The Evolution of the Irish Harp - virtual presentation
Dr Karen Loomis
We might be temped to think of the Irish harp as an immutable icon, its familiar form represented by the ‘Brian Boru’ harp depicted all across Ireland in a wide range of cultural, governmental, and commercial applications, from passports to pints. The reality is that, as a musical instrument, the Irish harp was adapted and redesigned multiple times over its long history to meet the changing needs of its musicians and the society in which they played. The evidence for this is in all of the surviving historical specimens, and recent research has enabled us to take a closer, more detailed look at some of these harps to see the changes taking place, and to place these in the context of the history of the instrument as a whole. In this lecture we will trace the evolution of the Irish harp from the medieval era to the 19th century, as it was shaped and reshaped by an ever-changing and tumultuous world.
Dr Loomis will be giving this talk via satellite with slides live in the venue.
Dr Loomis's research area is organology, with primary interests in European harps of the late medieval – early modern period, and x-ray computed tomography (CT) of musical instruments. She specialises in research of the historical harps of Ireland and Scotland, and has been leading groundbreaking scientific analysis of rare, early surviving specimens in collaboration with the National Museum of Scotland. Her work has led to ongoing research knowledge exchange with the Historical Harp Society of Ireland.