Irish Harp Ornament of the Month #2 – The Cadential Shake

Excellent teaching for performing musicians.

Andrew Lawrence-King

So I hope you’ve all been practising the Long Shake [see Irish Harp Ornament #1 here]  and that it’s beginning to feel as if the fingers can do it ‘by themselves’, and starting to sound good. Don’t be discouraged if it takes quite a while to master these ornaments – they are not easy.

The late Mr Seybold, a celebrated performer on the Pedal Harp, being in a gentleman’s house in Belfast, in 1800, when Arthur O’Neill was present, declared his admiration of the old man’s shake on the Irish harp, which was performed apparently with the greatest ease and execution: admitting that he could not do it himself in the same manner on his own instrument, the shake being of the greatest difficulty on every species of harp.

Bunting 1840

Practise little and often. Practise slowly, getting everything absolutely right. And then take a risk, let loose a…

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