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Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland

Related thread:
Edward Bunting - portrait? (5)


AllisonA(Animaterra) 22 Feb 03 - 01:08 PM
GUEST 22 Feb 03 - 01:30 PM
Sorcha 22 Feb 03 - 02:18 PM
Helen 22 Feb 03 - 06:57 PM
Helen 22 Feb 03 - 07:05 PM
GUEST,Q 22 Feb 03 - 07:07 PM
Bonnie Shaljean 22 Feb 03 - 07:50 PM
Helen 28 Feb 03 - 01:16 AM
Jon Bartlett 28 Feb 03 - 02:54 AM
Pied Piper 28 Feb 03 - 11:41 AM
Pied Piper 28 Feb 03 - 11:45 AM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 28 Feb 03 - 02:00 PM
masato sakurai 28 Feb 03 - 07:59 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 28 Feb 03 - 08:42 PM
AllisonA(Animaterra) 01 Mar 03 - 07:47 AM
GUEST,JTT 11 Oct 19 - 11:42 AM
Helen 11 Oct 19 - 03:27 PM
GUEST,Starship 11 Oct 19 - 03:44 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 11 Oct 19 - 03:51 PM
Jack Campin 11 Oct 19 - 04:58 PM
Mick Pearce (MCP) 11 Oct 19 - 05:41 PM
Helen 11 Oct 19 - 06:36 PM
Helen 11 Oct 19 - 06:42 PM
Helen 11 Oct 19 - 08:22 PM
GUEST 12 Oct 19 - 01:06 PM
Lighter 12 Oct 19 - 02:26 PM
GUEST 12 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM
Jim Carroll 12 Oct 19 - 03:15 PM
Helen 12 Oct 19 - 03:29 PM
Jack Campin 12 Oct 19 - 03:32 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 12 Oct 19 - 04:11 PM
Lighter 12 Oct 19 - 07:17 PM
Helen 12 Oct 19 - 07:57 PM
leeneia 12 Oct 19 - 08:09 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Oct 19 - 02:34 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 13 Oct 19 - 06:50 AM
GUEST,Jack Campin 13 Oct 19 - 07:23 AM
Lighter 13 Oct 19 - 09:11 AM
leeneia 13 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM
Helen 13 Oct 19 - 03:37 PM
Lighter 13 Oct 19 - 03:49 PM
Helen 13 Oct 19 - 04:17 PM
Helen 13 Oct 19 - 08:06 PM
Helen 13 Oct 19 - 08:19 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 14 Oct 19 - 01:37 AM
Jack Campin 14 Oct 19 - 04:54 AM
Helen 14 Oct 19 - 10:18 PM
Helen 14 Oct 19 - 11:12 PM
Helen 14 Oct 19 - 11:13 PM
leeneia 17 Oct 19 - 02:58 PM
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Subject: Edward Bunting
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:08 PM

I am looking all over for a copy of Edward Bunting's "The Ancient Music of Ireland"- NOT the recent Dover reprint but the 1969 "Walton's Piano and Musical Instrument Galleries" edition that has all 3 of Bunting's collections. Any idea where I could find a copy?


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 01:30 PM

Well, I just tried my link to Walton's, and it isn't working. Are you near a university or college with a music library that might carry it?


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Sorcha
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 02:18 PM

Found an address for the publisher....Walton's (North Frederick Street, Dublin, 1), in 1969.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 06:57 PM

Hi Animaterra,



      Clarsach Net

http://www.clarsach.net/sourcebooks.htm

has a few books listed with Bunting's work. I don't know if they are selling them or just recommending them. I have a hardback edition with the three books included. I'll dig it out of it's little music storage box and see what edition/publisher it is.

I did a search on Google.com using the search terms

Walton "Edward Bunting"

(including the "")

There were 18 results.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 07:05 PM

I bought my hardback version only about 10-15 years ago so it has been reprinted.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST,Q
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 07:07 PM

A copy is available in UK for US$ 142.00. Go to http://dogbert.abebooks.com
Older editions, $US 500 to $US 1500.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Bonnie Shaljean
Date: 22 Feb 03 - 07:50 PM

Ask the Traditional Music Archive in Dublin if they know of any retail sources for it, though be sure to specify that it's ALL THREE volumes under one cover - it's easy to overlook this detail. Bear in mind that the Archive is not a retail shop, so they are unlikely to sell it (worth asking, though) but they are fantastically well-informed and helpful, and if it's to be got, they'll very likely know where. Their website is http://www.itma.ie and you can scroll down to access the site either in English or in Irish. Don't be misled by the "Email" button, though: all it will tell you is Too Bad, You Have To Write Us A Proper Letter. But it's worth following up. I have the Walton's edition, who are still at 2 - 5 North Frederick Street, Dublin 1, as has been mentioned above. Their phone number will be in the directory, if that source hasn't been tried already. Hope you find it!


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 01:16 AM

Hi Animaterra,

Did you find a copy? I put the question to the e-mail Harplist, but no-one knew of a cheaper version than the Walton's that Guest, Q mentioned.

One person said that their trick was to buy the Dover edition and then borrow the Walton edition on inter-library loan, and photocopy the missing parts.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Jon Bartlett
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 02:54 AM

Ooh, you guys are gonna hate me...

My 3-in-1 Bunting hardback (Dublin, 1969: Waltons' Piano and Musical Instrument Galleries) cost me 5c at a used book store (c. 1970?).

Jon Bartlett


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Pied Piper
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:41 AM

There is a copy of Bunting (the origenal) in the Henry Watson Library of the Manchester cental refrence library.

All the best pp


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Pied Piper
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 11:45 AM

Sorry thats in the UK, but if you have a spacific few tunes in mind I could scan then and send them to you.

All the best PP


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 02:00 PM

Helen, that's the plan! We already own the Dover, and have an order in at the library for the Walton.
I saw somewhere on the web that there are original facimiles of the Bunting collection somewhere in reprint, but have no idea where to find them. My SO is emailing around to see if they can be gotten.
Fascinating thing, these searches!
Thanks, PP, we'll wait and see what the library serves up.
Jon G, what a find! Such treasures can still be found around here but the used-book sellers are getting more savvy. Darn internet!
Thanks, all


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: masato sakurai
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 07:59 PM

All the tunes (without accompaniments, though) from the three books (General Collection, 1796; General Collection, 1809; Ancient Music of Ireland, 1840) are contained in Aloys Fleischmann, ed., Sources of Irish Traditional Music c.1600-1855, 2 vols. (Garland, 1998).

~Masato


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 28 Feb 03 - 08:42 PM

Good on yer little cotton socks Masato :)


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: AllisonA(Animaterra)
Date: 01 Mar 03 - 07:47 AM

Thanks, masato!
Here's some info on the Fleischmann. I looked it up at Routledge and it cost $295- time for another interlibrary loan!


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST,JTT
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 11:42 AM

Is there a thread on Bunting? If there is (I couldn't find one), could you add this to it, Joe? Bunting was a boarder in the home of Henry Joy McCracken, and followed Henry Joy when the latter was one of the organisers of the 1792 Belfast Harp Festival which sparked Bunting to gather together the many Irish airs that he saved.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 03:27 PM

Nope, JTT. There is one other thread on Bunting with a handful of posts and not much information.

I did a search on the Forum Search near the top left of the main thread listing page.

We'd be happy if you started the discussion in this thread, if you'd like to add anything.

To start the discussion off, just recently our session group decided to add the song Tabhair dom do Lámh/Give Me Your Hand by Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin (c.1570-c.1650) to our list again, after an absence of a decade or two from the list .

Coincidentally, about a week later I was watching an episode of the UK version of Who Do You Think You Are about a British actor and writer called Mark Gatiss. He wrote and acted in some of the Dr Who shows and also League of Gentlemen.

He traced his mother's family back to an area of Northern Ireland and two families named O'Mullan and O'Kane (also spelled O'Cahan or Ó Catháin) around Londonderry. I may be wrong but a bit of quick and cursory research leads me to believe that the composer of Tabhair Dom Do Lamh/Give Me Your Hand, Ruaidhrí Dall Ó Catháin (aka Rory Dall or Blind Rory) may have been related to the same O'Kane family.

Helen


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST,Starship
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 03:44 PM

Is this any help??


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 03:51 PM

Note the date of the original post


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 04:58 PM

Is Bunting's "Give Me Your Hand" the way it's usually played nowadays? The oldest sources (early 18th century) call it "Da Mihi Manum" and have rather different structure - it's as if it was subjected to the same sort of recomposition on the fly you get in Arabic music.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Mick Pearce (MCP)
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 05:41 PM

Jack - I've just had a quick look at Bunting's Ancient Music and it seems to be the same way the tune's usually heard.

Mick


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 06:36 PM

There is a bit of information here about the tune Give Me Your Hand

"The Fiddler's Companion says

'The Latin title first appears in the Wemyss manuscript of 1644 and in the Balcarres manuscript of 1692' "

(Note: "Da Mihi Manum" is a direct translation of "give me your hand".)

I was just reading this page on Edward Bunting and saw this comment:

"As Bunting was a classically trained musician, he did not understand the unique characteristics of Irish music, such as modes, and when transcribing tunes he 'corrected' them according to Classical music rules. One proof of this is that some tunes published by him were in keys that could not have been played by the harpists. His notes on the harpists, how they played and the terminology they used is however invaluable, and also many tunes would have been lost if he had not collected them."

The tune was in Bunting's first book and it does appear to be the same as the tune I have heard.

If you go to the link that Starship provided at 11 Oct 19 - 03:44 PM and move to page 162, the second tune on the left hand page (showing page #46 from the original manuscript) is Give Me Your Hand, going over to the next page.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 06:42 PM

Well, I just read this page at the Traditional Tune Archive with this comment, so there appears to be another version of the tune.

"There are two main versions of the tune: one can be found in the collections of the Neals, Thumoth, James Oswald and Edward Bunting, while the other is to be found in the manuscripts and publications of Dow, Balcarres, Wemyss and MacFarlane."


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting
From: Helen
Date: 11 Oct 19 - 08:22 PM

I found this info and a video of a harp version:

Da Mihi Manum - the version in Wemyss manuscript

The tune is almost the same as the version I have heard but with some variations.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 01:06 PM

See ABEBooks:

https://www.abebooks.com/servlet/SearchResults?an=bunting&bi=0&bx=off&cm_sp=SearchF-_-Advtab1-_-Results&ds=30&pn=Waltons&recentlyadded=all&sortby=17&sts=t


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 02:26 PM

>when transcribing tunes he 'corrected' them according to Classical music rules.

So did he alter the tunes or just the key signatures? The latter could be "recorrected" with incidentals, no?

A fair number of O'Neill's tunes also appear with key signatures that sound unmusical without modification.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM

'So did he alter the tunes or just the key signatures? The latter could be "recorrected" with incidentals, no?'

He more or less turned them into pianoforte pieces, including accidentals not available on the harp (according to Breathnach, if I remember correctly)


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Jim Carroll
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 03:15 PM

I don't know if they are still available but the Bunting Manuscript Collection 1796 -1809 was published in vols 22 to 29 of The Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society 1927 to 1932, edited by J D O'Sullivan
We got a 2 volume reprint along with the ret of the journals in the early 1970s from The Irish Folklore Department for a remarkably low price
The Depatment hadn't realised they still had it and our late mate, Tom Munnelly acquired a copy for us
The price was raised considerably shortly after we got it
im Carroll


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 03:29 PM

Lighter, I'm not sure, but I think the clue is that "he did not understand the unique characteristics of Irish music, such as modes".

I'm a self taught musician so I'm not claiming any in depth knowledge, but here is my guess.

So if he looked at a tune and for example, the first (not counting any lead-in notes) and last notes were C, then he could possibly assume that the tune was in the key of C Major, and then he would fiddle with the accidentals to make it fit that key. If it was in fact a modal tune, then - I think - the key should be identified by the sharps or flats in the tune and not the start and end notes.

That's about the limit of my knowledge apart from the fact that there are different modes depending on where the tune starts and ends and each mode has a specific name and sometimes a type of "feeling" attached to it, e.g. the minor key i.e. Aeolian mode has a more haunting or melancholy feeling than the major key.

My question about Give Me Your Hand is the accidental in the seventh last bar where in the key of G Major, the high F sharp note is played as an F natural. On a harp without levers, which I assume an old Irish harp would be, then that accidental note would be a curve ball however, since there is no other high F sharp in the tune, that string could be tuned down a semi-tone prior to playing the tune.

I noticed in the video on the Wemyss page that I linked to on 11 Oct 19 - 08:22 PM that the harp player did not play that accidental.

Given that the Wemyss manuscript was lute transcriptions it makes no sense to change a sharp note to a natural because a lute player could play the correct note easily, however if the lute players learned the tune from harp players other than Ruaidri Dáll Ó Catháin then maybe they didn't play the accidental either. Maybe it was a bit of a marketing trick by Rory Dhall to differentiate himself and his ability from the competition. (Sorry. Can't help looking at it from the angle of what I learned at Uni about management and marketing. LOL)


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 03:32 PM

Daniel Dow's "Ancient Music of Scotland" had impossible accidentals in what purported to be harp music back in 1773. Bad idea, but it wasn't Bunting's own bad idea.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 04:11 PM

'Bad idea, but it wasn't Bunting's own bad idea. '

Of its time , I suppose.

I looked at the version of "Da Mihi Manum" in the Neal collection of 1724 and think it is close to the current versions, f natural and all. It's given in 6/4 while current collections usually go for 3/4.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Lighter
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 07:17 PM

Thanks, Helen, but I'm still not clear about what Bunting did.

I understand that changing the key signatures might make an air impossible to play *on the harp,* but would B's transcriptions still represent the correct tune as played, for example, on the fiddle? (Even if it were in a different signature.)


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 07:57 PM

No, sorry, I wasn't saying it would make it impossible to play on the harp. The quote said that some pieces which were in keys which could not be played on a harp, meaning that the piece could be changed to a key which suited the harp better, I think. That's if we are talking about a basic, non-lever harp. Strings could only be stretched so far and changing key meant re-tuning the whole harp so all keys were not really available or not an easy process.

My issue about the F natural in Give Me Your Hand is a different issue and I think I know the trick that the harper would have used to work around it.

Basically, I and other harpers will be eternally grateful to Edward Bunting for collecting those tunes. Without collectors like him, and especially during the time when harps were going out of favour, we would not still have the majority of those tunes. If a little tweaking and rethinking is required to play the tunes on the harp or any other instrument, then that in my opinion, is a small price to pay for having access to the music collections.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: leeneia
Date: 12 Oct 19 - 08:09 PM

You can see the original pages of all three Bunting manuscripts at the IMSLP site. (search for IMSLP Edward Bunting) It's free, but you have to deal with old typography.

I doubt if anybody actually knows what Bunting did or did not do to any given piece of music. I think that if you like a piece, you should play it. And if something sounds all wrong, make it right.

Of course, this assumes you have been listening to traditional music enough to know what it usually sounds like. Most people here would qualify, I'm sure.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 02:34 AM

'I wasn't saying it would make it impossible to play on the harp. '

The way I read descriptions of what Bunting did, did indeed suggest he added incidentals not only alien to the original music but also unavailable on the harp.

The key signatures are easily explained: harpers didn't necessarily tune to a set pitch and he took down the key signature of what he actually heard, rather than taking account the tuning of the harp. Some collectors treated music they heard played on the flat pipes in a similar way.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 06:50 AM

Urgh. Sunday morning brain. Corrected version:

Brendán Breathnach deals relatively extensive with Bunting's work, within the context of his 'Folk music and dances of Ireland'. All praise for the work aside he goes into the way Bunting adapted the melodies he collected a bit. I won't quote all of it (see p. 105-107 of FMaDoI).

'Bunting tells us that thirty was the usual number of strings found on the Irish harps at the Belfast meeting in 1792, and that the system of tuning was such that only two major scales, G and C, were perfect in their diatonic intervals. When the F strings were tuned t o F sharp, the tuning was G major; when these strings were tuned to F natural, the tuning was C major. In fact, in so far as tuning was involved, the harp was like a piano which had no black notes. Nothwithstanding this, a great many of Bunting's airs are set in keys the harpers could not have used; more surprisingly, his music is speckled with accidentals, for which they lacked strings. [...] In effect, what Bunting did was to alter the melody to fit what he considered to be correct and suitable harmonies. He may indeed have persuaded himself that he was correcting or improving the music'


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST,Jack Campin
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 07:23 AM

This does not apply to Bunting's method, but the most astonishing key signature I've seen in a folk transcription is G sharp minor, in a Scottish MS from the early 19th century.

The tune is very similar to fiddle tunes in G minor, and that's the key you find it in from the 18th century sources.

My explanation: the transcriber was playing the piano alongside a fiddler and the piano had drifted a semitone flat. He wrote it down the way the piano was playing it rather than how the fiddler saw it.

Wishful thinking from overeducated transcribers is alive and well. Look at any of those recent Scottish tunebooks with Celtic knotwork everywhere - all done by fiddlers, and pipe tunes get their G's sharpened systematically wherever the editor saw a V-I cadence coming. This is the same failure of taste Dow was making 200 years earlier.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 09:11 AM

> In effect, what Bunting did was to alter the melody to fit what he considered to be correct and suitable harmonies. He may indeed have persuaded himself that he was correcting or improving the music.

That sounds pretty definitive, as does leeneia's comment that

> if something sounds all wrong, make it right. Of course, this assumes you have been listening to traditional music enough to know what it usually sounds like.

Thanks!


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: leeneia
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 03:09 PM

Thank you, Lighter. I feel that it is worthier and more fun to be making music than to be concerned that every note of a piece be "historically correct."   And of course, when the songs were current, they might have been played one way in one region and another way in another region.

The important thing is to sing or to play and keep the music alive.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 03:37 PM

Hmm! My first response is that we may never really know for sure what "corrections" Bunting made to the tunes.

At this stage, I'm just looking at the O'Carolan tunes in Bunting's first collection.

This lovely and unusual O'Carolan tune is shown in the key of A flat Major, with four flats.

Edward Bunting The Princess Royal (page 35 in Bunting's collection).

It is possible to have a harp tuned to that key but I suspect it would be unusual, especially if the harper had to retune all those strings between playing one tune and the next. However, given that technology and communication technology at that time was not what it is now, it is possible that a harp built by one person compared with another may have been tuned to a different range.

But then, on page 54 (Bunting's page numbering) Carolan's Receipt is in the key of E Major with four sharps. Other O'Carolan tunes in the first collection are all over the shop in terms of key signatures, including C Major, G Major, D Major, A Major, F Major, B flat Major or their associated minor keys.

I suspect (but have no proof) that Bunting might have mixed the key signatures up to make it more interesting for players of the pianoforte, but I'd be very surprised if each of the original harp players played in all of those different keys. It would take a bit more research and most of the information is possibly lost in the mists of time.

One avenue of research would be to see if the harp players listed as the performers for each tune could be matched to specific key signatures, indicating that possibly certain harpers had their harps tuned to a specific one or two key signatures requiring minimal retuning of one or two strings per octave to shift from one key to the other. For example, the key of A Major has four flats, B, E, A, D but he key of E Major has four sharps, F, C, G, D however E flat = F#, A flat = G# and D flat = C# so three of the notes are the same in both keys. It would require changing the B flat to natural and the F to sharp. So only two string retunings per octave. Possible.

My knowledge of O'Carolan's tunes makes me think that many of them are what I call deceptively simple. On the surface they look simple but there are some beautiful little twists and turns in some of the tunes. If Bunting was doing something like "sanitising" the tunes then those little "frilly" bits (my terminology) would be less evident. The tunes would be more likely to be less memorable, IMHO.

So, my definitive answer is "I don't know". LOL


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Lighter
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 03:49 PM

>One avenue of research would be to see if the harp players listed as the performers for each tune could be matched to specific key signatures, indicating that possibly certain harpers had their harps tuned to a specific one or two key signatures requiring minimal retuning.

Any music students out there looking for a thesis topic?


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 04:17 PM

Well, I was just looking at Bunting's first book in the collection and he has conveniently told us who the harper was for each tune, but in the second and third books he hasn't. I'll look at it later, after my morning coffee brain-boost.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 08:06 PM

Bunting # is the page number used in Bunting's collection and not the page number in the copy of the book I have.

(Fingers crossed that this table is readable.)


Bk #        Bunting #        Title        Composer        Key sig        Harper        Year
1        53        Carolan's Devotion        O'Carolan        F minor        H. Higgins        1792
1        54        Carolan's Receipt        O'Carolan        E Major        D. Black        1796
1        23        Dr John Hart        O'Carolan        A Major        H. Higgins        1792
1        77        Emon Dodwell        O'Carolan        D minor        C. Byrne        1792
1        49        Fanny Power        O'Carolan        D Major        A. O'Neill        1800
1        45        Lady Blaney        O'Carolan        C Major        C. Fannin        1792
1        68        Madam Maxwell        O'Carolan        E Major        C. Fannin        1792
1        19        Mrs Crofton        O'Carolan        E minor        C. Fannin        1792
1        26        Planxty Charles Coote        O'Carolan        C Major        Rose Mooney        
1        31        Planxty Burke        O'Carolan        G minor        Byrne        1802
1        43        Planxty Miss Burke        O'Carolan        B flat Major        A. O'Neill        1800
1        47        Planxty Hugh O'Donnell        O'Carolan        C Major        Byrne        1792
1        97        Planxty Toby Peyton        O'Carolan        A minor        H. Higgins        1792
1        34        Sir Festus Burke        O'Carolan        C Major        C. Fannin        1792
1        35        Princess Royal        O'Carolan        F minor        A. O'Neill        1800
1        26        Young James Plunkett        O'Carolan ?        G Major        Duncan        1792


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 13 Oct 19 - 08:19 PM

Just as I thought, the key signatures are all over the shop. It doesn't even match up to the harpers playing the tunes. (I only looked at O'Carolan tunes.)

I didn't analyse how close the different keys are for each harper's tunes, in the sense of how many strings would need to be retuned to go from one key to another. I might need some more caffeine before I even think about that.

My suspicion is, as I suggested before, that for pianoforte players they would need to learn all the different key signatures, i.e. become competent in using the white & black keys in different combinations, so a book of tunes for pianoforte would use a lot of key signatures. However, on a harp it is tuned to one key signature at any one time, and the only other main consideration would be accommodating the range of the tune notes into the range of the harp strings available.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 01:37 AM

Breathnach used the Princess Royal as an example of Bunting ltering tunes. I left it out of the quote I posted earlier but this is what he said:

'Buntings treatment of Carolan's well-known air The Princess Royal illustrates the point. He noted the tune from Arthur O'Neill, the harper, and published it the 1840 vo9lume (p.35). There it appears in the key of Fminor (four flats), a key in which O'Neill could not have played it. In the sixth bar (and elsewhere) Bunting makes E and D natural, since the harp had not the extra strings required for playing accidentals. It is interesting to note in the version published from Bunting's own manuscript in O'Sullivan's Carolan (I, p. 210) that D is not raised at all and E only when preceding the tonic.'

And there we get back to the earlier quote where BB states: 'In effect, what Bunting did was to alter the melody to fit what he considered to be the correct and suitable harmonies.'


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 04:54 AM

This diverges a lot from what Scottish editors were doing at the same time. Most Scottish tune collections of the time list the harp as the primary instrument, not the fiddle as they are generally thought of now. But the range always suits the fiddle, and they avoid technical difficulties for it - except that there are an ungodly number of them that fit exactly into a 2-octave range from B flat below middle C, purely diatonic, in key signatures from one to three flats. My guess is that was a lowest common denominator for range and tonality with the harps of the time. And whatever Bunting may have been up to, marketing the music to drawing room lady harpists was not one of his intentions.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 10:18 PM

Bunting & Breathnach referred to in The Musical Life of Nineteenth-Century Belfast by Roy Johnston. See footnote # 115.

This book looks interesting. I'll read some more of it.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 11:12 PM

The Musical Life of Nineteenth-Century Belfast by Roy Johnston mentions
Bunting & Breathnach

It looks like an interesting book. I'll read some more of it.


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: Helen
Date: 14 Oct 19 - 11:13 PM

Oops! My browser chucked a wobbly and I assumed that the posting I was writing was lost. But if it's worth saying once, it's worth saying again, I suppose. :-)


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Subject: RE: Edward Bunting - The Ancient Music of Ireland
From: leeneia
Date: 17 Oct 19 - 02:58 PM

The complete title of "Ancient Music" is this:

Full descriptive title: A General Collection of the Ancient Irish Music, Containing a Variety of Admired Airs never before Published and also the Compositions of Conolan and Carolan, Collected from the Harpers &c. in the different Provinces of Ireland, and adapted for the Piano-Forte
        

Notice that 'adapted for the piano-forte'. I don't know what Bunting did to adapt the melodies, but he makes it clear that his MS is not a collection for the harper.

I scanned the 66 tunes in Vol 1, and there was only one tune in E. There were 6-10, I'd say, in A and the same number in Eb. Most are in simple keys.

With respect to the gathering of harpers in Belfast in 1792, he says he was cautioned not to change a single note. (This is in the Preface.)


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