Feagh an Geleash

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FEAGH AN GELEASH (Try if it is in Tune). AKA - "Faigh an Gléas" (Find the Key). Irish, Air (3/4 time). G Mixolydian {?}. Standard tuning (fiddle). One part. The Irish collector Edward Bunting describes the piece as "an ancient Irish prelude" in the introduction to his 1840 collection. The tune was one given to Bunting by Hempson, the last of the very old brass-strung harpers, at the time of the 1792 Belfast Festival to which all the surviving old Irish harpers were invited. Bunting says:

It was with great reluctance that the old harper was prevailed on to play even the fragment of it here preserved, to gratify the Editor, to whom he acknowledged he was under obligations. He would rather, he asserted, have played any other air, as this awakened recollections of the days of his youth, of friends whom he had outlived, and of times long past, when the harpers were accustomed to play the ancient caoinans or lamentations, with their corresponding preludes. When pressed to play, notwithstanding, his peevish answer uniformly was, "What's the use of doin' so? no one can understand it now, not even any of the harpers now living.

Additional notes

Printed sources : - O'Sullivan/Bunting, 1983; No. 156, pp. 212-214.

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