The harp : telenn or clairseach
The early Celtic harp came down to us through the beautiful instruments from the Middle Ages
preserved in Trinity College, Dublin and the National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh, and
carved in Brittany’s churches stone like the Quimper cathedral harp.
The harp (telenn in Breton, clairseach in Gaelic) has always been protected by Celtic society for
its harmonizing and unifying properties. It was held in high esteem and was found at kings’ and
chieftains’ courts, in the houses of bards and druids, at the heart of Celtic civilization.
Its distinctive features are balanced proportions, a one piece sound-box and bronze strings
played with the fingernails producing a crystalline and deep sound with a long resonance.
The instrument gave birth to a learned music system, unique in the West, and a wide repertoire
of musical pieces for all occasions of life.
After two hundred years of silence, it has now been rediscovered.
The Hent Telenn Breizh association’s purpose is the rediscovery of the historical harp of
Brittany, and the promotion and passing on of this beautiful universal heritage.
The Celtic harp History
Historical Celtic harp making
Playing techniques according to harp manuscripts and oral tradition
Passing on :
Harp classes and workshops
Traditional singing and Celtic chant classes and workshops
Organizing and publishing :
Concerts, fest-noz, conferences
Recordings and books edition
We give harp classes and workshops in Plouneour-Menez (29) and Cléguer (56).
We work with historical playing techniques using the fingernails on bronze strings.
Tutors : Violaine Mayor and Mikaël Herrou.
Traditional singing classes
Classes in traditional singing from Brittany (in Breton and French langages). Singing in the dance, singing for walking and singing walks, gwerz (old style ballads), kan ha diskan (singing for dancing).
Celtic chant from Middle Ages manuscripts.
Tutor : Violaine Mayor.
New : Members area
We are pleased to present the new members area. It is intended to be a resource site for harpers on bronze strings, as well as a place of exchange between Hent Telenn Breizh members.
You will find on the members area : a profile page, downloadable scores, videos, a forum...
Most publications are posted in French, but you are welcome to publish in your own language.
Join in and enjoy, so that our site reflects our common passion for the ancient Celtic harp !