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Morgan Magan

Posted by JanetB, written by O'Carolan

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- Play count: 307

Size: 1,034kb, uploaded 9/17/2011 3:57:20 PM
Genre: Fiddle/Celtic/Irish / Playing Style: Clawhammer and Old-Time

Another lively tune by the great Irish harpist of the early 1700's. His genius for composing baffles me.



7 comments on “Morgan Magan”

Bob Frost Says:
Sunday, September 18, 2011 @12:06:05 AM

Nicely done. Janet!

I agree with you about his amazing melodies. Even in the simple, single melody lines—all that came down to us— after 300 years they are still attractive and moving. He is still considered to be Ireland's National Composer.

There's a story about his composing. Carolan couldn't write, of course, because he was blind. However, he apparently had developed a way to compose using his coat buttons to represent notes so, while riding on his horse led by his squire to his next destination, he'd use his fingers and coat buttons to compose tunes. It occurred to me this was probably the earliest form of digital recording.

JanetB Says:
Sunday, September 18, 2011 @5:41:07 AM

Thanks for listening, Bob.

I can't imagine how Mr. Carolan did this with buttons. If you can, explain it to me. I was thinking he laid out lots of buttons like musical notes on a staff, something like an early form of Braille, but this he couldn't do while riding. I didn't know he was considered a National Composer in Ireland and that he's still so highly regarded there even today. Derek Bell must have been a great boost in having another generation appreciate his music.

Bob Frost Says:
Sunday, September 18, 2011 @7:40:10 AM

I haven't a clue about the buttons.

You'd be surprised how many Irish in Ireland (or the U.S.) have no idea of who Turlough O'Carolan is (or was). That was one of the big attractions of the Angel Band when we played the festivals in Ireland, Bringing their own music back to them from America filtered through a few hundred years to a completely different performance style. There is a continuing love affair between Ireland and America, so the willingness to accept and appreciate through cultural exchange was right up front.

I'm pretty sure you would enjoy the O'Carolan Festivals in Ireland. There's one coming up in October in Nobber, Co. Meath: carolanfestival.com/Welcome.html. This is the oldest and probably best known of the two festivals and it's near where Carolan was born & raised. The other festival is in Keadue in the Summer: harp.net/Keadue/KeadueIndex.htm. This is near where O'Carolan passed his last days and where he is buried. There is one O'Carolan Festival in the U.S. that I know about in Worcester VT, also in the Summer: carolanfestvt.com/

JanetB Says:
Sunday, September 18, 2011 @7:55:19 AM

Interesting information. Thanks, Bob. It must be like old-time music. We're all so fond of it, but most people haven't a clue other than what the mass media has allowed them to view.

Bob Frost Says:
Sunday, September 18, 2011 @1:23:56 PM

Most of the stuff I like, I got from playing with other players and getting to recognize my own preferences over the years. Then I might seek out other sources, like CDs, youtubes, banjo hangout. People in general have never figured into my equation. The people who like the music are the ones that are there when you're playing it, listening or playing along, or both.

As my friend, Harvey Reid, has observed, "The field of Unpopular Music is wide open!" Rule Number One for me is too have a good time with the music. Right away that lets out being solely a professional musician (bless those that are and may they live long and prosper).

BrittDLD1 Says:
Saturday, October 1, 2011 @7:59:03 PM

One of MY all-time favorite O'Carolan tunes! (I was heavily influenced by Fennig's All Stars in my youth!)
A friend's daughter (Megan) was named after it. I walk around humming it (or more likely, lilting it) every so often -- but still haven't worked it out on the banjo. Don't be surprised if I talk Don into working on it soon. (Imitation IS the sincerest form of flattery! ;-)

JanetB Says:
Saturday, October 1, 2011 @8:41:32 PM

Thank you, Ed. I'm already flattered and glad that there's another O'Carolan fan in our Hangout. I recently learned George Brabazon, 1st and 2nd airs, and there's still many more O'Carolan tunes I want to learn, not just listen to.

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