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PostPosted: Thu Jul 12, 2018 7:58 pm 
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Hello! Am currently doing a research essay on Irish traditional folk music and am wondering if any of you know any pieces that have polyphonic/heterophonic texture and ornamentation in the melody. Thxs!:)


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 12:31 am 
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ibstudent wrote:
Hello! Am currently doing a research essay on Irish traditional folk music and am wondering if any of you know any pieces that have polyphonic/heterophonic texture and ornamentation in the melody. Thxs!:)

Hello ibstudent and welcome to the forums.

I'm not quite sure I follow your question. Polyphony and/or heterophony occur when more than one person is playing a tune and, whether through design or, more usually, by accident, they play it slightly differently from each other. Ornamentation is used throughout Irish music, and does not apply to any one particular tune, although there are certain places within tunes where certain ornamentations may be expected.

In other words, I'm not sure your question, as posed, is answerable. I'll await other opinions with interest.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 4:14 am 
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I'd agree with Ben, but suggest that true polyphony (i.e. the interweaving of two or more equally important independent lines) can't happen that way, so would need to be introduced by conscious arrangement in a fundamentally melodic music. While some minor heterophony's almost inevitable (one might even argue desirable) when two or more players get together on tunes learned/developed by ear, I still wouldn't describe the music as intrinsically heterophonic like Scottish Gaelic psalm singing, where heterophony's a core feature of the style. And, as Ben says, ornamentation is basically universal.

If the question is does anyone know any recordings (not pieces) demonstrating polyphonic/heterophonic texture and ornamentation in the melody, it may be answerable. If just generic, I'd say not because you're looking at a fundamentally monodic style that's also frequently done homophonically by groups/bands.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 7:31 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
true polyphony

I know what you mean, Peter, but I discovered some years ago that ethnomusicologists (maybe just some?) use the term "polyphony" almost interchangeably with "heterophony", to mean what I was talking about. It is certainly confusing when a term used already in a technical sense in the study of music is then used in a different way in a different context.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 9:26 am 
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Yes, I know polyphony's also widely used to denote number of simultaneously possible notes on digital pianos/keyboards and other devices with musical playback capability (remember when 'polyphonic' ringtones were state-of-the-art?), but 'polyphonic/heterophonic' still suggests 'either/or' to me rather than alternative ways of describing the same thing.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 1:56 pm 
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ibstudent wrote:
Hello! Am currently doing a research essay on Irish traditional folk music and am wondering if any of you know any pieces that have polyphonic/heterophonic texture and ornamentation in the melody. Thxs!:)

Hello, ibstudent. As previously pointed out, one cannot really look to particular pieces for established polyphonic/heterophonic/ornamental textures. One has to look instead to particular traditions within the tradition, such as Gaelic psalmody, as Peter Duggan noted (and well worth checking out on YouTube, I might add). But in general, in Trad most instruments themselves are considered solo melody instruments first, so polyphony isn't considered germane, but extraneous to performing on them, while ornamentation is a matter of the performer's choice. However, closest to choral singing is the harp, so you would naturally find polyphony there, but that too is subject to the player's interpretation and personal style. Further complicating that issue is the stylistic division between playing the wire-strung and gut-strung harp; the more so-called "Italianate" approaches of the 17th cent. onward were completely unsuitable to the earlier wire harp simply by virtue of the sustained ring of wire strings. In accompanying singing or melody, a wire harper would do best with the simplest of polyphonies, or possibly a light contrapuntal approach rather than the lush chords that sit so well on the gut-strung harp. But the whole point is that wherever you look, in the end there's no one way everyone does the same, if at all.

From Cambrensis, we do know that complex polyphony in Irish/Highland Scottish/Welsh traditional music (at least with the harp and choral singing) goes easily as far back as the 12th century and was no doubt already a very sophisticated tradition long before the Normans even thought of invading Ireland, but how it was expressed at the time is nowadays at best a matter of educated guess.

Not sure if this adequately explains the sheer scope of the issue facing you, but I hope it does. If I've misinterpreted the question, perhaps you could clarify?

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:51 pm 
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Nearly suggested earlier that you might also get close to true polyphony with skillful use of regulators on the uilleann pipes. Which we could describe as established tradition now if not of remotely comparable antiquity to the harp stuff Nano's talking about.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 13, 2018 3:53 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Nearly suggested earlier that you might also get close to true polyphony with skillful use of regulators on the uilleann pipes. Which we could describe as established tradition now if not of remotely comparable antiquity to the harp stuff Nano's talking about.

Ah, good point. Accordion, too. Or double-stopping on the fiddle.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:26 pm 
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Bothy Band: Maids of Mitchellstown. Next?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 1:54 pm 
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bensdad wrote:
Bothy Band: Maids of Mitchellstown. Next?

Aha. It didn't occur to me that ibstudent might be asking about particular performance arrangements. It would be good if we knew for sure.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 5:36 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Aha. It didn't occur to me that ibstudent might be asking about particular performance arrangements.

See my comment five days ago:
'If the question is does anyone know any recordings (not pieces) demonstrating polyphonic/heterophonic texture and ornamentation in the melody, it may be answerable.'

Quote:
It would be good if we knew for sure.

It would be nice if the OP responded.

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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2018 7:05 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
See my comment five days ago:

Oops. :oops:

Missed that. Sorry.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 22, 2018 3:02 pm 
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This recording immediately came to mind...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6IuSEUrt63M

Liam O'Flynn & Paddy Moloney - Dueling Chanters


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