in the fine Irish air, ' Remember the glories of Brian the Brave!'
Here again, in careless performance, D♯ may have been used instead of D♮, once or twice.
Very plaintive airs are found in the 4th scale
D to D, semitones between 3-4 and 6-7. In this scale lies the air 'Weep on!'
Moore seems to have noticed the peculiar wail, thrice repeated, of the second strain, but to have been unaware of the true cause, when he says, 'We find some melancholy note intrude—some minor third or flat seventh, which throws its shade as it passes and makes even mirth interesting.'
The bagpipe of Ireland is distinguished from the Scottish pipes by being blown with bellows instead of the mouth: from this cause, and the delicacy of its reeds, the tone is softer. Dr. Burney remarked upon the perfection of the intervals of the Irish chanter (or melody-pipe), which he had never met with in the pipes of North Britain. The scale of the Irish bagpipe is from C below the treble stave to C above it, with all the semitones. The Irish instrument is also furnished with a sort of tenor harmony of chords:—
The pipe of Scotland has nothing of this sort, and, as previously noticed, its scale is only nine notes and is not very true in general. There generally are two drones in the Scottish pipe, A and its octave; and three in the Irish instrument, generally middle C, tenor C, and violoncello C. The ancient Irish bagpipe, like that of Scotland, was an instrument of shrill and warlike tone, by which, as Stanihurst tells us, the natives were animated—as other people are by trumpets. The bagpipe, perhaps the oldest and most widely known instrument in the world, still subsists in Ireland; the harp however is almost extinct: both have been in a great degree superseded by the violin and flute, which are cheaper, more readily repaired, and above all more portable: most of the ancient minstrels of Ireland found it necessary to maintain attendants to carry their harps. Of late years, during the Temperance movement and the various semi-military organizations which have sprung up in Ireland, brass and reed bands have become popular, and play through the streets of the towns; the music produced by them is however for the most part execrable. Choral classes are not popular throughout the country: they meet with no favour among the peasantry of the South and West. In the Eastern coast towns, like Dublin, Kingstown, Wicklow, and Wexford, choral music is not popular, and in the Northern town of Belfast, the only manufacturing community in the island, we seek in vain for choral associations like those of Leeds, Bradford, etc., among the artizans, although oratorios are fairly supported by the middle class.
Dismissing the bagpipe, ancient or improved, we find among ancient Irish wind-instruments the following: (1) the Ben-Buabhill (pronounced Ben-Buffal), a real horn, generally that of a wild ox or buffalo; (2) the Buinne, a metal trumpet the horn and trumpet players were assigned regular places in the famous banqueting hall of Tara; (3) the Corn, a large curved tube, producing sounds of great power; (4) the Stoc, a smaller trumpet; (5) the Sturgan, another small trumpet. It is singular that all these pipes were curved: no straight pipe, like an oboe or clarinet, having been found in Ireland. (6) Some large horns were discovered, of which the embouchure, like that of the Ashantee trumpet, was at the side. Singular to say, the Irish possessed an instrument very similar to the Turkish crescent or 'Jingling Johnny' once used in the British army: it was called the 'Musical Branch,' and was adorned with numerous bells. There were single bells called clothra: the so-called crotals are merely sheep-bells of the 17th and 18th centuries. It should be remarked that the tympan was not a drum, as was formerly supposed, but a stringed instrument, and by the researches of the antiquary O'Curry it is proved to have been played with a bow. Some other allusions to music are found in Irish MSS., viz. the aidsbi, an union of all voices, a vocal tutti as it were: this was called cepoc in Scotland. The certan was some sort of chirping sound by female singers: the dordfiansa, a warlike song accompanied by the clashing of spears after the Greek manner. An interesting example
- This is the distinction between the Musette and the Cornemuse, the former answering to the Scotch and the latter to the Irish Pipe.