O’Carolan’s Lament – Traditional – Easy Harp in G major with Chords

“O’Carolan’s Lament”, also called “Carolan’s Lament”, is in G major and counts as a slow air. The chords are marked, so this can be used as a treble lead sheet. If you are considering this for your local beginner harpist’s competition, my harp teacher told me that O’Carolan is so common that some competitions ban him from being played.

This arrangement of O’Carolan’s Lament is in no way inventive or unusual. However, because my harp teacher did everything by ear, I eventually wrote down all the song melodies she taught me and whatever left hand I improvised for my own records in case I come back in 10 or 20 years and cannot recall the pieces. Or whatever left hand pattern I decided on at the time. Non-classical pedagogy is very different.

I think the composer’s background is quite interesting: Turlough O’Carolan wrote a tremendous quantity of harp music, as most harpists know. He was blind, which sounds unusual but was apparently common for harpists back in those times in Ireland. Someone figured out that blind people could support themselves if they learned a trade and made sure a lot of them learned to play the harp. That was clever!

To download free sheet music for “O’Carolan’s Lament” arranged for harp in G major, click here:


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