O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 73

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 73
Favourite | Share | Feedback


periodical Publisher
Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1913
periodical Editor
periodical Title
O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians
volume Number
issue Content
44. Irish Minstrels and Musiciansthis manner was formed his singularly interesting and invaluable collection ofancient Irish airs, the great majority of which but for his instinctive care wouldhave been buried in oblivion; the old inhabitants of the districts where he foundthem in use, being long since dead, and the younger generations having emigratedor dispersed. The first step in each locality visited was to make inquiry concerningpeople who could sing or play music, or even whistle tunes. So gentle and unas-suming was Dr. Petrie and so charming his personality that he found no difficultyin gaining the confidence of the people who met him by appointment in somecommodious kitchen generally, when he noted down such tunes as caught his fancy.Not a few of his melodic treasures were obtained from ballad singers.Invariably gifted with fine voices they attracted crowds at every fair and marketin those days, and contributed more than any other influence to keep alive and incirculation the simple melodies of the peasantry.Manuscript collections of music that otherwise might have never gained thelight of publicity proved a prolific source of pleasure and profit to Petrie, such asthose compiled by Mr. Patrick ONeill of Kilkennv in 1785, and the amiablesagart, Father M. Walsh, P. P. at Iveragh, County Kerr -, who, is is said, was theoriginal of A. P. Graves Father OFlynn.How or when the subject of this sketch learned to play the fiddle and theflageolet, or by whom taught does not appear to be a matter of record, but weknow that he was proficient on both, and that he rendered the native musicenchantingly on the former instrument, but Played only to a sympathetic audience.Furthermore he had little patience with the affectation of the would-be qualityof the provinces who favored quadrilles and gallopes instead of the native dances.But what a monstrosityto dance quadrilles in Galway ! he exclaims. Danceindeed, no but a drowsy walk and a look as if they were going to their grand-mothers funerals. Fair Galwegiansfor assuredly you are fairput aside thesickly affectation of refinement which is equally inconsistent with your naturalexcitability and with the healthy atmospheric influences by which you are sur-rounded. Be yourselves, and let your limbs play freely and your spirits rise intojoyousness to the animating strains of the Irish jig, the reel, and the country dance;so it was with your fathers and so it should he with you.From his own pen of later years we learn that he was a passionate lover ofmusic from childhood and of melody especially, that divine essence without whichmusic is but as a soulless body, and that the indulgence of this passion had beenindeed one of the great if not the greatest source of happiness in his life. Thoughhe had been at all times a devoted lover of music and more particularly of themelodies of his country, which he considered to be the most beautiful nationalnieloclies in the world, neither the study nor practice of music, had been anythingmore than the occasional indulgence of a pleasure (luring hours of relaxation fromthe fatigues of other studies, or the general business of life. Neither had hecontemplated giving even a portion of his collection publicity in his own name.\Vith characteristic liberality and unselfishness, Petrie contributed a numberof airs to the poet Moore which for the first time appeared in his Irish Melodies,and shortly afterwards he enriched Francis Holden. Mus. Doc., with a much largernumber which were first printed in his fathers. Sniollett Holdens Collection ofOld Established Irish sloie and quick Tunes published in i8o6.Petries acquaintance with Punting began shortly after the ptihlication of thelatters second volume in 1809. Interested only in the preservatmoil of the melodieswhich he lied accumtilated, Petrie generously offered him the use of the wholeGeorge Petrie145
issue Number
page Number
periodical Author
O'Neill, Capt. Francis
issue Publication Date

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians

Related Keywords