Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) logo

Highland Harping

(Annual Celtic Harp Competition at the Southern Maryland Celtic Festival)

This will be a Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) sanctioned competition. Music from all Celtic Nations will be permitted, but we will be using the SHSA Rules, which are published here. Our judge is Sharon Knowles.

2017 Highland Harping Registration

Note: DO NOT print the page with the QR Code (square scanning code) in anything other than black. Color QR Codes will not scan!

Competitors will be required to hold membership in SHSA. Membership forms will be available at the competition, or you can click the following link to obtain a SHSA Membership form.

When registering, please state your categories (e.g. Beginner, Novice, Apprentice, Journeyman, or Master). The definitions of the different categories and the competition requirements are detailed in the SHSA Rules. Competitors are responsible for reading and understanding the rules. If you have questions, contact the harping coordinator.

There will be NO on-site competition registration. You must register on the website, complete an online Hold Harmless Agreement prior to the day of the event. Children under the age of 18 years must have a parent or guardian sign an online Hold Harmless Agreement*, and be members of Scottish Harp Society of America. There is no extra entry fee again this year.harp graphic

Harpers arriving no later than 8:45 AM will be able to drive up to the harp venue and drop off your harps before moving your car to the parking area. If you arrive after the “drive on” to the park closes, you will be responsible for walking in from the parking area with your harp. You are strongly encouraged to arrive early enough to take advantage of the harp drop off.

The categories by Skill Level:

  • BEGINNER (has just begun learning to play harp): Plays one Scottish tune, either with or without music, so that the melody is recognizable.
  • NOVICE: Plays two tunes, with or without sheet music, from two different tune categories, with some degree of musicality. Novices receiving scores of 80% or more in two competition years must compete at the Apprentice level their next competition year.
  • APPRENTICE (received 80% at the Novice level in two competition years; OR is able to adequately perform in public): Plays two pieces – one an air and one of contrasting style, not necessarily at speed but with rudimentary Scottish ornamentation, rhythm, and expression. Apprentices receiving scores of 80% or more in two competition years must compete at the Journeyman level their next competition year.
  • JOURNEYMAN (received 80% at the Apprentice level in a prior year; OR is able to give an enjoyable performance in public, demonstrates a solid understanding of the Scottish idiom, uses technique, ornamentation, rhythm and appropriate style): Plays a 7-10 minute program of three selections in any order – an air, a strathspey (or similarly challenging tune), and a third contrasting piece. Any medley should be identified and introduced as such. Journeymen receiving scores of 80% or more in two competition years must compete at the Master level in subsequent competition years.
  • MASTER (received 80% as a Journeyman in two competition years; OR is a Scottish harper of the highest caliber with advanced harp technique and a thorough grasp of the traditional Scottish idiom, including phrasing, ornamentation and dance rhythms): Plays a 10-15 minute varied program of Scottish music, which might range from an air to a march/strathspey/reel set (MSR) to a Theme and Variation (T&V). Any medley should be identified and introduced as such. Master Harpers are seasoned performers of Celtic musics, using their own arrangements and possessing a large and varied repertoire. Harpers should be prepared to share these tunes as an additional part of their performance competition if the judge so chooses.

Rules for competition*:

  • All music must be Celtic (Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, Brittany, Isle of Man, Galicia).
  • Harpers of any age may choose to play just for the Judge’s comments, and need not be considered for a medal.
  • The Judge is NOT required to award medals if it is felt that the performances do not merit awards, or if there are too few competitors.
  • Competitors are responsible for knowing and complying with the rules. Consult the Scottish Harp Society of America Competitor’s Handbook for those rules.
  • The Judge’s decision is final.

On-site check-in begins at 9:30 PM.
Competition begins at 10:00 AM.

*All Festival Competition Participants can still download a ‘Hold Harmless Agreement’. Children under the age of 18 years can have a parent or guardian download and complete a ‘Hold Harmless Agreement’. Completed registration (by a participant, parent, or guardian over the age of 18) will constitute implied acceptance of the contents of this document.