Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 8, Page 2

Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 8, Page 2
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Na Píobairí Uilleann
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Chairman, NPU
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Píobaire, An
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(6Lt.) 2Before returning to New York after a long holiday here, Andy Conroy n de a r ecording ontape for the archive in his own inimitable style of piping and played on his own uniquelypersonal popping strap.The society is once again deeply indebted to Peter 0 Beirne (Birmingham) for a mostgenerous contribution to its funds.A group photograph of last year s Tionol may be obtained from the Secretary, price 7/6post free.II I I I I IT II II IT II II II IT TI IIMUSIC IN GREECEAll classes of folkinstruments are played in the Greek world. The wider field is theentire ArabicOttomanSlavic world, from Morocco to Afghanistan, from the Sahara toSerbia. All over this world you can find the circular dance, the shawm (equals warpipechanter without bag), the lute, the singer, still going strong at weddings and allfesltivals, in the open air or in cellars. The best known is the Bouzoukia music of theGreek cities. My own enthusiasm is for the demotic music of the klarino and the lyra,in the mountains.The clarinet of the Balkans is the militaryband Clarinet in C, often made in Paris.It is harsher than the orchestral Bb, but softer than its predecessor the Pipiza (Zorna).From the pipiza (shawm) came the florid fingerwork and lipwork which make this music(as is the Irish) a true survival of the 18th century Wild Baroque (eastern style).The lyra (the other great solo instrument, flourishing in areas where there are noclarinets) is not the harplyre of the Bible, but more like a fiddle, in fact a rebek,or3-string fiddle held on the knee (neck up the T cello position) and the bow handedfrom underneath (behind) not on top (as fiddles) It is the instrument that is moved,to effect stringchanges, not the bow: the instrument is rotated to the bow by thefindering hand (another survival from time of Bach?). In Pcnfos (N.E. Turkey) thelyraplayer does this while dancing. In Crete he sits.There are thousands of working musicians in Greece,and also among the Greekworkers in Germany and the States. The music is often closely associated withrebellion, and is scorned by the bourgeoisie. The whole feel of the music is heroic,hightoned, lamenting. The Irish and the Greeks, I say, are brothers, joininghands behind the back of Europe.But there are important differences, which make it unlikely that the one would beable to play the other 1 s music. Irish tunes are played in unison, Greek tunes areflung from player to player; Greeks sing as well as dance, at the same time, but theIrish, sad to say, hardly even dance any more; Irish tunes are rigidly in 8bar groupswith a conventional timesignature (6/8, 9/8, etc. but what variety within .Greeks interpose 4 or 12 bar groups and have the aksak Balkan rhythms, e.g. 7/8 inthe kalamatianos.My next article will try to get into the music with more experience,as I am goingthere this winter. Meanwhile, here is a short quote from my 196264 diaries. Ihad been trying for six weeks to get to hear the lyra, without success (partly becauseof Kennedy 1 s death).I loathed Crete by now. All the old love for this great island was out of my system.We got on the nightboat, and sat on the hard benches belowdecks, with the peoplewho were leaving Crete. The air was foul. Villagers were going to Athens to getwork,and they were taking goats, sheep and hens with them. A small boy playedwith a bird, broke its wing, and threw it in the men 1 s toilet; then he shone a torchin a cock s face. The cock thought if was dawn and began to crow. My woman feltsick and went on deck to get some air. I stayed below. Suddenly, a lyra began,anda man got up to dance. He had only the three feet space between one bench andanother and beside a pillar, and the ship was rolling a bit. But he danced with balanceand was the most perfect gymnast I ever saw. He did a tsamiko in the neat spacebetween the bodies on the floor and round the pole,but he never touched the pole,
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Píobaire, An, Volume 1, Issue 8

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