Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a clarsach?

The clarsach (Scottish Gaelic clàrsach) is the Scottish small harp.  It is a lever harp, using levers to make semitone alterations to facilitate key changes (in contrast to the classical pedal harp, which uses pedals for the same purpose).  Find out more about the history of this magical instrument.

How do I get hold of one?

The clarsach really is a magical instrument (we’re not just saying that!), and hugely rewarding to learn: for a start, it’s impossible to make a nasty noise on it! 

The first step is to get hold of an instrument: The Clarsach Society offers its members very reasonably-priced clarsach hire.

If you’d prefer to own one outright, check out our listed makers & suppliers; or for second-hand instruments, take a look at our current list of clarsachs for sale*. 

*Please note: The Clarsach Society advertises harps for sale on behalf of private vendors; all transactions are made with these vendors directly.

How do I learn to play it?

There are clarsach teachers all over the country: but perhaps a good place to start is our Find a Tutor page. You can also get in touch with our Branches for local advice.

Where can I buy sheet music?

The Clarsach Society has led the field in publishing sheet music for the clarsach over the years.  All in-print Folios are available from Creighton’s Collection.

How do I join The Clarsach Society?

You can join The Society easily online.  Visit our membership page for full details.

What’s the history of The Society?

The Clarsach Society has a rich and fascinating history, and if you want to find out more about it, Stuart Eydmann’s meticulously-researched and lavishly-illustrated In Good Hands: The Clarsach Society and the Renaissance of the Scottish Harp is highly recommended.  Contact us to purchase a copy.

Who’s Who in The Society?

The Society is run by a team of hugely experienced and knowledgeable volunteers, nearly all of whom play the clarsach either professionally or for fun.  You can see a full list of the current office bearers here and contact us here.

Where can I read The Society’s Annual Report?

The Clarsach Society publishes its Annual Report retrospectively each year in the autumn.  You can view the 2021-22 Annual Report here.  If you want to consult a previous year’s report, please contact us.

What’s The Society’s link to the Royal National Mòd?

The Clarsach Society was founded at the close of the Mòd held at Dingwall in 1931, so their histories are inextricably entwined.

Find out more about The Society’s links to the Royal National Mòd or visit the Mòd’s own website.

What and when is the Edinburgh International Harp Festival?

The Edinburgh International Harp Festival (or EIHF for short) is the UK’s premier harping event: an annual celebration and gathering of musical talents from the global harp community, and The Society’s flagship event.

The hybrid 2023 Festival will take place from 7-11 April 2023.  Check the Festival website for up-to-date information.

What bursaries or support does The Society offer?

The Society’s avowed aim is to “to promote, encourage and develop the playing of the clarsach, nationally and internationally, through tuition, performance and publication”.

Each year, The Clarsach Society offers a scholarship award to encourage promising players at any level who have limited resources, financial or otherwise.

Find out more about the Scholarship Award.

What is the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award and how do I apply?

The Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award is an annual competition named in memory of John Macleod.

Composers aged between 16 & 25 years of age are invited to submit an original piece of music lasting no longer than 10, and no less than 8 minutes, suitable for either solo clarsach or clarsach and up to 3 other instruments and/or voices.

The award is £500 plus a premiere performance at the Edinburgh International Harp Festival.

Find out more about the Iain Macleòid Young Composer Award.

How do I contact The Society?

You can find the full contact details of The Clarsach Society on our Contact Us page.

You can find contact details on the Contact Us page.