July 23rd - 29th 2022

Player Sessions

Corelli’s 'madness': the Italians in Ireland

Dr Siobhán Armstrong

75 mins

Level: Advanced

Tuesday July 26th

15:30 - 16:45 GMT +1

Support Material

Must have appropriate ticket to download support material


Event Overview

This class will gently introduce you to the 16th- to 18th-century European art of improvising over a recurring bass / harmonic pattern (a ‘ground’), which the Italians called ‘continuo’. Our model will be the famous Italian la folia [‘madness’] ground, which was known all over Europe, including in Ireland. Like many composers around 18th-century Europe (and before), the famous Aracangelo Corelli used it to compose gorgeous ‘divisions’ [variations], which show up in an 18th-century Irish fiddle MS written only 40 minutes (and 300 years!) to the south of Kilkenny. We will examine this beautifully notated, relatively recently discovered MS source, and let it inspire us to play the fashionable ‘new’ Italianate music that would have been well known to vernacular Irish harpers pre 1800. 

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