Irish Music - From a Millennium of Unwritten Music
• Renowned since the 10th century
• An aural courtly tradition unique in the western world
• Celebrated in church, state and celestial realms
• A profession of high status serving kings and chieftains
• An activity accessible to all society
• That gave Ireland its national emblem
And we’re only starting to write it down since the 1970s?
Isn’t it interesting – intriguing even - that for such a history as we have in Ireland with the Irish harp, that the first meaningful notations were only published in 1976? The harp music of Edward Bunting transcribed from the harpers at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792 was arranged for piano when it was published. Why? Because Irish harpers passed their music from generation to generation orally – teaching and learning ‘by ear’ - so, they had no need for books of notations! Indeed they would not have been able to read them anyway!