Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 44, Page 21

Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 44, Page 21
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periodical Publisher
Na Píobairí Uilleann
periodical Editor
Chairman, NPU
periodical Title
Píobaire, An
volume Number
4
issue Content
ed by the title occurred in March 1689, thetune must have been made between that dateand the date of the manuscript.However, a Scottish ballad tune (for “LordRandal”), which was contributed by RobertBurns to Johnson’s Scottish Musical Museum(1792), consists of the first strain of our air.This latter tune is one of a class of melodiesnative to the Highlands which share a similarstyle and structure.On the basis of these facts O’Sullivan came tothe conclusion that the Highland ballad tunewas the original and that it was possiblybrought by a Scottish follower of James II toIreland, where it became known to Irishharpers. Between 1689 and 1694 an instru-mental version was composed in Ireland (per-haps by Miles O’Reilly, as the harpers of alater generation believed) and in its new formit was brought back to Scotland (as ArthurO’Neill believed) by Thomas Connellan, whopopularised it there.In Ireland the tune acquired the title“Limerick’s Lamentation” sometime before1730, the year in which it was published withthat name in Daniel Wright’s Aria DiCamera. It was also known as “Sarsfield’sLamentation”. A version with that title is alsoto be found in the Bunting collection.In Scotland, by association with the set ofwords written to the air in 1724 by AllanRamsay, it became known as “Lochaber NoMore”.If it were not such a beautiful air there wouldhardly have been such wrangling about it. Ithink that, given the above facts, both coun-tries could possibly agree to share the credit.The version presented here is from theBunting collection of 1809, with the keychanged from Bunting’s three flats to the onesharp shown here. O’Sullivan remarks of thedotted-quaver-plus-semiquaver groups in the1809 collection that they give the tune a jerkyappearance. They are not to be found inBunting’s rough copy of the tune, but heinserted them when he made his fair copy,from which the 1809 collection was pub-lished. I think it is reasonable to believe that,when preparing the tune for publication, hepresented the rhythm in accordance with hisrecollection of the way in which he had heardthe piece performed. So, the ‘jerky’ rhythmhas been retained here. On the subject of the key signature, it will nothave escaped the notice of experienced play-ers that, in the fifth line, the key signatureinstructs the player to play the F notes sharp,but when they occur there is a sign indicatingthat they should be played natural. In factthese bars are the only occasions in which Foccurs in the whole of the tune, and as theyare to be played natural, no key signature isneeded at all. It is in the key of C, but endingon G , which places it in the Soh mode.To play it as shown above the piper will needto use an F natural key, or be able to accu-rately half-vent the F hole. In this air, slidingthe finger off the hole until the right pitch isreached doesn’t seem to me to be a good idea;I think it needs to be hit dead-on. You could,of course, move it up one note and start it onA, in which case no accidentals are involved,but there would be implications for the regu-lator accompaniment.Having had a great fancy for “Limerick’sLamentation” for some years, I decided awhile ago that I’d investigate the Scottish ver-sion, and I found “Lochaber No More” inJohnson’s Musical Museum, referred to earli-er. It is a very fine song (how could it not bewith an air like that!) and, as it provides addi-tional musical insights into the air, it is wellworth reproducing here. I don’t know who orwhat is the “Weir” of line six. Singers mightsubstitute the word “war” which makes sense. Terry Moylan21contimued from page 18 –
issue Number
44
page Number
21
periodical Author
[Periodical]
issue Publication Date
2008-05-21T11:44:38.503
allowedRoles
anonymous,guest,friend,member

Píobaire, An, Volume 4, Issue 44

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