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Gaelic Music And Its Divided Origins

Introduction

Prior to understanding and establishing a sense of Irish music and the phases it went through in its development towards becoming a label. This can be exemplified by the explanation of how most associations can be formed with various art forms, but the difference arises with each performer, singer, or songwriter. However, age is one of the significant factors in this differentiation. Consideration of Irish music brings forth a much deeper insight into its history, revealing it to be one of the oldest forms of music. Gaelic Songs are rumored to be much older than the traditional definition of “ancient” music stamped on most old musical forms.

Description

Origin of Gaelic Music

The term Gaelic music holds a deeper meaning and hails from its divided origins, both in Ireland (referred to as Ceol Gaelach) and from the main highlands of Scotland (referred to as Ceol Gaidhealach). Much about Gaelic Songs is shrouded in mystery in regards to its origin since music has been in the lives of people since the very beginning. Music is an art that best fits the criterion to describe the tale of heroism, misery, or something emotional in the form of lyrics. Historians associated with the metaphorical association of reapers swinging their scythes to the melody of music. However, there were times when bagpipers would be heard with his bagpipes while people rowed about him, heard to be singing choral to keep themselves focused on the oars in a harmonic synergy while the women, fully clothed, witnessed to be singing while keeping themselves absorbed in the symphony and synchronizing their cloth movement with one another. Most Gaelic songs were also used to soothe restless children at night. The songs were gender distinguishable, with songs sung by men referred to as “Coram” while songs sung by women were called “Orian lu(adh) and.” Known to be especially liked in big gatherings, Gaelic songs were played with the inclusion of violins and small pipes along with bagpipes in these Gaelic societies.

Traditions and Transitions

Gaelic Songs served the traditional role of being a medium of communication at times, with the bard conveying a specific thought regarding their societies or prevalent issues in their society. Although an analysis of Gaelic songs links to their origin, they initially gained an actualization as Gaelic Poetry. Gaelic Poetry is designed and written in a specific manner which requires the person to either sing or chant it, stanza by stanza. This virtually eliminates any questions or doubts between the two, i.e., Gaelic Poetry and Gaelic Songs. Most of the research into Gaelic music has found a similarity between the words that most poets have used in their poetry and the writers in their songs, as well as the ones witnessed in the plays. The traditional role of Gaelic music dates back to the time the Scottish came under the influence of British society. This was not as bad as the poverty-stricken communities of Gaelic communities in Canada that were pushed to the extent of migrating, making the Gaelic language take a massive impact from this move. The Gaelic language ultimately faced a loss of its traditional value, and slowly but surely, English aesthetics started to embed into it.

Changing Culture

During the shift of the Gaels, migrating and moving away from the highlands of main Scotland towards Australia and Northern parts of America resulted in a drastic impact on the Gael cultural values. This change resulted in most of the talented people starting to disappear with the progression and the transition that took place right after the emigration. In consideration of the above-mentioned fact, after the move, a few institutions were established to educate young minds about the values of Gaelic language and music; however, most of these schools were reformed according to European culture. The change gradually took root in the Gaelic language and songwriting, allowing for most of the concepts to change over time, heavily influenced by European values of music and the perceived standards of polite society. The governing parties for these societies were mainly people who were non-Gaelic and hailed from regions unassociated with the highlands of Scotland. The new trend settled in the system by influencing the British Army, numerous Piping competitions, and Highland-themed games that became patrons for a diversified form of music (Martin, 2013).

Gaelic Songs as Celtic Music

Oftentimes, it has been noticed that Gaelic songs have been regarded as Celtic music, but what really implies a song to belong from a Celtic origin? Celtic emphasizes two meanings; the first one is related to the identification of people, while the latter reflects on the qualities found, making the music distinguished as Celtic music. Most notable personalities in the field of music have presented their views on Celtic music as sharing a common element with them.

In regards to music, especially Gaelic songs being Celti, it is normally associated with its meaning being driven from Ireland and Scotland, mostly due to both of these lands contributing majorly towards the production of widely popular yet unique forms of style. These styles noticeably offer more originality and commonality while sharing a common goal with clarity in its goal and the factors of influence towards its creation. In regards to Celtic music and Ireland, it became especially famous as Irish produce because of their relationship and the role it played in the independence of Irish people(McDonald and Sparling, 2010).

Although in a contrary sense, Celtic music was famous for both Scottish and Irish people and became an identity of theirs, whereas Manx people also share an association towards this genre as well.

Revival of Gaelic Music

Presently, Gaelic music has seen a new wave of modernity, being revived from its once-forgotten and slumbering state as various songwriters and musicians revive it with a blend of unique styles. An evident example is of a Scottish Psalter that has involved each tune being played in proper unison. Normally a lead singer starts out and delivers it by reading each verse, line by line which is then repeated by a congregation. The modern interpretation has gained wide and proclaimed fame all over the world, with its stunning performances for Gaelic Psalms, being regarded as the only music with a sensation of the soul within each lyric. A close analysis of instrumental music reveals a deep-rooted association with Gaelic traditional values, inclusive of instruments such as harp (crash), bagpipes, and fiddle. These three instruments get an intense makeover as the revival expands further, making these three uniquely identifiable. The notes and lyrics take on a new approach while presenting a challenge or the presenter, exhibiting a modern approach towards the way it was previously delivered (Tierney, 2004).

However, all of these practices share a common goal in their revival, focusing on keeping close to the actual traditions while making them significantly new at the same time. Some examples to exemplify these changes include the way the harp has become a major identifier for mastery of music among the Scottish, whereas the fiddle has taken on the role of being vibrantly more expressive towards setting musical scenes.

Most Gaelic performers have stunned their audiences with an outstanding musical show of Gaelic arts. One prominent popular name that has been continuously contributing to the genre is a Gaelic band named Manran. The band’s sole dedication is towards reviving and modifying the Runrig’s success, which was presented in the Gaelic song “Latha math,” translating to “A good day.” After its initial release, the song received massive appreciation from the public, making it ranked sixty-one in the United Kingdom’s top charts for the year. However, it will only be justifiable to include one of the top-rated chart songs in association with the present one. The song “Japanese Boy” from 1981 was one of the top-ranked songs on the music chart and became a wide sensation around the United Kingdom.

Conclusion

Gaelic music holds a deeper meaning and hails from its divided origins, found both in Ireland and from the main highlands of Scotland.  Gaelic music is expressed as an art that best fits the criterion to describe the tale of heroism, misery, or something emotional in the form of lyrics. These songs were played with the inclusion of violins and small pipes along with bagpipes in these Gaelic societies. Gaelic Songs served the traditional role of being a medium of communication at times, conveying a specific thought. It is designed and written in a specific manner, requiring the person to either sing or chant it. The traditional role of Gaelic music dates back to the time the Scottish came under the influence of British society. The Gaelic language ultimately faced a loss of its traditional value, and slowly but surely, English aesthetics started to embed into it. It was heavily influenced by European values of music and the perceived standards of a polite society. The new trend settled in the system by influencing the British Army, numerous Piping competitions, and Highland-themed games that became patrons for a diversified form of music.

References

Martin, R. (2013). Paradise Imagined: Songs of Scots Gaelic migrants in Australia, 1850–1940. Humanities Research, XIX(3).
McDonald, C. and Sparling, H. (2010). Interpretations of Tradition: From Gaelic Song to Celtic Pop. Journal of Popular Music Studies, 22(3), pp.309-328.

Tierney, A. (2004). The Gothic and the Gaelic: Exploring the Place of Castles in Ireland’s Celtic Revival. International Journal of Historical Archaeology, 8(3), pp.185-198.

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