Virtual Halsway Manor Festival Weekend

Virtual Harpas at Halsway - Nyckelharpa Festival at Halsway Manor 18th - 20th September 2020

Friday 18th September
20:00 - Session Download the dots to the tune so you can brush up on them in advance!
Tunes will be led by Vicki & Jonny, Ed Pritchard, John Cooke, Pete Rigg and Barry Ruffell Thanks guys for agreeing to lead some tunes! CLICK HERE for the tune pad!

Saturday 19th September
10:00 - 10:30 - Nyckelharpa Warmups on YouTube
10:30 - 10:50 Workshop by Kirsty Money in YouTube
10:45  - Doors open to the Zoom
11:00 Welcome by Vicki
11:00 - 12:00 - Workshop by Leif Alpsjö in Zoom
12:15 - 13:15 - Workshop by Thor Pleijel in Zoom
3:15 - 14:00 - Break for lunch
14:00-14:15 - Global Halsway Parade in YouTube
14:30-15:30 - Workshop by Peter Hedlund in Zoom
16:00 - 17:00 - Workshop by Vicki Swan in Zoom
20:00-22:00 -  Vicki & Jonny present their all new - Zoom Concert

Other YouTube workshops will be scheduled into the day and added soon.

Entry into Zoom will be by ticket, we have a maximum of 100 logins (which is probably more than enough, but as participants can come from anywhere in the world you need to register. Friday/Saturday day ticket - donation, minimum £1. The money will be split amongst workshop leaders. (Give what you can). Registration can be done in two ways:


The Saturday evening concert is a separate ticket as it's part of Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer's September Zoom Concert tour

 Friday 18th September 20:00 - 22:00 - Zoom Session 
Doors will open at 19:30 and to be honest - there is no finish time.
20:00 - Session Download the dots to the tune so you can brush up on them in advance!
Tunes will be led by Vicki & Jonny, Ed Pritchard, John Cooke, Pete Rigg and Barry Ruffell
Thanks guys for agreeing to lead some tunes! CLICK HERE for the tune pad!

Saturday 19th September
10:00 - 10:30 - Warm Up on YouTube and nyckelrhythmics.
Vicki will again don her lycra and give you a nyckelharpa based 'keep fit' warm up.
Join in or just watch from the sidelines!
Followed by improving your rhythm and general musicianship skills.
The playlist below will premiere on the 19th.

10:30 - 10:50 - Kirsty Money's Workshop

10:45 - Zoom room open and will be open most of the day, except for sound and technical checks. 11:00 - Zoom Welcome and introduction by Vicki.

11:00-12:00 - Zoom Workshop  - Leif Alpsjö Leif has been teaching nyckelharpa since the mid 1970s and has a whole world of experience. He runs a week long course up in the heart of Byss-Calle land, Älvkarleby in August each year. Click here to find out more about Leif.

12:15 - 13:15 - Zoom Workshop  - Thor Pleijel Thor is a player and maker of nyckelharpas and has kindly agreed to give a workshop on the wonderful silverbasharpa, which is coming ever more popular in the UK! Definitely not a workshop to be missed! Click here to find out more about Thor.

13:15 - 14:00 - Lunch / comfort break (zoom room stay open to chat)

14:00 - 14:15 - The global Halsway Parade - play-a-long. YouTube Premiere
This is in two parts! All the details are on the blog - CLICK HERE!

Part 1 - film yourself playing along to the Halsway Parade Guide track and send it to me to edit into one big mosaic video.
Part 2 - Join Vicki for the livestream Global Halsway Parade on YouTube!

14:30 - 15:30 - Zoom Workshop 3 - Peter Hedlund
Peter has been teaching the nyckelharpa for many years and created the first teaching video content back in 2000. RIkspelman, Worldchampion and Zorn Gold award holder find out more about Peter here.

16:00 - 17:00 - Zoom Workshop 4  - Vicki Swan Vicki has been crowdfunding an album of Dances from Terpsichore by Praetorius and this crowdfunder draws to a close on Saturday 19th. Vicki will introduce the album, teach some tunes from it and maybe even have the full crew in residence so we can do a play-along-in-Zoom. (Using some nyckelharpa magic to fix the ever present latency issue....) 17:30 Zoom room closes for sound checks and change of audience.

20:00 - 22:00 - Evening Concert in Zoom given by Vicki Swan & Jonny Dyer

Vicki's nyckelharpa extravaganza. (The exact name of the show isn't decided yet!) This will be a preview of a show that will guarantee seven different sorts of nyckelharpas. Histories and stories never heard before. It is still in production with only two weeks to go, so it could be a little random on the night.  What is guaranteed is around an hour and a half of good music and all seven nyckelharpas!

This is a preview evening / tech run. So we are just asking for donations. Get in touch via the google sign up form if you'd like to come:


After this date it goes on tour - virtually of course!

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World Nyckelharpa Day Goes Online

Hopefully every nyckelharpa player in the world will have noticed that it was World Nyckelharpa Day on Sunday 26th April. It was amazing! Because the hold world is in lockdown it basically went online and because it went online it meant that there was a truly global programme of events that spanned Japan, Germany, France, Sweden, the UK and over to the States to finish. So if you did miss the day - you can actually catch up on quite a lot of the events online. So use the clicky link and hop on over to the website and have a watch!


I'm taking a little rest and then will start to think about next year and how we can build on what we started in 2020! I hope you enjoyed the day itself and I hope you enjoy the "catch up" (if you didn't). Keep an eye out though - we're going to try to make next year bigger and better!

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World Nyckelharpa Day

I am really excited to announce that we have World Nyckelharpa Day next year (and every year after we hope!). It's a really simple concept - this is an opportunity for all nyckelharpa players around the world to go out onto the streets, into concerts or online and shout about the nyckelharpa from the rooftops! So it's not one or two major concerts - it's the knock-on-effect of as many people as possible everywhere to get this wonderful instrument trending. We're going to do this with the hashtag #worldnyckelharpaday

There are more details on the website World Nyckelharpa Day.  Different social media outlets have been set up. Follow and Join in!

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Easy Fundraising for Halsway Manor

We do a lot of workshops at Halsway Manor and they are fundraising to be able to complete some expansion building works. When this is done it will make a very large difference to the size of the courses we can run. They have signed up with Easy Fundraising, which is a really simple easy way to help raise funds for Halsway Manor without it costing you a penny! All you have to do is sign up and then assign Halsway Manor as your recipient and every time you buy something by clicking through from Easy Fundraising, that retailer makes a donation. Simples! Click the link have a look around and sign up and help Halsway expand!!



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Harpas at Halsway Nyckelharpa Festival 2019

The festival weekends just keep getting better and better. David and Daniel were two amazing players! We're still yet to reach the magical number of 50 players together - but there's no rush... maybe next year! We had several makers over this year from the continent. Aurelie Georges, bow maker. Annette Osann, nyckelharpa maker, Tino Mixan, bow maker and of course the amazing Olle Plahn, instrument maker.

Next year the weekend is a week later - 18th - 20th September 2020. It means that for one year there is no clash with Bromyard Folk Festival (where we hope to be) and also Medieval Music in the Dales. We have not, as yet, made any plans for who we plan to have as the tutors. This is partly due to uncertainty as to what is going to happen with visas for visiting tutors. It is unlikely that we can afford two sets of visas for two tutors. We are also likely to see an increase of 20% on all instruments from the EU due to import duty. Although this site tries to be apolitical, due to the very collaborative nature of the instrument and its global community, these are very unsettling and sad times.

So let's look to a future where the nyckelharpa does in fact take over the world. It has, as we speak already started. World Nyckelharpa Day is set to be on 26th April next year. You'll be hearing plenty about this as the months go on! I am running lots and lots of beginner classes all over the place: Essex, Lancaster, Hertfordshire, Northumberland, Scotland and of course Somerset - so you have no excuse not to come along and have a go! More about both of those things later!

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Advanced Nyckelharpas at Halsway 2019

The week went by in a complete flash! It makes me wonder how we fit everything in to a weekend event when the weeks go by so fast. This year we built upon the nyckelrhythmics, this is building up quite nicely now! (You'll have to come on a course to find out more about them, but sufficed to say it usually involves props!)

The week was shared with Paul Hutchinson who was exploring music from old manuscripts, the favourite of which being The Maniac. It certainly was a maniacal tune that's for sure! We attempted it and made for a great exercise in working in A major. For me the one of the highlights was being able to bring my newly acquired silverbasharpa and teaching tunes on that. It's such a huge rich sound with all the strings thrumming away that everyone will want one!

Next year we have moved the dates of the advanced week, to March. This means that logistically we will be sharing the Manor with Jonny Dyer doing Scandinavian Accordion tunes and also Emmanuel Pariselle building melodeons. It's going to be epic, so sign up now! Spaces are limited!

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Beginners/Intermediate Weekend March 2019

Another amazing weekend! 22 of us, including participants from Belgium and a tutor from Canada. Lots of new people taking up the nyckelharpa. I decided to run my nyckelrhythmics, develop the cups and bring back into play a harpafour. I had so much fun and the weekend was gone in a flash!

The polska cups is something I used to help develop dexterity, timing and working together. What makes this version special is that it is a polska. Watch the video to see it in action. If you fancy learning it, full instructions are on the blog site. Click here!

So now it's full steam ahead on lesson planning for June and September.  There is still a space left for the advanced course in June. September is filling fast and we'll soon be into camping/dorm rooms only.  In the mean time here are some photographs from last weekend...
See you soon!

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Happy Christmas! – Christmas Tune PDF

I'm typing this from the road. It's been a long excellent month and three gigs left to go before we get to take a break for a couple of days. We found ourselves in the very pretty grotto at Warwick Castle last week and so I sat down and filmed a bunch of Christmas carols, so from tomorrow I'm going to release one video a day until Christmas. Add that to the tunes I've shared out over the last few years it's starting to build into a nice little collection. So I've put them all into a pdf in order of difficulty for you to download and play. Of course you won't had had all the videos until Christmas day - but that means you have a new carol every day between now and then! So CLICK HERE for the pdf!
Enjoy and Happy Christmas!

List of Carols in order of Difficulty
14.12.18 - Good King Wenceslas
01.12.17 - The Holly and the Ivy
22.12.18 - Oh Little Town of Bethlehem
25.12.15 - Nu Tändas Tusen Juleljus
22.12.17 - När Juldagsmorgon Glimmar
02.12.16 - Nu Är Det Jul Igen
09.12.16 - Mary Free
15.12.17 - Down in Yon Forest
16.12.16 - On Christmas Night - Sussex Carol
07.12.18  - Jingle Bells
23.12.16 - Jul, Jul Strålande Jul
08.12.17 - Gläns Över Sjö och Strand
21.12.18 - I Saw Three Ships
24.12.18 - In Dulci Jubilo
23.12.18 - Deck the Hall
25.12.18 - Ding Dong Merrily on High

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We have badges. Much like I decided I really wanted wristbands at Halsway I got it into my head that I really wanted to make badges. I also knew that I wanted a nyckelharpa design, but I'm quite rubbish at drawing! So when the wonderful Daria Kulesh included a little Siennaharpa as part of our new album cover (you'll have to wait for the rest of the cover!) I knew that, that little angel was going to make a perfect little 25mm button badge. So at the moment we have two designs. The little angel by Daria and also the moraharpa heart sound hole. I've set them up with their own page where you too can be the proud owner of a badge and sport it with pride.
CLICK HERE to go to the badge page and order yours!


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Tutors Revealed for Harpas at Halsway September 2019

Hello all!
It is now my great pleasure to announce the tutors for September 2019! As we all know (or if you didn't, then you do now!) the nyckelharpa is ultimately descended from the mighty kontrabasharpa. This year I can reveal we have two amazing nyckelharpa players who specialise in kontrabasharpa. The might Daniel Pettersson and the amazing David Eriksson. Don't take my word for it - watch these two youtube playlists of them playing and get on the phone and book your place at Halsway Manor right now! (If you're a total beginner on the nyckelharpa - get yourself booked onto the March weekend to be able to come to September.)
Click Here for more details.
See you there!
Phone Viv at Halsway Manor to book your place: +44 1984 618274
(Halsway haven't as of time of writing put the event on their website yet - but bookings are open)

About Daniel Pettersson - (Sweden)

Daniel Pettersson comes from Västerbotten, a northern region of Sweden. Having grown up in the world of traditional music, he is now recognized as a very fine interpreter and innovator of northern repertoire. Daniel studied at the Eric Sahlström institute and at the "folkhögskola" in Malung. He gives concerts and teaches throughout Sweden and abroad. He has featured on several recordings and collaborated with musicians of different styles. Daniel was awarded the title of "nyckelharpa world champion" in the year of 2000. In 2014 he became the first to earn the title of Riksspelman, interpreting the Västerbottnian repertoire on the kontrabasharpa (a 1800-century-style Nyckelharpa).

About David Eriksson - (Sweden)

David comes from Västerbotten in the north of Sweden but now lives in the north part of Uppland. He is a member of several bands and constellations and he frequently appears as a guest artist in many different kinds of bands and genres. He is a professional nyckelharpa player and he studied at Eric Sahlström Institute for nyckelharpa, and continued with a Bachelor’s degree and pedagogy degree at the Royal College of Music in Stockholm. He is a “Riksspelman”, has won the Swedish championship in older traditional nyckelharpas, and has received several other scholarships and awards. 2016, he won the worldchampionship on the kontrabasharpa. Beside the bands, he works as a teacher, composer, writer and a freelance musician and he is also a nyckelharpa maker. More at: and

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2019 here we come!

It's been an awesome 2018 for the nyckelharpa. Lots of lovely new players. So I'm now ramping up to start all over again in 2019!

We kick off the year in January with a complete beginners day at Benslow Music Trust in Hitchin in Hertfordshire on Saturday 12th January. Spaces are limited to the number of instruments I have (as of today I'm not sure how many spaces are left - I'll update this entry when I find out!

In February I'm travelling up to Morpeth in Northumberland where I'll be running two days of workshops. The format isn't 100% set yet - but at the moment it's looking complete beginners on Saturday 9th February and more advanced on Sunday 10th. Once I know who is interested I'll devise a differentiated plan so that everyone gets the most out of the two days.

In March I'm back at Halsway Manor for the beginners/intermediate weekend. Instruments are still available for this. Once we have more people signed up I'll be able to book in a second tutor. So get booking!! The earlier the better!

In June I'm running another advanced weekday course. This year I included musicianship skills, with Dalcroze Eurythmics inspired sessions and the infamous cups routine. I'll be moving both these forwards and have already started compiling new and cooler ideas.

September sees us back at Halsway Manor. We've only just had this years festival weekend, so I'm taking a small break before booking tutors for the weekend. Watch this space!

I'll be putting in smaller one day workshops here in Essex through the year, so keep checking back. If you have four friends that would like a workshop day it is possible to book one at your house. So get in touch!

12.01.19 - Benslow Music Trust Complete Beginners Day, Hitchin
09.02.19 - Beginners Workshop in Morpeth, Northumberland
Instruments are available to borrow
10.02.19 - More Advanced Workshop in Morpeth Northumberland
22.03.19 -  Halsway Manor - Beginners and Less Confident players weekend
Instruments are available to borrow
03-07.06.19  - Halsway Manor - More Advanced  Players four day course
06-08.09.19 - Halsway Manor Full Nyckelharpa Festival Weekend

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Harpas at Halsway Nyckelharpa Festival 2018

We've just come back from another amazing weekend at Halsway Manor. Another 45 nyckelharpa players. We had the amazing Torbjörn Näsbom and Josefina  Paulsson tutoring this year and they gave a formidable concert on the Saturday night. But it wasn't without issue. Watch the video to see why we needed to call out Barnaby from Midsummer Murders!

I also gave some workshop sessions on different instruments, the 1408 Siennaharpa, the 1526 Moraharpa and the kontrabasharpa. Watch out for more of these instruments we're going to be increasing in number very quickly I think!

Bookings have now opened on all three courses next year. If you're after that elusive single ensuite room then best get on the phone to Viv at Halsway straight away! If you want to borrow a nyckelharpa in March - get your request in to me right away!!

Next year there won't be a class for people who have never played before in September - so get yourself along to March or one of my other dates!

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The Year of the Scaffolding

I've just come home from an amazing week at Halsway Manor. This is the 11th course that I've run at this amazing place and every time I come I fall more and more in love with it. The idea of this particular course was to give people something to really get their teeth into. A week of instrument learning - yes, we did tunes, but the idea was for me to really teach the instrument and help people get the best out of it.

This was a week course to allow us to really get down
to important technique and not turn everyone's brain to mush! The group size was kept small so that I could give everyone more attention and give some 1-2-1 lessons. We had time to work on musicianship skills, go for an evening trip out to the amazing Pebbles Tavern in Watchet and even go up into the Quantocks to blow the cobwebs away.

It felt good to be putting together some hefty teaching materials and I've got some good ideas of how to take them forwards to next year's advanced course. The date is already decided. 3rd - 7th June 2019.

Numbers will be limited to 10 again, so if you'd like to come get your name down on my list now! I suspect there may be a waiting list....

In between now and then though we have the full festival weekend in September and the next beginners/intermediate next March! We've got another 3 spaces to fill on the September course before I declare it full, so get in touch now!!
Hope to see you soon!

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Advanced Nyckelharpa Course at Halsway

In three days time I will be at Halsway Manor again, this time teaching a more advanced nyckelharpa course. This week is adding the third stage of nyckelharpa tuition - the advanced people. I've tried to make this a real instrument learning course, something to really give my instrument music teaching skills a good workout.

I've plotted and planned and scheduled and worked quite hard to create something a little bit different. Sometimes learning music isn't about the musical instrument itself so a lot of my development time has been devising different ways of teaching.

We'll see what happens - but as long as everyone comes out the other side being better musicians and able to get around their instrument better, then my job will be done! See you all on the other side!

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There's been a lot of talk about GDPR recently and everyone making sure they're compliant. So I decided it was time to do something a little more official with my mailing list! So far I've only used a little piece of software that I can use to email a lot of people all at once, which is great for contacting all the people coming to a particular course, but to do the main mailings out to advertise weekends I've decided to make it more official and use mail chimp. So if you'd like to be emailed about the Halsway courses - sign up now.

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