NPU Written Music Collection

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Ben Shaffer
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NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

I was not familiar with the NPU, or the Na Piobari Uilleann until recently.
Its otherwise known as The Society of Irish Pipers
The archives on this website have over 35 Music Publications from the 18th Century up through the 20th Century.
All of the written Music is here for your perusal
If you are curious about what some Musicians in Ireland were playing back in the 18th and 19th century here it is
I am guessing those that were able to read and play this Music with the German Flute back then were Middle and Upper Class Casual Players or Musicians
I also suspect there were those back then that were playing Music aurally and likely never had access to these Publications and may not have been able to read written Music.
I wonder if those that were playing Music by Ear then were playing the same as the written music contained in these early Publications.
I'm going to be playing Music from the early Publications in the Archive and see if I come across any current Music played at Sessions.
A lot of these Publications have Country Dance Pieces as well as certain 3/4 Pieces which you would not likely hear at Present day Sessions, but I could be wrong :D
Here is the Link
https://pipers.ie/source/imco/

It would be interesting seeing hand written Musical Manuscripts from the 18th century from Musicians in Ireland
I've seen Manuscripts of Fifers from the US during this period, although they tend to be Marches and County Dance Pieces
Seanie
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Seanie »

Hi Ben

Thanks for the link. I had a quick peruse.

There's plenty to be gained from the later ones as well. The last one on the list - Ceol Brendan Breathnach - has some fine tunes. I saw that he has a tune called 'Lomanach Cross' which was recorded by Denis Murphy under the title 'The Road to Town' and recently recorded by Carberry and McGovern on their CD Forgotten Gems. A lovely simple tune which would suit the flute well.

Cheers

John
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Hey John, I agree there is a lot to be gained by going through these Publications.
If nothing else I really delight in sight reading pieces out of Publications like this.
Given that there are so many Pieces when combined out of these Books, Its possible you may be playing a Tune that has not been played in years,or even a Century, how cool is that?
Also for those Members of the Board that don't read the "Dots", one could learn the basics within a week and be playing these delightful Tunes. We're not talking Classical Music here, these Tunes are very easy and fun to play
Many in the earlier Publications may not be Tunes heard these Days at Sessions, O'Carolan Tunes excepted
BTW, there are a number of 20 th Century Publications in this Archive
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Seanie wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 9:00 am
There's plenty to be gained from the later ones as well. The last one on the list - Ceol Brendan Breathnach - has some fine tunes. I saw that he has a tune called 'Lomanach Cross' which was recorded by Denis Murphy under the title 'The Road to Town' and recently recorded by Carberry and McGovern on their CD Forgotten Gems. A lovely simple tune which would suit the flute well.
Hi John,

IMCO originally depended on the Sibelius plug-in for its notations. When the support for that ended (in my browsert anyway) I more or less dropped out of using it. Terry Moylan put a lot of time and effort into setting it up.

Just had a quick look at the Ceol collection after seeing your post (my own collection of Ceol issues is gapped to say the least: I picked up a lot of early copies Breandán was selling off for 40p and later got some o9ld stock off NPU as well). Lomanach Cross is one of thiose tunes a lot of people would play as a reel but it always leaves a sense of having started out as a fling. Came across a nice version of Miss Langfort (from Sonny Brogan) as well, I learned a version from Bobby Casey and Joe Ryan once but liked this take. Will have to spend some time on that part of it.
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

The very first Tune in " A Collection of the most Celebrated Irish Tunes) (Dublin 1724) is a O'Carolan Waltz called King of the Blind. I played this Piece years ago at Rev War Reenactments and played it now and again at Irish Sessions.
I believe I got a copy of this Piece from a Fiddle Player I bumped into at an Event, but have since lost the Copy and it seemed to have left my memory bank, so was glad to come across it again in this Publication
I never knew it was an O'Carolan Piece until I heard Martin Doyle playing it

http://www.martindoyleflutes.com/baroque-flutes.html
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Liam O'Flynn recorded The King of the Blind didn't he? I have a 1986 facsimile edition by Nicholas Carolan of the Neal collection, not something I'd use much although quite a few tunes in it are played today, Fairy Queen. Morgan Magan and other Carolan stuff for example (the only tunes published during his lifetime, if I recall correctly). Nicholas Carolan, in his notes to the pieces in the collection, describes The King of the Blind as 'a modern instrumental piece' by an unknown composer (ie not a Carolan 'waltz') and quotes it described as 'Italianate'
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 10:17 am Liam O'Flynn recorded The King of the Blind didn't he? I have a 1986 facsimile edition by Nicholas Carolan of the Neal collection, not something I'd use much although quite a few tunes in it are played today, Fairy Queen. Morgan Magan and other Carolan stuff for example (the only tunes published during his lifetime, if I recall correctly). Nicholas Carolan, in his notes to the pieces in the collection, describes The King of the Blind as 'a modern instrumental piece' by an unknown composer (ie not a Carolan 'waltz') and quotes it described as 'Italianate'

Now that is controversial. The written music in the Archives is in Modern Notation, but the publication is from 1724. This would take some investigative sleuth work :D
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Mr.Gumby »

Not quite sure which part you think of as controversial. The edition I am looking at is a photographic facsimile of a copy held in Queens University in Belfast. In fact Bunting's personal copy. The notation is clear (can post a scan if necessary). If your comment is directed a Nicholas C's footnote to KotB that I referred to, , I think we can usually trust he does the necessary legwork when researching a subject. He partially quotes a comment on the piece from a 1972 dissertation by Anne Willes. As dissertations go, they usually involve some serious sleuthing, if you want to call it that.
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Thu Nov 25, 2021 2:40 pm Not quite sure which part you think of as controversial. The edition I am looking at is a photographic facsimile of a copy held in Queens University in Belfast. In fact Bunting's personal copy. The notation is clear (can post a scan if necessary). If your comment is directed a Nicholas C's footnote to KotB that I referred to, , I think we can usually trust he does the necessary legwork when researching a subject. He partially quotes a comment on the piece from a 1972 dissertation by Anne Willes. As dissertations go, they usually involve some serious sleuthing, if you want to call it that.
[/quote

Well I think we can agree it may be a pretty well researched piece of Music.
Nice piece to play regardless of who wrote it :)
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

A book on O'Carolan as follows makes no mention of the KIng of the Blind as being one of the 214 Pieces composed by O'Carolan

O'Sullivan, Donal (1958). Carolan: The life, times, and music of an Irish harper. London, UK: Routledge and Kegan Paul. vol. 2, p. 116.
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Out of a Folk Music Archive , this seems pretty well put and points out that this piece may have been attributed to O'Carolan, when it may have actually been composed about O'Carolan as "the King of the Blind ( Harpers)"

KING OF THE BLIND. Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. "King of the Blind" is an harp air of uncertain origin first printed by John and William Neal in Dublin in 1724 in their Collection of the Most Celebrated Irish Tunes. As "Carelon or King of the Blind" the tune can be found in the late 18th/early 19th century music manuscript collection of Pádraig Ó Néill (1765-1832), of Owning, near Piltown, north-east of Carrick on Suir. As indicated in Néill's manuscript, the tune has been associated (and sometimes, albeit without evidence, attributed) with blind Irish harper Turlough Carolan (1670-1734), who may have been said to have been 'king of the blind [harpers]'.
Interesting how one short Piece of Music likes this is so thought provoking, well for at least a few of us :D
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Mr.Gumby »

For anyone who hasn't run away Here is Liam O Flynn's take on the King of the Blind. I really can't find a waltz hiding in there (aside from the fact waltzes were just starting to develop in Germany around the time of publication).

And the relevant page from Neale's collection:

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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

Thanks for this Copy of the Musical Piece in question Mr. Gumby. I really enjoy seeing Older written Music
. Mr. Gumby is this off the internet, or do you collection Older Publications or Copies ?
One thing that would have been nice in the NPU Music Archives would be to have had actually copies of the original written Music, but Beggars can't be choosers :D
This is is in no way a criticism of the NPU and I do appreciate the work they have done in making these Publications available to us, even if they have been done in a modern format
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Mr.Gumby »

See earlier posts:
I have a 1986 facsimile edition by Nicholas Carolan of the Neal collection, not something I'd use much although quite a few tunes in it are played today, Fairy Queen. Morgan Magan and other Carolan stuff for example (the only tunes published during his lifetime, if I recall correctly).
and
The edition I am looking at is a photographic facsimile of a copy held in Queens University in Belfast. In fact Bunting's personal copy. The notation is clear (can post a scan if necessary).
You can find that sort of thing on various sites as well, for example Ross' music pages which has scans of O'Farrell's Pocket Companion, vol 1, vol 2, vol 3 and vol 4, among many other things
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Re: NPU Written Music Collection

Post by Ben Shaffer »

OK Thanks for the Tip.
I had a copy of O'Ferrells Collection of National Irish Music, but I gave that to the National Park Service here
I also play GH Bagpipes and I know the Ross Site had a lot of Music focused in that direction You could spend days researching everything on the Ross Site and then its got links to many other sites
At one time I had a a number of Copies of English as well as American Publications from the 18th and early 19th century mainly Country Dances as well as Early American Fife Manuscripts. I donated these to the Library of the Guilford Courthouse National Park.
I still have 2 Volumes of the James Aird Publications from Scotland.
I love the title "A Selection of Scotch,English, Irish and Foreign Airs adopted to the Fife,Violin, or German Flute, Glasgow Printed and sold by James Aird"
Its interesting in this Time Period this Music is referred to as "Airs" s The Books only contain 6/8 and 2/4 Pieces and nothing we would now know as actual Airs .The Pieces within these Books are a delight to play, but really nothing heard these days being played accept for fans like myself of Music from this Time Period Not sure of the actual dates of Publication of the Aird Books, but I thninl very early 19th century
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