A lost 18th-century harp method re-discovered

Harpist Hannah Lane has written a fascinating post for the Special Collections blog on a Rare Music Collection acquisition for 2017. This 18th-century harp method, Michel Corrette’s Nouvelle méthode pour apprendre à jouer de la harpe (1774), was thought to have been lost since scholars had been unable to locate any reference to a copy.

The acquisition was made in support of an international ARC Discovery Project initiated by University of Melbourne Senior Lecturer in Music Dr Erin Helyard, entitled Performing Transdisciplinarity.

Hannah Lane, who is also Dr Helyard’s research assistant, has expert knowledge as a performer on the ‘single-action harp’, the instrument that is the focus of this method. The post covers the method’s author/composer, Corrette, the single-action harp itself and the social context of the instrument. Playing the harp was a highly-regarded skill for young aristocratic women at this time in France, one of whom is depicted on the frontispiece of the new acquisition. More

Print of lady playing a harp in 18th century costume

Image: Frontispiece detail from Michel Corrette’s Nouvelle méthode pour apprendre à jouer de la harpe, 1774. Rare Music Collection, University of Melbourne