Cynthia Cathcart:Playing the Unique Sound of the Clàrsach

Cynthia Cathcart takes us on a journey through the mystical sound of the  Clàrsach.

The Clàrsach is different from the regular Classical harp in a sense that it has  smaller size  and creates a unique sound. It has that distinctive perky and almost sharp edge when played by the fingernails. It is a tone color that resembles the harpsichord yet has the nuance of the piano. It creates a visual imagery that calls to mind tiny silver coins being tossed inside an empty well. Resonant but light..always brilliant and ancient.

Cynthia Cathcart  mastered this instrument by herself. It was  accident that brought this  into her hands. She taught herself how to play  and passion made her do research on the techniques as well as the musical repertoire for this instrument. Her classical training in the field of  piano and organ made her apply the discipline to the Clàrsach yet never losing that folk honesty that is always present in Celtic music.

She teaches  and has released two recordings. Learn more about her, the instrument and samples from her website :

You can purchase the CDs here:

Cynthia Cathcart is an award winning performer and instructor on the clarsach, the wire-strung harp of Ireland and the Highlands and Islands of Scotland.

The brilliant revival of this ancient instrument is in part due to the uniquely bell-like resonance of brass, silver and gold harp strings, producing a sound unlike any other harp.

Cynthia strives to bring the joy of making music on these precious strings to anyone who is drawn to their sound. She offers private lessons in her studio near Washington DC, and also attends various events throughout the year to give workshopspresentations and concerts.

As well as helping students, Cynthia’s booksarticles and recordings will delight lovers of this strange, special music.


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