July 23rd - 29th 2022


‘B’ for bass: a doorway to understanding how to arrange in old-Irish style

Dr Siobhán Armstrong

60 mins

Level: Intermediate +

Sunday July 24th

17:15 - 18:15 GMT +1

Support Material

Must have appropriate ticket to download support material


Event Overview

Edward Bunting’s ‘B’ indications, annotated near some notes in his field transcriptions of the playing of old Irish harpers, have long been understood to signify ‘bass’ i.e. the sounds produced by the harpers’ lower hands, often in gaps in the melodic line, in old Irish-harp style. These ‘B’ indications open a doorway for us into the aesthetic of vernacular Irish harp music pre 1800, showing us the way to add to a melody to build up a complete texture, without thinking in terms of European art-music ‘harmony’. This hands-on workshop explores compositions with such ‘B’ notes to hear how they function, and to learn what they teach us about early-Irish-harp playing idiom. 

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