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Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody

keberoxu 04 Jun 17 - 05:09 PM
keberoxu 05 Jun 17 - 02:03 PM
keberoxu 06 Jun 17 - 12:50 PM
keberoxu 06 Jun 17 - 01:16 PM
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Subject: songbook in Scots Gaelic
From: keberoxu
Date: 04 Jun 17 - 05:09 PM

Binneas nam Bàrd, an anthology of traditional songs in Scottish Gaelic,
was compiled by Malcolm MacFarlane a/k/a Calum MacPhàrlain
and published in 1908.
There are ways to locate reprints of the book.

The following link, though, is one which I only found recently.
This is a PDF file of a photocopy of the original book.

Actually this link does not go directly to the file.
You have to scroll down the page for Dewey Decimal Number 700 THE ARTS "Binneas nam Bàrd"
and then click on PDF to pull up the file.
In any event, this page of files is all about Scottish Gaelic.

Sabhal Mòr Ostag -- Research


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Subject: Bas Dhiarmaid o Duimhne / the Death of Diarmuid
From: keberoxu
Date: 05 Jun 17 - 02:03 PM

The very first piece in Malcolm MacFarlane's collection
is the ballad "Bàs Dhiarmaid o Duimhne,"   the death of Diarmuid.
It has a total of 102 verses.
The melody is printed on page 1, including the first two lines of the first quatrain, arranged under the tune along with the "seis" or chorus.

That this poetic work is well established,
is attested to by Nigel MacNeill in his The Literature of the Highlanders: A History of Gaelic Literature from the Earliest Times to the Present Day. (Inverness, 1892)
MacNeill's English translation of "Bàs Dhiarmaid o Duimhne" can be found in Chapter V, "Ancient Ballads."


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 12:50 PM

An introduction to Malcolm MacFarlane, of some length, was published in The Celtic Monthly in its July, 1893 issue. Do the arithmetic, and you arrive at an interval fifteen years before Binneas nam Bàrd was published in 1908.
MacFarlane was a regular contributor to The Celtic Monthly, and some of his pre-1908 articles demonstrate how he worked out and put together certain ballads in Binneas nam Bàrd. The 1908 anthology has no commentary or notation whatever concerning MacFarlane's source material. This makes the book easy on the eye and easy to read; and it can be discouraging to a musician or scholar who wants to know where all this music came from.

Therefore, MacFarlane's examples, comments, and citations in The Celtic Monthly can be almost as important to read as the 1908 anthology itself.

Binneas nam Bàrd, English-titled "Bardic Melody," contains 32 songs. An earlier post, from me, on another thread is mistaken. On that post, the count was more like 52 songs. This is incorrect, and the mistake made was that of turning to the alphabetized index, in the beginning of the book, and counting all the entries. This index does not distinguish between the song's opening line and its title; in numerous cases they are one and the same, but in others they are two different things, and the result is that in counting through all the index entries, some songs get counted twice.

The 32 airs in Binneas nam Bàrd are in fact a diverse collection, not all of the same type.
"An t-Eilean Muileach," for example, about the Isle of Mull, is by Dugald MacPhail,
who is not identified or credited with the lyric in MacFarlane's book.

Dugald MacPhail's song is therefore relatively recent.
The staggeringly long ballads that open Binneas nam Bàrd are, on the other hand, relatively recent re-workings of much older material; but again, MacFarlane does not say so in the anthology.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 01:16 PM

MALCOLM MACFARLANE.

The name of Mr. Malcolm MacFarlane, Elderslie, cannot fail to be familiar to all who take an interest in current Celtic lore, for during the last dozen years or more he has done much to conserve and popularise the Gaelic language, and increase its literature.

Malcolm MacFarlane was born at Kilmun Farm, Dalavich, Lochaweside. His father belonged to Skipness, Cantire, Argyllshire, while his mother hails from Lochetiveside, her maiden name being MacIntyre.
[...] Mr. MacFarlane's parents removed to the neighbourhood of Paisley, when he was but a mere child, and he received his education at Inkerman School. [...]

Mr. MacFarlane is secretary of the Gaelic Society of Glasgow and a member of the Executive of the Highland Association, which held such a successful Mòd at Oban last autumn. [...]
Personally, Mr. MacFarlane is the most retiring and unpretentious of mortals, preferring rather to listen than to speak; nevertheless he likes a good Gaelic story, and can fully appreciate and enjoy the wit and humour of the Gael.

from The Celtic Monthly, Volume I, no. 10, July 1893. Published in Kingston, Glasgow. Article on pages 153 - 153, written by Henry Whyte.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 01:46 PM

BÀS DHIARMAID O DUIMHNE.

Diarmad o Duimhne, according to ancient tradition, was one of the Fianna -- Finn's sister's son, in fact. In the old stories and lays, the story-tellers and bards wove a romance which was at one time known throughout the whole of Gaeldom. [ a detailed account of the plot ]

The lay which follows. . . is pieced together from a number of variants collected at different periods in the Highlands and Islands. The most nearly complete of these versions is in Kennedy's first collection. [...] The earliest recorded variant is in the Dean of Lismore's Book, 1512. Most of the others were got towards the end of the 18th century by MacNicol, Hill, Kennedy, and Dr. Irvine, and published in Leabhar na Féinne. [...] The Lay of Diarmad -- the genuine lay -- seems to me to have suggested to some degree, the style which characterises Macpherson's Ossianic poems. Either that, or the ballad came under Macphersonic influence before it was recorded; but this is unlikely.

The music is from the Rev. Patrick MacDonald's Collection of Highland [Vocal] Airs. Like some of the other Ballad Airs recorded by him, this one must have been sung with a chorus in the style of the ordinary work songs. There is no mention anywhere, as far as known to the writer, of a chorus for this song; but the music demands one. The following was invented after much experiment. Although it seems quite simple to make a chorus, it took a considerable time to bring forth one in keeping with the music. It would just take one hour's time to sing the ballad.
[The 102 verses of Gaelic follow, as published later in Binneas nam Bàrd.]

from The Celtic Monthly, Volume XII, no. 11, August 1904. Published in Kingston, Glasgow. Article on pages 211 - 215, written by Malcolm MacFarlane.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 06:34 PM

quote:

The Rev. Patrick MacDonald, minister of the parish of Kilmore, and a native of Sutherland, made a collection of 186 vocal melodies of the Highlands, in the latter end of the 18th century. [...] [D]uring the century throughout which MacDonald's airs have been before the public, no attempt has, apparently, been made to find the words of the songs and adapt them to the music. During the last few years, however, Mr. Henry Whyte and I have succeeded in bringing together a number of songs and airs recorded in MacDonald's book.

MacDonald was a fiddler, and, very likely after having learned to play the melodies which he wanted, he recorded them as he remembered them....
Among the melodies are given eight Ossianic ballad airs, and these I have been trying for some time back to fit to their respective words. When I first attempted the work I gave it up in despair. My difficulty was to find where the lines began and ended. There is not much melody in any of the airs, and the cadences are consequently not well marked.
(to be continued)

from The Celtic Review, Volume I, no. 1, July 1904 (published quarterly), Edinburgh. Article on pages 36 - 47, written by Malcolm MacFarlane.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 06 Jun 17 - 07:00 PM

The second piece in Binneas nam Bàrd is titled, variously,
"Garabh agus na Mnathan" or "Garabh is na Mnathan."
It has a total of 38 verses.
The melody is printed on page 15, followed by all the verses.

To resume the article, introduced in the previous post.

continued:
In some cases, when I had, as I thought, found the cadences, and proceeded to lay them out according to the lines, I was left with a number of superfluous bars of music. An instance of this kind is "Garabh agus na Mnathan." I conjectured that there was a refrain; and so it seems to be. No hint of a refrain is given along with the words in Leabhar na Féinne. I therefore made one, after the pattern of those at page 198 of that book, for the purpose of illustrating the music. [This is the tale of how arson destroyed a dwelling where the Fianna women waited for their men. One of the Fianna turned out to be the culprit, and the ballad describes how the arsonist was put to death with Finn's sword for his crime.]

This ballad is known under a variety of names:
Losgadh Bruth Farbairn
Garabh
Losgadh Farmail
Losgadh Tigh Farala 's gun an Fhéinn aig a' bhaile

MacDonald [Highland Vocal Airs] names it "Laoidh Ghara 's nam ban,"
the grammar of which is not above suspicion.[...] [T]he ballad is mere rhymed narrative and as wooden as can well be....The versification is rugged, and every stanza requires its own division of the time.

There follow: the melody, with the opening lines fitted underneath;
the remaining verses, in Scottish Gaelic;
and finally, MacFarlane's English translation of the whole.

from The Celtic Review, Volume I, no. 1, July 1904 (published quarterly), Edinburgh. Article on pages 36 - 47, written by Malcolm MacFarlane.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 03:04 PM

The third ballad in Binneas nam Bàrd is "Laoidh an Amadain Mhòir."
This is another lyric from Leabhar na Féinne. About the tune I did not locate any commentary.
"Laoidh an Amadain Mhòir" has 62 verses total.
The melody is printed on page 21.

This Scottish Gaelic tale straddles mythologies, with one foot in the accounts of the Fianna, and the other foot in King Arthur's Camelot. The relation to the Arthurian mythology is regularly commented on by numerous published scholars. It isn't so much that there are names or place-names out of Wales or Camelot in the tale; but the plot and the content, about a promising young stranger -- "Fair Unknown" -- put to a series of tests, some of them magical, makes a striking parallel to, for example, the accounts about Sir Gawain.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 07 Jun 17 - 03:48 PM

After three lengthy ballads, Malcolm MacFarlane introduces something more specialized.
The next six songs are laments, five of them explicitly labelled "Cumha."   
These are their titles and opening lines, in the order they are printed.

Cumha nan Iasgairean.          Pages 30 - 31.
          "Chi mi 'm bàta stigh an caolas"

Cumha do Mhac Dhonnachaidh Ghlinne Faochain      Pages 32 - 33.
          "Hò gur mis' tha air mo leònadh"

Och nan och!                   Pages 34 - 35.
          "Och nan och! mar tha mise; Chòin a rì! mar tha mise"

Cumha do Chòirneal Iain Camshron         Pages 36 - 40.
          " 'S lìonmhor caraid 's fear daimh"

Cumha Chailein Ghlinn-iubhair          Pages 41 - 47.
          "Smaointean truagh a th' air m' aigne"

Cumha Ghriogair Mhic Griogair          Pages 48 - 50.
          "Moch maduinn air La-Lùnasd bha mi sùgradh ri mo ghràdh"


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 01:49 PM

Regarding the six songs enumerated in the previous post:

"Cumha do Mhac Dhonnachaidh Ghlinne Faochain"
might also be spelled
"Cumha do Mhac Dhonnchaidh Gleann a Faochan"
meaning
lament for the son of Duncan of Glen Faochan.

This lament concerns the Battle of Inverlochy, or as MacFarlane's text reads,
Blàr Ionbhar-Lòchaidh.

A lyric very close to this particular lament
survives from the Cape Breton area,
and may be found online.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 02:35 PM

Cumha nan Iasgairean, on the other hand,
concerns fishermen.
And judging from the appearance of the word "Chaoineadh" with a few spelling variations,

this is about fishermen being lost at sea and their community keening and mourning their loss.


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: Felipa
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 05:09 PM

whenever you see a Gaelic word starting with Ch, the original word begins with a C and the h has been added for reasons of grammar (for instance in a feminine noun after the article or any word after certain prepositions. Caoineamh is lamenting and the word "keening" in English is derived from the Gaelic "caoineamh" (which I gather keberoxu realises)


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Subject: RE: Binneas nam Bard/Bardic Melody
From: keberoxu
Date: 08 Jun 17 - 06:02 PM

Thank you, Felipa, not the first time you have had to pull me back in line about spelling and grammar. Appreciate you taking me seriously.


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