Irish Music Conrad Bladey
Note these are rough notes for class use...
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Dimensions and Variables of Irish Music
Tension- As in the spirals in art and the extended sentences in literature celtic music should have an inner tension. It should pull you one way or the other. You should have the feeling of curves rather than straight lines. It should be lyrical
Ambiguity : Just as the Zoomorphs in Celtic art are really not
real animals although they look real so too in music the musical line may
sound very complex and interwoven whereas it is often in reality a very
simple line repeated over and over with variation.
Ideal: No matter what the ambiguity of the presentation and ornamentation
the tune will none the less fit into a family of tunes considered to be
the domain of the tradition. The odd form does fit into a category and
can be listened to as a whole with its tension and
1. Personal/Abstract=======?Composed We have noted that a tune may start out as a personal statement – perhaps to the movement of work. Then it can be picked up formalized. Words may be maintained as well as the tune. It is interesting that some formalized work songs betray their original free form as lines are insertable by the singer.
2. Composed======? improvised We have seen how sometimes songs are maintained as data bases for future improvisation. This may be in a collection on paper or in recorded media or in the mind. In any case there is a point of departure for improvisation. A tune may be more or less improvised.
3. Songs that are personal ==========? Songs that are for some one else The artist or creator is working for him or her self or they may be working for a patron as a performer. A story teller as opposed to a story performer.
4. Songs that are personal=========? Songs that are for something else There are other functions of song rather being performed for patrons. Music performed for activities, to put children to sleep and especially for dance must have essential dimensions in order to function. These parameters would be more mechanical than those demanded by a patron.
Auras and feelings…..
Within Irish music we recognize several auras or environmental feelings. Rather than dimensions on variables these are in vs out artifacts.
1. The Celtic mist complete with mermaids.