Ceol, Volume 2, Issue 1, Page 17

Ceol, Volume 2, Issue 1, Page 17
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Breandán Breathnach
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Breandán Breathnach
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CorrespondenceSir,A qucstion which often occurs to me is: What connectioncxists, if any, between the title of a reel and the music itself?Obviously, many of the titles are dedications or mere labels.We are familiar too with the yariation of titles in differentlegions of the country. I have in mind, however, certain instanceswhere thc title suggests a musical theme. For example, the musicof Drowsy Maggie evokes the image and atmosphere of anold lady dozing by an open turf fire. In the first sixteen barswe hear the broken drone of her breath and in the last sixteenbars a gentle stirring in her sleep carrying a hint of a contentedsigh.Again, isnt Roaring Mary a musical commentary on agarrulous and quarrelsome oul wan ? Listen to her phlegmaticgrowling in the opening bars and the almost unmusical rise tothe top G suggesting a shout of reproval at some trifle beforeshe resumes her irate soliloquy.A more obvious onomatopoeia occurs in the well-knownchicken reel which offers a fund of possibilities to a seems a pity that more traditional musicians are not morealive to the musical meaning contained in each tune. If theystrove to elicit and interpret this meaning with feeling they woulddo more to awaken a wider interest in our native trad. Toooften a reel is regarded as nothing more than a complicatedfinger exercise and in too many quarters the criterion of goodplaying is the number of notes-frills and tripletswhich a playercan fit into a bar and the soeed at which he can execute them.Surely music must be evocative, colourful and full of wellarticulated meaning before it becomes worthy of the name. Icontend that our music has all of these qualities. The basiccharacteristic of all melodies, fast and slow, is the bitter-sweetecho of a long-suffering and indomitable peoplea subtle blendof merriment and pain, like a smile in the face of adversity.N. Sharkey (Monkstown, Co. Dublin).An Piarsach is an sean-nsWe hope that traditional singing and traditional recitationexactly as we know them, will always be heard in Ireland, bythe cottage fires in the winter evening.We would not have them on the stages of great theatres; weuonld not bring them into the brawl of cities.PiIraic MacPiarais (Claidheainh Solais, 9-6-06). T. de Bh.1 1 f , 1tooacco ieai isfl t enougn.It takes a blend ofV rgin Ia tobaccos to ri iak ea cigarette as good asGold HakeMADE IN THE REPUBLIC OF IRELANDGFE 196J3031
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