Experimental workshops comparing the musical performance of vernacular poetry in medieval Wales, Ireland and Scotland

Workshop 1 Scotland and Ireland

(Saturday 4 April 2009: School of Celtic Studies, Edinburgh)

Virginia Blankenhorn (voice) and Patsy Seddon (harp)
Tuar guil, a cholaim, do cheol
! An argument for, and an attempt at, the oral performance of rainn agus amhrán verse

William Gillies
Music and Gaelic Strict-metre Poetry

Donald Meek, assisted by traditional singers Margaret Callan and Catriona Garbutt: From the Era of Ossian to the Age of the IPod: The Transmission and Performance of Gaelic Heroic Ballads

Simon Chadwick
The musical possibilities and limitations of an early Gaelic harp, demonstrating Davy Patton's replica of the 'Queen Mary' instrument

Lillis Ó Laoire:
Reclaiming Syllabic Poetry: An Experimental Performance

Breandán Ó Madagáin:
Irish lament in syllabic and accented verse

The following downloads are available
programme_for_workshop_1_scotland_and_ireland.pdfPDF60.76 Kb

Workshop 2 Wales and Ireland

(Saturday 16 May 2009: Powis Hall, Bangor University)

Virginia Blankenhorn and Paul Dooley (harp)
Revisiting the performance of dán díreach

Dafydd Johnston
The cywydd metre and cynghanedd

Eurig Salisbury (poet) Pwyll ap Siôn (composer) and Gwenan Gibbard (harp):
Cyplysu Cerddoriaeth â Barddoniaeth ('Matching poetry with music') 

Sally Harper
The partnership of string and tongue in medieval Wales

Project Datgeiniaeth (Peter Greenhill, Gareth Siôn, Gwilym Morus and Twm Morys)
The performing of medieval poetry in practice

The following downloads are available
evening_recital.docWord299.50 Kb
bangor_programme_16_may.pdfPDF61.65 Kb
rhaglen_bangor_16_mai.pdfPDF120.08 Kb

Workshop Events

The Performance of Vernacular Bardic Poetry in Wales, Scotland and Ireland during the Medieval and Early Modern Period

The main outcome of the two workshop-events integral to this project is a series of 35 video clips grouped under the umbrella title of 'Voicing the Verse / Y Gerdd ar Gân'. These may be accessed direct through the Photo and Video Gallery on these pages, which have click-links to the relevant materials on YouTube's Beyond Text channel. All of the clips feature experimental (though historically-informed) performances of poems from the three bardic regions and draw on various forms of declamation and accompaniment. Fuller details may be found in the various downloadable materials available elsewhere on this site. Texts and translations for the poems are also to be found within the Video Gallery (please click 'other'). The project pages are regularly updated and additional materials relating to methodology and context will appear over the next few weeks. 

The 35 video clips themselves are organized within seven categories. Clips 1-17 were filmed at the second workshop (Wales and Ireland) and Clips 18-35 (Ireland and Scotland) at the first workshop. They are ordered within the following categories:

Wales I: Project Datgeiniaeth (clips 1/35-8/35)
Wales II: Contemporary strict-metre setting (clips 9/35-12/35)
Ireland I: The sung performance of Classical Irish verse (clips 13/35-17/35)
Ireland II: Settings to syllabic airs (clips 18/35-23/35)
Ireland III: The Lament and the Keen (clips 24/35-27/35)
Scotland: The Gaelic Heroic Ballad Tradition (clips 28/35-32/35)
Instrumental Examples (clips 33/35-35/35)

As these are workshop recordings, viewers should not expect technical reproduction to be perfect, nor performances to be completely polished. However, each audio-visual clip is a vital record of the performances prepared especially for the two workshops and a testament to work in progress. The series 'Voicing the Verse / Y Gerdd ar Gân' is thus intended to enable ongoing evaluation and discussion, with a view to developing some of the performance styles seen here through serious dialogue between practitioners and scholars.


The following downloads are available
final_report_on_medieval_vernacular_poetry.pdfPDF97.29 Kb
programme_contribution_statement.pdfPDF31.58 Kb

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