Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 9

Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 9
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periodical Publisher
Browne and Nolan Ltd, Dublin 1913
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periodical Title
Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music
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4I2 HiSTORY OF IRISH MUSIC.tinctive dress of five colours, and wore a white mantleand a blue cap ornamented with a gold crescent. Thecurriculum for an ollamh (bard) extended to twelveyears and more, at the expiration of which he was giventhe doctors cap, that is, the barred, and the title ofol -lamh.Keating assures us that Cormac Mac Art, Ard RiglrtHead Kingj of Ireland (A.D. 254-277), had in his courtten persons in constant attendance :i, A Prince forcompanion; 2, a Brehon; , a Druid; 4, a Chief Physi-cian; 5, an Ollamh; 6, an Ard File [ head poet ; 7, anOllamh re ceoll with a band of music [ oirfideadh] tosoften his pillow and solace him in times of relaxation:8, three stewards of the household. The ollamh, oroilav, be it understood, was the Chief Bard, whilst theoirfideaclta were the instrumental musicians. Cormachimself was styled Ceolach, or the Musical.Dr. Douglas Hyde, in his monumental Literary Historyof Ireland, gives by far the clearest and most succinctaccount of the bardic classifications. The real poet wasthe file (of which profession there were seven grades),to whom the bard was the merest second fiddle. TheBards were divided into the Saor or patrician class, andDaor or plebeianswith eight grades in each class.They were poets, not musiciansa fact which has notunfrequently been overlooked by writers on this subject.It is now absolutely certain that the Irish were aliterary people long before the coming of St. Patrickand we have Ogham stones yet preserved which datefrom the third century. The codices of St. Gall andBobbiovaluable as they aremust yield supremacy tothe oghams, which undoubtedly furnish us with speci-ANCIENT IRISH MUSIC. Smens of Gaelic grammar earlier than any known writings.The Irish alphabetic inscriptions in ogham which havesurvived the hurly-burlY of seventeen centuries aremostly on stone, though they were also written onrings, wooden tablets, ivory, bone, gold, silver, lead,crystals, twigs, etc. So far, that is up to the presentyear (1904), about 340 c ghams have been discovered;and whilst some of them a e decidedly Christian, thegreater number are pagan. Moreover, the decipheringof these quasi-cryptic oghams has been a veritabletriumph for the authenticity of ancient Irish historyand tradition.Sixty years ago the savants sneeringly asserted thatour ogham inscriptions were mere tricks of the middleages, and founded on the Roman alphabet. NOW,however, owing to the researches of Brash, Ferguson,Graves, Rhys, Barry, Power, Macalister and others, thereading of the mystic strokes is almost an exact science.The very word ogham suggests at once a musical signi-fication, and, therefore, it is of the very highest impor-tance to claim for Ireland the earliest form of musicaltablature.In MacFirbisS MS. Book of Genealogies, there ismention of the three great Tuatha de Danann musicians,viz., Music, Sweet, and Sweet-String, d.C., CEOL, BIND,and TETB ND, whilst the chief harper was named Uathne,or Harmony. Our most ancient writers agree that theMilesians, in their first expedition to Ireland, wereaccompanied by a harper. The Dinn Seanchus, compiledby Amergin MacAmalgai t (MacAwleY), CIYC. A.D. 544,relates that in the time of Geide, monarch of Ireland,A.M. 3143, the people deemed each others voices
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Grattan Flood, Wm. H.
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Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music

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