Several of my favorite Celtic selections are available at Jango Radio online along with other great folk and classic pop favorites. Please visit and let me know what you think!
I can’t believe it’s been three months since I’ve posted. Since I retired from gigging and decided to concentrate on arranging music, I’ve been busier than ever.
My goal of arranging a second group of ten Broadway/popular songs was met back in April. Feeling as if I’d arranged and uploaded all of my best selections eligible for publication through SMP’s licensing agreement, I returned to Celtic selections, rediscovering songs I’d heard but never considered bringing to life on the harp.
My “popular” song compendium does not include Christmas selections, which are in a category of their own, at least as far as I’m concerned. I did include, though, a few Christian contemporary songs which I felt were “naturals” for the harp.
In the midst of all of this, two fantastic things occurred: SMP obtained licensing rights for 1,000,000 new songs…that’s right, one million! Because of the sheer volume, songs are being added about 5,000 at a time, providing people like me a plethora of music and genres to work through.
A few titles I asked SMP about at the end of May have already shown up in the new list — great songs from classic movies and Broadway shows. And there are more on the way!
The second thing: completely unexpected and unsolicited, I was contacted by a major publisher of harp music with a request to submit some of my work. I quickly asked myself, “Of everything I’ve done, what I should I send?”
I decided on something I thought would give them the best glimpse into what I’m about while at the same time providing an idea of my favorite songs. As requested, I provided a bio — rewritten and tailored to the audience — and other information available at my fingertips — literally.
The next day I received a “thank-you” with a promise that they’d be back in touch in the next several weeks.
Wow! While nothing is guaranteed, it certainly served as an impetus to continue arranging and expanding the harp repertoire.
And before we know it, the Christmas season will again be upon us, and it will be time to find some great new songs to arrange.
Thus far, I have uploaded an even dozen. I am hoping to bring that number to 20 since I like to work in groups of ten. Following that, I plan to publish more arrangements of obscure Celtic songs and a new Celtic collection similar to my “Ten Irish Songs for All Harps.”
Today I wish all the Irish — and those who aren’t but love the culture and the music — a most happy St. Patrick’s Day.
On that “note,” I am pleased to report that thus far, half my sales at SheetMusicPlus have been to individuals in Ireland!
(Jan. 23, 2018) — Since my Mel Bay book titled “Easy Scottish Harp Music” containing ten interpretations of little-known Scottish ballads was published in April 2009, I have adhered to the standard of groups of ten when producing new projects.
Beginning last summer, I published arrangements of 14 of my favorite Irish ballads, all learned by ear from vocal selections, then included ten of them in a new book, “Ten Irish Songs for All Harps,” published and copyrighted last fall.
Two new Scottish uploads will hopefully transform into ten this year, with another ten-song collection in the making. I am also planning a ten-song collection of hymns for lever and pedal harp not currently in the repertoire.
At the moment I am working on popular songs from Broadway shows and well-known composers in the “ArrangeMe” category. Thus far I have uploaded my arrangement of John Lennon’s “Grow Old With Me,” Joseph Kosma’s well-loved “Autumn Leaves,” and a favorite from the Broadway show “Carousel,” “You’ll Never Walk Alone” by Rodgers & Hammerstein.
When I was publicly performing over nearly three decades, I found that audiences, even casual ones at wedding receptions and parties, appreciated hearing songs with which they were familiar, and I often played a half-hour set of those at the end of an engagement to foster an environment where people could converse while enjoying songs in the background that they undoubtedly had heard before. These included the above selections along with many others from the repertoires of John Denver, Henry Mancini (Moon River), Leonard Bernstein (West Side Story), and a host of other musical greats.
There are a myriad of wonderful popular songs in my repertoire not mentioned here, and I plan to notate those from the ArrangeMe list over the remainder of the winter. You can therefore expect seven more for an even number of ten!
To my knowledge, these lovely songs, taken from Irish vocal repertoire, have never been arranged for harp, and all are playable on both lever and pedal harps with no accidentals.
In arranging them for performance, my goal was to bring out the unique melodies supported by a flowing and supportive bass line.
Reviews of my “Easy Scottish Harp Music” book, published in 2009 by Mel Bay, are here. The collection, along with a mini-biography, is featured at Harp Column Music. Vendors include Google Play, SheetMusicPlus, Kolacny Music, Amazon, eBooksDownloads, and the Atlanta Harp Center. As with my new Irish publication, it contains simple arrangements of ten little-known Scottish folk songs for all harps to enhance any player’s Celtic repertoire.
I expect to be publishing a new collection of Celtic songs over the winter.
It’s like stepping from one world into a new one…transitioning from traditional, physical performances to building an online presence through tools I never heard of before.
I’ve been learning, a little at a time.
This new journey began with CD Baby, which I had known about and where I now have a presence. An online distributor of all types of music, CD Baby sent my album to Spotify, Amazon MP3 and to Google Play, where my 2009 book of Scottish arrangements has been sold for some time, among other places.
My music is even available at a music distribution service called “Shazam“!
Whether or not I will experience large audiences or customers from these new forums, I don’t know, but I can at least share my music in this new way without having to load up, travel, set up or tune!
(Sep. 17, 2017) — I am very pleased to announce that my CD, “Celtic Reflections,” is now available at CD Baby in both downloadable and hard-copy formats:
Although I am still becoming acquainted with their services, the people there thus far have been professional, very prompt, and extremely helpful in getting my page up and running. I am sure thousands or even millions of musicians worldwide have experienced the same with this great online music outlet.
Please take a stroll over to find an incredible array of artists and their musical creations from every imaginable genre.
Thank you, CD Baby!
(Sep. 12, 2017) — Last week, the publisher of my arrangements, SheetMusicPlus.com, reminded its newsletter audience that musicians are already looking for Christmas music and associated titles have increased in sales in recent weeks.
At first it seemed to be too early to even think about snow, turkey, ornaments and the music that comes with it with the temperature still a balmy 80° during the day in these parts., However, with the effort it takes to notate, record and upload with an eye toward perfection and the time necessary for musicians to learn new music and play it at their best, it’s a credible statement.
I have therefore taken a break from notating all of my best-loved Celtic selections and turned to music for the upcoming season, beginning with “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas,” made possible through SheetMusicPlus’s “ArrangeMe” program which allows arrangers to legally produce their own interpretations of copyrighted music. That feature is a big “plus!”
Whether you are a beginning, intermediate, or advanced harpist, the selections I will be uploading over the next few weeks should offer you a new perspective on some familiar songs as well as new, easy-to-learn repertoire not previously arranged for the instrument to my knowledge.
Two songs falling into the latter category are already available.
Each year I used to scour all kinds of playlists to find public-domain but unique pieces to adapt for annual Christmas performances. It is my hope that these arrangements will provide that capability, with less effort, to others.
(Aug. 11, 2017) — After so many years of public performance, retirement is not easy.
Last month I decided to channel my musical energies into notating the many well-loved songs I played at all kinds of events over the years, many of which have not been arranged for the harp until now.
Sometimes the process is slow and arduous, while other songs are more easily put to “paper.” My purpose is to add easy-to-learn selections to the performing harpist’s repertoire which will appeal to all audiences.
I decided to first focus on traditional Irish tunes, the first ten of which will become a collection for greater value and ease in performing. All were learned by ear from radio shows and CDs and are in the public domain.
My current catalog of selections with sound clips for each can be found here:
Some of the songs can be heard in their entirety on my YouTube channel. In print, the songs are presented in their simplest form, but advanced players can embellish them if they choose, as I did on YouTube.
After completing the book of ten Irish songs, I plan to publish a number of obscure hymns not normally played on the harp as well as my arrangements of favorite popular songs through SheetMusicPlus’s “Arrange Me” feature.
Most of these selections were arranged upon special request by a customer, sometimes from a piano score and at other times by ear.
I never realized how much music I had until after I retired at the end of 2016, which makes the process longer rather than shorter. That might be a good thing, because while the performances may be over, the sharing of the music with others is not.