I have recently commissioned Davy Patton to build me a Mediæval clàrsach (wire-strung harp) based on the famous Trinity College Harp, in Dublin. The decoration will honour and reflect my relationship with my husband, Ian MacKenzie. We are still in the process of developing the design but the building of the instrument should begin mid-April and be finished by Michaelmas. I hope to be touring with it in 2012.
Traditionally, the clàrsach was placed on the left and played with the left hand on the treble strings, right hand in the bass--there are wear marks on all the existing instruments to indicate that this is the case. However, since the revival of Celtic harp, most people reverse this, playing the Celtic harp as if it were a piano--with the right hand on the high strings.
As a point of interest, I would like to know how many people play the wire-strung Celtic harp in the old style, on their left shoulder? Please get in touch if you are a 'left-sider', placing the clàrsach over your heart.