Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 41, Page 25

Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 41, Page 25
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Píobaire, An
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25And yet, alas! There is no condition of lifewithout some remote or contingent sorrow.Many a scene have I witnessed, connectedwith this very subject, that would wring thetears out of any eye, and find a tender pulse inthe hardest heart. It is indeed a melancholyalternative that devotes the poor sightless ladto an employment that is ultimately produc-tive of so much happiness to himself and oth-ers, This alternative is seldom resorted to,unless when some poor child – perhaps afavourite – is deprived of sight by the terribleravages of the small-pox. In life there isscarcely any thing more touching, than to wit-ness in the innocent invalid the first effects,both upon himself and his parents, of thiswoeful privation. The utter helplessness ofthe pitiable darkling and his total dependenceon those around him – his unacquaintancewith the relative situation of all the places thatwere familiar to him – his tottering and timidstep, and his affecting call of ‘Mammy, whereare you?’ joined to the bitter consciousness onher part that the light of affection and inno-cence will never sparkle in those beloved eyesagain – all this constitutes a scene of deep andbitter sorrow. When, however, the sense of his bereavementpasses away, and the cherished child growsup to the proper age, pipes are procured forhim by his parents, if they are able, and if nota subscription is made up among their friendsand neighbours to buy him them. All the fam-ily, with tears in their eyes, then kiss and takeleave of him; and his mother, taking him bythe hands, leads him, as had been previouslyarranged, to the best piper in the neighbour-hood, with whom he is left as an apprentice.There is generally no fee required; but he isengaged to hand his master all the money hecan make at dances, from the time he is profi-cient enough to play at them. Such is the sim-ple process of putting a blind boy in the wayof becoming acquainted with the science ofmelody.Chambers’ Edinburgh Journal (Saturday March 19 1842);extract from “The Irish Pipers” by William Carleton.Submitted by Emmett GillSéamus Ennis was often heard to remark“my father wouldn’t have done that”,upon hearing some new or flashy pieceof execution on the chanter of which he dis-approved. It was his way of indicating that hefelt that the piece of piping in question was inpoor taste, or outside the tradition. He was onrecord as passing this judgement on, forinstance, the practice of thumbing the back Dhole of the chanterThis could be a phrase suitable for all occa-sions, and a convenient slogan to label thecategory of ‘piping sins’. Readers are invitedto nominate their own candidates for inclu-sion. Here are a few suggestions to get theball rolling – things Ennis’s father certainlywouldn’t have done:– having one’s head almost in one’s lapwhile playing– concluding a song-air with multiplesoundings of the final note, which bearno relationship to the text of the song– the transformation of the A cut, whenused to get a hard bottom D, into afull-value note, redundant in the actualtune.~ My father wouldn’t have done that! ~
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Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 41

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