A rún, fan agam is fuirigh go ló, ⁊ Bruach na coille craobhaí

On page 194 of his “Damn your Body” bundle of live transcription pages, Edward Bunting wrote live sketches of two song airs, perhaps from the singing of harper and tradition-bearer Charles Byrne in the 1790s. Because I think these are transcribed from songs and not from harp performances, I am going to look at both quickly so we can move on.

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Maidin bhog aoibhinn

During the 1790s, Edward Bunting made four different live transcriptions of the tune of Maidin bhog aoibhinn. They are in different sections of QUB SC MS4.29, and were transcribed from four different tradition-bearers. Bunting published a kind of composite or synthetic version of the tune in his Ancient Music of Ireland (1840). In this post we are going to look at the four different live transcriptions, and try to say something useful about each of them.

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Cáiteach róin

Some time in the 1790s, Edward Bunting made two different transcription notations of the tune of A cháiteach róin onto the same page in his “Damn your Body” collecting pamphlet. He later claims both were transcribed from the singer and harper Charles Byrne.

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Bradóg

We have two independent live transcription notations of this tune in Edward Bunting’s papers. In this post we will look at both of them in turn, and then we will discuss the likely provenance of each. We will also briefly consider other versions of the tune.

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Grá na mBan Óg

Edward Bunting made what looks like a live transcription of a tune which he gives two titles, Grá na mBan Óg or James Plunkett. The notation is in one of his 1790s transcription pamphlets, now bound up as Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 page 197/195/204/f97r.

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Na Gabhna Geala

In one of his little 1790s collecting pamphlets, Edward Bunting made what looks like a live transcription from a traditional performance of the tune of Na Gabhha Geala. The page is now bound up as part of Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 page 198/196/205/f97v.

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The structure of MS4.29

The other day I was in Belfast, and I went to Queen’s University Belfast Special Collections to look at Manuscript 29, which contains Edward Bunting’s live transcription notations which he did in the 1790s, as well as tunes he copied from other books, and other jottings and rough notes. But instead of looking at the notations and writing, I spent my time peering at the ends of the book, looking at how the pages are fixed together.

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