Thursday, July 31, 2014

Ancient Irish Music: Prior to 1100, there were no unified forms of musical tablature

The main reason there is no written record of Irish music prior to 1100 has to do with the systems in which the music was taught and performed:

The pre-Christian Irish had their ogham music-tablature, and the Irish of the seventh-eleventh century had the neumal accents, after which the Guidonian system was adopted The Guidonian hand was known in Ireland at the close of the eleventh century

Ogham = An ancient British and Irish alphabet, consisting of twenty characters formed by parallel strokes on either side of or across a continuous line.  The very word ogham suggests at once a musical signification, and, therefore, it is of the very highest importance to claim for Ireland the earliest form of musical tablature.
http://www.claddaghdesign.com/blog/history/a-guide-to-the-ogham-alphabet/

A neume (/ˈnjuːm/; spelled neum in, for instance, the Solesmes publications in English)[1][2][3] is the basic element of Western and Eastern systems of musical notation prior to the invention of five-line staff notation. The word is a Middle English corruption of the Greek word for breath (πνεῦμα pneuma).
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neume

The Guidonian hand was known in Ireland at the close of the eleventh century
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guidonian_hand

Irish Dance Traditions

Dancing in the Middle Ages (England) Irish dance dates back to its origins in Europe in the 11th and 12th centuries and became closely ...