Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 15

Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 15
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periodical Publisher
Clementi & Co., London, 1809
periodical Editor
Edward Bunting
periodical Title
Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland
volume Number
issue Content
4to all others . The attention of this people to mu-sical instruments, I find, said he. worthy of com-mendation, in which their skill is beyond comparison,superior to that of any nation I have secn. For inthese, the modulation is not slow and solemn, as in theinstruments of Britain to which we are accustomed, but the sounds are rapid and precipitate, yet, at the sametime, sweet and pleasing. It is wonderful how, in suchprecipitate rapidity of the fingers, the musical propor-t tions are preserved, and by their art faultless through-out: in the midst of their complicated modulations, aud most intricate arrangement of notes, by a rapidity sosweet, a regularity so irregular, a concord so discordant,the melody is rendered harmonious and perfect, whether the chords of the diatesseron (the fourth), or diapente(the fifth) are struck together; yet they always begin ina soft mood, and end in the same, that all may be per-fected in the sweetness of delicious sounds. They euteron, and again leave their modulations with so much suls tlety; and the tinklings of the small strings sport withso much freedom nuder the deep notes of the bass,C delight with so much delicacy, and sooth so softly, that the excellence of their art seems to lie in concealing it.Concealed, it pleases hot detected, shames.This description so perfectly answers to the airs nowpuhlished, that it strengthens the conclusion, that theyhave not suffered in the descent, but have come down tous in the very forms in w lsich we wish now to transmitthem to those who shall succeed us t.In Cambrensis we find also the following passage: Itis to be observed, however, that Scotland and [ Vales; the latter, in order to disseminate the art; the former, in consequence of intercourse and affinity; strive with rival skill to emulate Ireland in music. Ireland, in-deed, employs and delights in only two instruments,the Harp and the Tabor t; Scotland iu three, theCCHarp, Tabor, and Chorus ; and Wales, in the Harp,the Pipes, and the Chorus. The Irish prefer strings of brass wire to those made of thongs Q.It is a corroboration of the accuracy of Cambrensis,that opwards of two centuries before he wrote (aboutA. P. 942) the same instruments had been given to theWelsh, as appears by the institutions of king Howel Dha(liowel the Good). Every chief l,ard to whom theprince shall grant an office, the prince shall provide hina an instrument; a harp to one, a Crwth to another,and P i pes to a third; and when they die, the instrument ought to revert to the prince We have inthis a certaissty of the Pipes being a very old instrumentin Wales, and almost a certainty that neither the Irish orScottish High landers had them in 1187, when Cambrensiswrote. Morfydds Pipes in Wales, we are told, werespoken of even in the seventh centnry.Cantbrensis con-tinues: In the opinion of many at this day, Scotlandhas not only equalled, but even far excels her mistress, Ireland, in musical skill; wherefore they seek there also the fonntain, as it were, of the art aaIn Ireland, bishops, abbots, and holy men are ac* In nnssicis soLt5M (a) instrsmesstis eommessdaiilem inrenia pen /is 1st /os diligent/are, in ga/bus pras osnni ,satione, qrsans F/dinsus, incomparabi liter instrueta est. Noes cairn in his, sicut i s BasrAaearscta, gut l e ss asse t /i aosaas, iastrarneatis tarda et morose cot rnedulatio, eerarn ce/oxat prerreps, suaeis lumen et joeanda Sonoritas .Mirssns quad i t s tanta tarn .Praripiti digitorzssa rapaeitate, rsusira sercit,sr propertio, et arte peromaha iedemni, inter cci op a/os modolsc, organaqae asssltipltrzter intrieatss, tarn soari re/sedate, tests thspars part/ate; t ess disesrdi concordid, consanaredditur et eompletar melodia. Sea dial essersne, sea asape,ste ehorde concrepesst, sernper tasssess ats [ 13]. 31st /i inc/p/oat et in idesa redeant, atcondo sub jacandw sonoritatis dairedine camp/cantor. Tcias salt/liter snodalss iatraat; at exeunt; sirqae sa l obtass gressieris elsord,e sosutis, procilium tinnitus licentius ludast, late,stias, dslectant, laeiriasque dernulceat at pars artis sssaxiosa cidrator artern relare teas qasissSi la/eat, prosit ; feral ars deprensa. [ Cambrensio Topog. Hih. distinct III. c. a.t Gibson, bishop of London, translator of Camdens Britannia, relates the following anecdote of a harper: Near Ballyshannon were, notmany years ago, dug up two pieces of gold, discovered by a nsethod very rensarkab lr. Tlse bishop of Derry happening to be at dinner, there camean Irish harper and onng an old song to the Harp. His lordship not understanding Irish was at a loss to know the nseauissg of the song, but, upon enquiry, lse found the substance of it to be this: that in such a place (naming the very spot) a nian of a gigantic stature lay buried, and that over his lsreast and back were plates of pure gold, and on his fingers rings of gold, as large that an ordinary nsan could creep tlsroogh thens;the place was so exactly described, that two persons tlsere presesst were tempted to go iii quest of the gnlslen prize which t lse harpers song had poioted out to them. After they had dug for souse time they found two tlsin pieces of go 1 s 1 . [ The forsn and size of these are represessted in Sir.1. Wares Antiqoities of Ireland. ] This discovery encouraged theus next snorning to search for tlse remainder, but they could meet with nothing inure. Two holes in the middle of the piece seesn to have beess made for tise snore cnnvenieut tying it to the arm or some part of the body.[ Camd.Brit. Ed. a7ea, p. t4st.]This incident reminds us of the tradition, that in the reign of Brien Boirornshe, a young lady of great beanty, adorned with ,jesvels and in costlydress, undertook ajouroey from one end of the kingdom to the other, from the north of Ireland to 7 asss Ctia dEan in the sooth, witls a wanrl onlyin her hand, at the top of which was a ring of exeeesling great value. Such an impression Isad the laws and governmetst of sls:,t nsunareh sssade u sathe minds of tise people, that no attempt was made upon her honour, nor was she rubbed of her clothes or jewels. [ Wisrners l ust, of Ireland,In Trevisas translation of Higdens Polychrunieoo of the tlsirteenth century, in describissg anciesst Iriah manners, we find this observationScotland, the daughter uf Ireland, use Harp, Tymhre (Timbrel), and Tabur. Netheless, Irishmess be conning its two nsansser issstrusnessts ofmusic, in Harp and Tysnbre, that is armed with wire assd strings of brass, in which iustrnmeuts, thu they play hastily ass 1 swiftly, they makeright merry harmony and melody with they/se (those) tones, cud warbles, assd notes, and begiss witls ic ass is, and play secretly nuder dins sossnd under the great strings, and turn again unto the same, so tlsat tIme greater part of tlse craft hidetis the craft, as it wood stein as thaugla the craft sohid, shoud he ashamed, if it were take. It bus been alleged the chars was the drones of a hagpipe, also, t lsse it was a kirsd of dossble tru mpet.I I See figure of the Harp, Plates 1. 1 1. and III , Tabor IV. No. 7. Crwsh IV. Ns. ti Leges Wallicn.Natanda,sm rue, quad Scotia Es Gust /ia tsar prepagatisssis it/a essssrnestisss/s 55 stffi sitssti gatiss lit/es ssiarn is assdalia ann/a imjtari at/aster(a) T lsis expressiass alsesvs, at least, t lsat the author did not sss:te nuder a Isartal bias towards trelassd.
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