Gaelic Music Essay
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 through the explanation of how most an association can be formed with various art forms but the difference arises with each performer, singer or a song writer. Although age forms as one of the significant factors in this differentiation. Consideration towards 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.
Origin of Gaelic Music
The term Gaelic music, holding a deeper meaning and hailing 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 has been an art that best fits the criterion to describe the tale of heroism, misery or something emotional in form of lyrics. Historians associate with 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 harmonically 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 “ioram” while songs sung by women were called “Orian lu(adh)aidh.” Known to be especially liked in big gathering, Gaelic songs were played with the inclusion of violins and small pipes along with bag pipes in these Gaelic societies.
Traditions and Transitions
Gaelic Songs served the traditional role of being 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 its origin gaining an actualization as Gaelic Poetry initially. Gaelic Poetry is designed and written in a specific manner in which requires the person to either sing or chant it, stanza by stanza. This virtually eliminating 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 which most poets have used in their poetry and songs writers in their songs, as well as the ones witnessed in the plays. The traditional role for Gaelic music dates as back to during the time Scottish came under the influence of British societies. This was not as bad as the poverty stricken communities of Gaelic communities in Canadians that were pushed to the extents of migrating, making Gaelic language take a massive impact from this move. Gaelic language was ultimately faced a loss towards its traditional value and slowly but surely English aesthetics started to embed into it.
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 towards the Gael cultural values. This change resulted in most of the talented people start to disappear with the progression and the transition that took place, right after the emigration. In consideration of the before mentioned fact, after the move a few institutions were established to educate the young minds towards the values of Gaelic language and music, however, most of these schools were reformed according to the European culture. The change gradually took root into the Gaelic language and song writing, allowing for most of the concepts to change over time, heavily influenced by European values of music and the perceived standards of a polite society. Although the governing parties for these societies were mainly people that were non-Gaelic and hailed from regions unassociated with the highlands of Scotland. The new trend settled in the system by influencing 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
Often times 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 on two meanings, the first one related to an identification of people while the latter reflects on the qualities found, making a music distinguished as Celtic music. Most notable personalities in the field of music have presented their views on Celtic music to be sharing a common element between them.
In regards to music, especially Gaelic songs being Celtic 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 offering more towards the originality and commonality, while sharing a common shared goal with a 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 its relationship and its 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, the Gaelic music has seen a new wave of modernity, being revived from its once forgotten and slumbering state as various song writers and musicians revive it with a blend of unique style. An evident example is of a Scottish Psalter that has involved with 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 a 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 soul within each lyric. A close analysis for the instrumental music reveals a deep rooted associated with the Gaelic traditional values, inclusive of instruments such as harp (clarash), bagpipes and fiddle. These three instruments getting an intense makeover as the revival expands further, making these three uniquely identifiable. The notes and lyrics taking 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 its revival, focusing on keeping close to the actual traditions while making it significantly new at the same time. Some examples to exemplify these changes include the way harp has become a major identifier for mastery for 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. Some prominent from popular notable names that have been continuously contributing towards the genre are of 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 a massive appreciation from the public, making it ranked at sixty one in the United Kingdom’s top charts for the year. Although, it will only be justifiable to include one of the top rated chart songs in association to the present one. The song “Japanese Boy” from 1981 was one of the top ranked music chart songs that became a wide sensation around the United Kingdom.
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 form of lyrics. These songs were played with the inclusion of violins and small pipes along with bag pipes in these Gaelic societies. Gaelic Songs served the traditional role of being medium of communication at times, conveying a specific thought. Being designed and written in a specific manner in which it requires the person to either sing or chant it. The traditional role for Gaelic music dates as back to during the time Scottish came under the influence of British societies. Gaelic language was ultimately faced a loss towards 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 British Army, numerous Piping competitions and Highland themed games that became patrons for a diversified form of music.
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.