Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 8

Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music, Volume 1, Issue 1, Page 8


periodical Publisher
W.Power & Co.,Dublin 1796
periodical Editor
Edward Bunting
periodical Title
Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music
volume Number
issue Content
PREFACEIhey smiled onheing interrogated respecting the era of St [ (h compositions, saying, They were more ut than any to - hieh our popular traditions ertended.t would appear that the old Musicians in transmitting this Music to us through so many centuries,treated it!tIt the utmost reverenre, as they seem never to have ventured to make theslightest i,,r at!oit in it duringits1 e t . This jnferem e we naturally deduce from our finding that Harpers collected from parts far distant fromOHC another, and night lw different masters, always played the same tune inthe sanie key, with the same kind ofeipression,and without a si ogle variation in any essential passage, or even in any note. The beauty and regularity,with which the unes are nstructed, appear surprising. This circumstance seemed the more ertraordinary,Mbenit was discovered that the moat ancient tunes, were in this respect,the most perfect, admitingof the addition ofa Bass with more facility than such as were less ancient. Hence We may conclude, that their Authors must.have been e c llent perforniers,versed in the scientific part of their profession, and that they had originallyview to the addition of Harmony inthe composition of their pi ces. It is remarkable that the performers alltuned their Instruments on the same principle, totally ignorant of the principle itself, and without being ableto assign any reason for their mode of tuning, or- of their playing the fiass.On an impartial review of all these circumstances, we are inclined to believe that those specimens whahhavesurvived ami been transmi ted to us, are only the wreck of better t mes, the history of which is either lost, orincorrectly recognised in a confused Series of traditions.Giraldus Cambrens{s,who came over to Ireland in the reign of Henry the Second, gives us aatriking accountof the state in which he found the Music of this Country. This enlightened Prelate, anative of Britain,and prol)ablynot entirely fret from the prejudices that were then entertained against the Irish; a man well acquainted withthe fine Arts in general, and. with Music in particular, as culthateil at that period by the most refined nations.of l urope; published anltinerary,which contains this remarkable passage The attention of this people to MusicalInstruments I find worthy of coinendation; iii whih their skill is, beyond all comparison superior to any Nation :ihave ever seen: for in these the modulation is not slow and. Solemn, a inthe Iiistrujnents of Britain,to which We areaccustomed; but the sounds are rapid. and precipitate, yet at the same time sweet and pleasing. It is wonderful how in such precipitate rapidity of the fingrrs the Musical proportions are preserved; and by their art faultlessThroughout, in the midst of their complicated modulation and: most intricate arrangment of notes,lw a rapidity so sweet,regularityso irreg uiar,a concord so discordant,the.inelody is renderedharmonious and perf(-t 4Ii herthe(bordof the DHesseron or Diapente, are struck to ther, yet they a waY begin in a soft mood, and end in the an1e,that all may be perfected in the sweetness of delicious sounds. They enter on, andagain leave theirmodulationswith so much subtilty, and the tinglings of the small strings sport with so much freedom under The deep notesof The Bass, delight -with so much delicacy, and sooth so softly That the excelleiwe of their art seems to lie in concealingit . Hut such was the celebrity. of Irish Music a century preceding the arrival of Cambren es th t theWelch Bards,so celebrated for their knowledge in This art, condescended to seek for and receive instructions fromthose of Ireland, of which thi 5 passage of Powell, their own historian, in the sixteenth century, is evidence.Gruffydh ap Conan says Powellbrought over with him fromIreland divers cunhing Musicians in toWales,who(heboldly asserts) devised in a manner afl the Instrumental Music, that is now used: as appeareth,as well by.the Bookswritten of the same, as also by the names of the tunes and measures used among st themto this datefThis assertion of Powell receives support from the learned Selden: Their Musique ( says he speaking of theWelsh) for the most part came out of Ireland, with Gruffydh ap Conan, ?rjnce of North Wales, about KingStephefts time.t Cardoc a Weishman also in the twelfth z entury, without any of that ifliberal partiality Sotommon with National writers assures us that The Irish devised all the Instruments Tunes and Measures in useaniong the Welsh.The Bards,according to the testemony of Strabo, Diodorus and Ammianus Mar(ellinhLs,existed among the ruder branches of the Celtic tribes before the time of Augustus.* Translation from Topo Hlb. Distint.3.c H. Hist.of 4 . Notesonflra t. n
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Edward Bunting
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Bunting - A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music

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