1.45pm
Lunchtime Recital featuring old Gaelic harp music played on a replica of the medieval Queen Mary harp.

Wednesday 21st February 2007, 1.15-1.45pm
Presentation/demonstration of different historical harps, and an explanation of the various repertorys played on them.

Saturday 24th March 2007, 11am-4.30pm
Wighton Gaelic harp day. An all-day series of concerts, demonstrations and hands-on workshops.

11.00 - 11.45 am
Recital - early Irish harp music played on a replica 18th century Irish Cláirseach.

12.00 - 12.30 pm
Gunn title page Illustrated talk - history of harp music in Scotland and Ireland, comparing different replica instruments and illustrated with pictures and photographs.

1.30 - 2.30 pm
Hands-on session - your chance to play a replica medieval clàrsach. Book in advance for this practical session, or just come along and watch the instruction from a safe distance!

2.45 - 3.15 pm
Tales and anecdotes - amusing stories about the old harpers.

3.30 - 4.15 pm
Recital - early Scottish Gaelic harp music played on a replica of the “Queen Mary” clàrsach with gold strings.

Between events (11am - 4.30pm)
Exhibition of replica early Gaelic harps, and facsimiles of harp music from books in the Wighton Collection.

All events were held in the Wighton Heritage Centre, Dundee Central Library, Wellgate, Dundee, DD1 1DB. Admittance Free.

Click here for forthcoming events (listed on tradmusic.com)


top, Simon Chadwick leading the early clàrsach workshop in the Wighton Centre, 24th March 2007.

Middle, playing the replica Queen Mary harp, to demonstrate a point, 15th November 2006.

Bottom, Title page from John Gunn, "An Historical Enquiry into the Performance of the Harp in the Highlands of Scotland..." Edinburgh, 1807. (Wighton 10405)


Downloads (PDF format)

A4 Poster for events Oct-Dec 06 (316k)

A4 Poster for events Dec 06 - March 07 (316k)

A6 fliers for events Oct-Dec 06 (1.2MB)

A6 fliers for events Dec 06 - March 07 (1.2MB)

A6 fliers for Harp Day March 07 (1.2MB)

4th Oct 06 concert programme (320k)

18th Oct reading list (196k)

20th Dec 06 concert programme (356k)

17th Jan 07 concert programme (308k)

21st Feb 07 handout (392k)

24th March 07 Irish recital programme (64k)

24th March 07 Scottish recital programme handout (64k)