O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 47

O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 47
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periodical Publisher
Regan Printing House, Chicago, 1913
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O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians
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92 Iris/i Minstrels and Musiciansshe died when the French fleet were at Kiliala in 1798. but Buntings notationof having taken down PIanxty Charles Coote from her in i8oo conflicts withthat view.C IL\RLES BYRNECharles Byrne, or Berreen, namesake and guide of his blind uncle, to whomOCarolan had such an aversion, was born about 1712, in the County of Leitrim.He attended the three Granard Balls and the Belfast Harp Festival, but won noprizes at any of them. Though not excelling as a performer, as an entertainerwith anecdotes and Irish songs he had no superior.lie was not far from being a centenarian at the time of his death, which wassubsequent to the year i8io, and for many of the later years of his life he wasin the habit of spending the Christmas holidays at the hospitable home of JohnLushington Reilly of Scarva, County Down.DANIEL BLACKLittle can be said of Daniel Black, one of tile competitors at the BelfastHarp Festival, except that he was one of the five harpers upon whom EdwardBunting relied for authentic information concerning the traditions of their art.l-ie hailed from County Derry, and was horn about the year 1717 .Bunting,who visited him in 1796, and noted down foul- of his airs, informs us that Blackschief resort when in Antrim was Mr. Heviands seat near Glendaragh. He wasblind, and sang to his music very sweetly.WILLIAM CARR AND OThERsNothing like an extended account can be given of the six other harpers whoattended the Granard and Belfast Meetings, as little information relating to theirlives has escaped the obliterating hand of time.William Carr was a mere lad of fifteen, hailing from the County of Armagh,when he played at the Belfast Meeting. Of Patrick Kerr, Patrick Maguire, andEdward McDermott Roe, who played at the Granard Balls, nothing is availablebut their names.Catherine Martin, the last of the list, was, like Rose Mooney, a native ofCounty Meath. Her favorite airs were those composed by Parson Sterling,the reverend piper and composer of Lurgan, in County Cavan. It is much tobe regretted that Mr. Bunting neglected to take advantage of the opportunityto preserve some of tile compositions of this renowned musician.CHAPTER IXHISTORIC ESTIMATE OF IRISH MUSICThAT the ancient Irish cultivated tue music of the voice and of instruments, isproved in every page of their history. In quote the language of Mooney, thehistorian : Music mixed in every cerenionial. In their sun worship, the songof praise and thanksgiving was raised to the giver, in their opinion, of fruits,and regulator of tile seasons. At funerals, the voice of lamentation was ventedunder the control of musical notatioll. In the battle, the harper bards led oilthe warrior hosts. At tile festive board, and in the banquet hail, there also thevoice of music stimulated the joyous passions. On all these occasions, tile harperbards caught the most touching sounds of human sensations as they rose, andcopied tilenl on tileir harpstrings. These were, upon succeeding occasions,repeated musically to kindle in other hearts emotions similar to those which gavethem birth. In this manner, a series of the most toUclliug sounds was formed bythe Irish bards into a code of melody which has lasted through innunlerabie ages.The National Melodies of Europe sprang from her bards and troubadours,and are highly expressive of tile races they belong to, says Bavie Bernard, biog-rapher of Samuel Lover. In Trisil airs, even the most wildly inspiring and jubi-hint, as well as the most intensely pathetic, a vein of peculiar plaintivenesspervades tile structurethe result, no doubt, of tile tragedies of history.Ruskin has demonstrated that the art of a country is the direct expressionof tile mind of its people. and if this he true of the arts in general. it is pre-enlinently true of music in particular ; for of all tile arts, the most direct, themost subtle, and by far tile most expressive, is music.The Music of Ireialld was classed by Edward Bunting under three heads,tile very ancient; tile ancient; and the modern. The first comprises all thatis believed to have existed before the Christian era, such as Tile Lamentation ofDeirdre Over tile Sons of Usnach: The Children of Lir; and the Chants towhich Fenian poems ascribed.to Oisin and Fergus were sung, like the Battle ofErragan Mor, and tile Death Song of Oscar.The second class includes compositions dating from that period until theclays of OCaroian ; while the third class contains notliiiig of a date nlucll olderthan the generation in which tile great Blind Bard flourished. Little folk musiccan be traced to his niuse in fact, his COfllpOsitiollS furnish no standard ; forIrish music of that inimitable vein of tender expression which winds throughtile very old strain in every mood, major and nlinor, is too often sought forin vain.Little music, if any, that can be identified as originating in tile early cen-turies has come down to us, although allusions to the pre-eminence of Ireland inits cultivation and practice are by no means rare. In the life of St. Keiven, quotedby Mooney. it is stated that the King of Munster, so early as A. D. 489, had thebest band of harpers of any in his time, who accompanied their music with sing-ing. \Vhen Niveiles Abbey was established, at the close of the sixth century,under the auspices of King Pepin, Gertrude. his daUgilter, sent to Ireland for93
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O'Neill, Capt. Francis
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O'Neill - Irish Minstrels and Musicians

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