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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D’éalaigh Máire Liom

I feel like I am not making much progress going through the “Damn your Body” pamphlet, because even after looking closely at each notation I don’t have much to say about whether it is a harp transcription or how it fits into the old harp tradition. I fear that this next tune, D’éalaigh Máire Liom, on page 192, is another unsatisfactory one. But I’ll do a summary post on it, because the only other option is to give up and skip over it, and I am not ready to do that yet. I would rather have an informed opinion about every page of the manuscript, even if that opinion ends up being “I have no idea what is going on with this notation”.

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Bruach na Carraige Báine

Edward Bunting made what looks like it might be a live transcription of a performance of the traditional Irish song air, Bruach na Carraige Báine, onto the fifth page of his “Damn your Body” transcription pamphlet, some time in the 1790s.

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Damn your Body

Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 page 185/183/192/f91r is a kind of title page for a 16 page pamphlet which is now bound up in the composite manuscript MS4.29. The pamphlet consists of 16 pages in MS4.29, from page 185/183/192/f91r through to page 200/198/207/f98v, and contains live transcription notations of traditional Irish music, which were written down by Edward Bunting on his collecting trips in the 1790s. This pamphlet seems to have been bound up with all his other loose collecting pamphlets in around 1802-1805, to form the volume which is now QUB SC MS4.29.

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Uair bheag roimh an lá

The final tune in this little group of three or four tunes we have looked at recently, is Uair bheag roimh an lá, a little hour before the day. We have Edward Bunting’s live transcription dots from the 1790s, and we have piano arrangements that he made based on this transcription. In this blog post I will line all these up and try to say something useful about the live transcription dots on Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 page 94/90/099/f44v.

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Clár bog déil

The third tune in this group of four we are looking at is on the same page as the Little Munster Mantle. It is titled “Castle Moon” above the notation, and “Cleaur bug deal / soft boards of Deal” below.

This notation looks to me like it was made by Edward Bunting as live transcription “dots” written live as a traditional informant played or sang to him in the 1790s.

The notation is in Queen’s University Belfast, Special Collections, MS4.29 page 93/89/098/f44r.

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