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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
Helen O'Carolan's Air (33) RE: O'Carolan's Air 04 Apr 19


Well spotted, Jack. I have never heard the Sylvie song. Either Sylvie is long dead, or she was fictional anyway, so she won't care. LOL

And Bonnie, thanks for the info on how Carolan's Welcome transitioned from an unnamed tune in the O'Sullivan collection to having a title. I never knew that.

On the harpcolumn forum, Josh Layne comments: "..the tune is in Samuel Milligan’s “Fun From the First volume II” (harmonized differently). Milligan titles it as “Air” and lists O’Carolan as the composer" which is, I suspect the type of misinformation which Bonnie referred to above. Based on my assumption that Betty Paret's book was published first, then another person sees the Air attributed to O'Carolan and prints it in their book and before too long it is an "established fact".

One of the reasons that I could never reconcile the O'Carolan Air with any of the other pieces attributed to him is that his melodies are what I describe as deceptively simple. They appear to be simple and uncomplicated but they have all sorts of interesting bits in the melody which make them unlike any other melody I have ever heard. There are probably proper musical descriptions of what I am saying so please forgive my untrained ramblings.

Even his relatively uncomplicated melodies have an interesting lilt and to me most of his tunes are rivetting. The more complex tunes like
Mrs Judge - The Chieftains , or Miss MacDermott (Princes Royal) or The Fairy Queen or Carolan's Welcome are even more rivetting. (Note: The midi files are arranged by Barry Taylor. I love his arrangements.)

I could go on and on. I can understand why some harpers specialise in Carolan's music. It's probably like scuba diving at the Great Barrier Reef (Queensland, Oz) - which I haven't done. The more you see, the more there is to see.

I suspect that I might have chucked out the paper copy of O'Carolan's Air when I saw it a few weeks ago. "What will I ever need that for?" says my rational brain, but Murphy's Law says, "chuck it out and then you will need it!" It looks like the page that Josh Layne held up in the video so I am fairly confident that it is from the Paret book.

I also suspect that the original post on this thread was by a woman who was also on the email harplist way back then. If it is the same woman, she was an American and a flight attendant. She came to Sydney on a flight, took a two hour train trip to Newcastle and visited me. She spent most of the visit practising the harp. She was way, way better than me, because I have been bumbling along with no teacher except for a short period a few years later. That probably explains my comment about her harp playing in my first post.


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