"Irish" hymn tunes and the harp
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I'm looking for more "Irish" religious/hymn tunes than the usual suspects (Slane, St. Columba). And yes, it's a "vespers" for a Protestant church. (Remember I'm a freelance musician.)

    Any suggestions from the bright minds on this forum will be gratefully received.
  • I was thinking I had a collection that might yield something for you, but couldn't find the book I wanted. I did find a book called "The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music" in my bookcase, but it is all instrumental melodies for Irish dancing, etc. [airs, hornpipes, jigs, reels, quadrilles, etc.]. It may still be of interest to you... I could bring it with me to the colloquium in the summer and you could have a look at it. I was thinking about dusting off my violin and trying my hand at them again... the names are really fun... ex. "The Pretty Maid Milking Her Cow". I originally bought it thinking I'd teach myself to play the tinwhistle... (heh).

    If I find the other book and find any likely pieces, I'll let you know.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Oh, I've god irish tunes up one side and down the other. It's the "religious" side I'm working on. Then I found "Mary of Graces" in my Pius X hymnal. A lovely tune to play.
  • What about the various tunes associated with the hymn/text 'Saint Patrick's Breastplate'?
    Would various Celtic things count? Slane? Bunessan?
    Check out the website for Anuna for ideas.
  • G
    Posts: 1,389
    DOHMNACH TRIONOIDE? (I think that's the right spelling)

    (Save the Liturgy, Save the World)
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Many thanks, y'all.
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    I realize it's a little late for the original poster's need, but here's some info.

    _The_ traditional Irish hymn tune source is Danta De: Idir Sean agus Nuad and Danta De: Hymns to God, Ancient and Modern. There's apparently one volume in Irish with organ accompaniment and one volume in English, which may be all translation into English and no music. Also, there seems to have been some kind of combined edition. (I'm a bit confused, because I've seen varying page counts on Worldcat and rare booksellers -- 63 pp, 147 pp, and 150 pp. Anyway, all these volumes were published in 1928. There seems to have been a very small edition earlier in 1925. All the hymns were collected by Una ni Ogain and the music arranged by some O'Dwyer guy. Some of these tunes have been recorded in a 1996 album called Danta De, which is apparently out of print; and there are a few midis on Mr. Kevin Cawley's webpage: http://www.nd.edu/~wcawley/dd.htm

    This collection is apparently out of print but still under copyright. Since the actual hymns and tunes are public domain (although not the translations, one imagines), this is pretty darned annoying.

    _Ancient Irish Airs and Dances_ is the name of Dover's reprinting of Hoffman's 1877 collection _The Ancient Music of Ireland. Selected from the Petrie Collection and arranged for the pianoforte by Francis Hoffman_. It includes eight hymn tunes "at the close of the volume", of which Curry thought that pps. 130 and 132 made good settings for the Sanctus and Kyrie. I guess you could also look at the huge reprint of the Petrie Collection, but there's like 1500-some tunes to go through.

    Other Irish Trad. (and hence public domain) hymn tunes: CLONMEL, DURROW, ST. MARK'S BERKELEY, "Gabhaim Molta Brighde", "Dochas Linn Naomh Padraig", "Mo Ghrasa, Mo Dhia" (tune only!), "Rug Muire Mac do Dhia", "Do'n Oiche Ud i mBeithil", "Leanbh Ghil Mhilis", and all the Wexford/Kilmore/Enniscorthy carols of the cycle.

    Of course, more and more information about medieval Irish, Scottish, Galician, et al church music is coming out all the time. The recent recordings of Offices for St. Patrick and St. Brigid are good examples of this.

    Old Scottish hymn tunes are a lot easier to find, although the Catholic ones are proving elusive for me. However, "The Christ Child's Lullaby" (Taladh Chriosda) is not only Catholic, but was written by Fr. Rankin in Moidart in 1855. The refrain to this hymn really is a Celtic alleluia, and 5000 times prettier than that tune calling itself that.

    Meredith Hall and the band La Nef at some gorgeous church in Montreal. This sounds like I first heard it from the group Sileas.

    The recordings by Fiona Mackenzie and the Rankin Sisters on YouTube seem to reflect a different way of singing the tune -- sort of alto-y.

    (I actually don't dislike "Celtic Alleluia" per se, but it's silly to pretend it sounds like any nationality or brand of Celtic music. Because it doesn't.)

    Hope this helps for the future.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Maureen - A thousand thanks for your extensive response.

    I shall be looking up - and working on - tunes for quite some time after I sort through your sources and recommendations. Whatever doesn't get arranged and used in the short term will certainly be of value in the future.

    This generous sharing of knowledge is wonderful.

  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    I had to get up from the harp and write a special thank-you to G for Domhnach Trionoide. It's just about the most "harpable" tune I've come across in recent times. Easily moving from minor to major to minor and loaded with improvisational nuggets. And it's going to be the core for a set I'll use this weekend.

    Why I've never heard it? Go figure - I'm in Florida.

    Some day I'm going to learn Gaelic pronunciation.
  • Rahere
    Posts: 1
    There's now a State-sponsored Irish Traditional Music Archive up and running on Meirion Square in Dublin, see www.itma.ie. They may be able to come up with some more. They've recently published the Bunting index which includes the decoded melodies of something like 1500 pieces, which will need some going through as we're certain many of his transcriptions were heavily adapted.
    The other source is, of course, the Commun nà Clarsaich - there's a decent few of them working in this area out in the Isles, and those predate the split, so can be played as part of the original Irish repertoire. Quite apart from the fact you're playing for a Protestant congregation, which will make things easier denominationally.
    The other approach is the old organist's trick, match-the-metre and teach the congregation a new tune to known words. That opens up quite a lot of the simpler metrics, and quite a bit of O'Carolan - things like the Ramble to Cashel. Then there's Captain Sidley, written as his daughter's dowry when marrying someone Turlogh disapproved of.
  • Donnaswan
    Posts: 585
    I have a nice choral arr by Richard Horn for SAB and harp. Was pub by Morningstar, I think. Can't find it online. Will try to remember to look it up when I get to the office. He used "I heard the voice of Jesus say' as text. Very easy. Easily adapted to congregational singing
  • Maureen
    Posts: 655
    Apparently, some famous blind organist/composer guy named Jean Langlais did some nice arrangements of Breton hymn tunes like "Adoromp Holl". So organ people have a nice strong Celtic-y source. There's an album of them called Langlais: Chants de Bretagne.

    Also, there's a very nice online collection of Breton tunes which has a whole page of "kantikou", which are hymns and devotional songs of various kinds.
  • mjballoumjballou
    Posts: 986
    Breton music for me is like Scottish harp music. I think you have to be born with it - or be Alan Stivell - to know what to do with. However. I shall happily check out all these new suggestions. Many thanks.
  • marajoymarajoy
    Posts: 781
    Maybe this isn't quite applicable, but the St. Michael Hymnal has an absolutely beautiful song called "I Love You O My Lord Most High" (I think.) It only lists the tune as being "Traditional Irish." Anyhow, it has lovely, Irish-sounding melody line and a wonderful text. Anyone else familiar with it?