Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 37

Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 37
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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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HXSTOaY OF IRISH MUSIC.IRISH MUSIC BEFORE TIlE ANGLO-NORMAN INVASION. 59killed by the Cinel-Conaili, with his wife and with bishops, priests, and clerics were accustomed,in the twelfth century, to carry round witl them smallharps, both for the purpose of accompanying the sacredchant, as also for their own delectation. This fact isexpressly stated by Archdeacon Gerald Barry, frompersonal observation at the close of the same century :Hinc accidit, it Episcopi et Abbates, et Sancti inHibernia yin cytharas circumferre et in eis Inodulandopie delectari consueverint.*The neums or accents of the Irish corresponding tothe Latin A cutus, MOdICUS, Gravis, and Circumfiexitsare: Ardceo ?, Ceol, Basceoji, and Circeoji, indicatingpitch; whilst the medimval Irish had their own char-acters to represent mensural music, corresponding tothe Longa and the Brevis, that is to say, practically ourmodern Semibreve and Minim. Unison was calledcobhiluighe, or lying together; the fifth was termedTead na /eithe olach, or string of the leading sinews;the octave below was cronan, etc. In fact, each stringof the harp had its own particular name; and theancient minstrels had an infinite variety of terms formusical rhythm and expression.f* Cambrensis, To og. Hib,, Dist. c. xii,t The following is a brief description of the dress worn by ancientIrish harpers, as is chronicled in the Bruidhesa da Derga, one ofthe oldest Irish sagas now known, and contained in Leabj ,ar ,,; I saw another row of nine harpers. Nine branching,curling heads of hair on them: nine grey winding cloaks aboutthem: nine brooches of gold in their cloaks: nine circlets of pearlsround their hands: nine rings of gold around their thumbs: ninetorques of gold around their ears: nine torques of silver round theirthroats: nine bags with golden faces in the side-wall: nine wandsof white silver in their hands. Dr. Hyde dates this saga as of theseventh century if not earlier,In regard to the old irish form of organising,OCurry writes: Rind was music consisting of fullharmony, while Leithr.nd, or half Rind, was one orother of the two corresponding parts which producedthe harmonious whole and these parts were the bassand treble notes, or the bass and treble stringstheTroin Threda and the Goloca, or the heavy and the thinstrings. Coir is another Irish term for harmony, and ismentioned rn the Brehon laws * From a passage in the Lifeof St. Brigid by Anmchad, Bishop of Kildare, who diedin the year 980, it is evident that the harp was at that periodemployed as a favourite accompaniment for part-singing.The comnientary on the Elegy on St. Columba, whichwas certainly written before the year iioo, containsmusical allusions, including the ceis and the basschord in the harp of Crabtene. From the well-knownpassage of our Irish John Scotus Erigena, in his tractDe Divisiosze Naa ee, written about the year 864, it isperfectly clear that the free Organum of the Fourth,or of the Diatesseron, was well known to the Irish ofthe ninth centurythat is to say, a hundred and fiftyyears before the appearance of the Sc/iolia Enchiriadisand the Mu u,a Enc/jir adis. Professor Wooldridge,in the Oxford History 0/ Music, says that Erigenasdescription of the alternate separation and comingtogether of the voices quite admits of application to thismethod. For the benefit of the musical student, I givethe Latin passage of ScotusOrganicum melos ex diversis qualitatibus et quantita- The seven Irish words for concerted music are :cmscinrn,co:cetul, a,dbse, cepbc, claiss, clais-cetul, and Joacanad. In CormacsG1oss ry (p. 43) cmseinm refers to instrumental harmony, whilstcscetul is given as singing together .cleis.cctul signifying choralsrnging.
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Grattan Flood, Wm. H.
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Grattan Flood - A History of Irish Music

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