Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
Here are 3 Irish/Celtic tunes played in succession. The first one is original, called “O’Carolan’s Lyre.”
Turlough O’Carolan was a blind Irish harper, who lived from 1670-1738. About 300 of his tunes are still in existance today. I’ve always wondered whether O’Carolan was totally blind. And either way, how did he travel from place to place? Did he stay in one place for a while and compose music for food, room and board, and/or pay? We may never know. We do know that he played the harp, and most likely it was a wire strung harp. If you haven’t heard one, it has a bright ringing sound, much brighter and more sustained than the nylon or gut strung harps we’re used to hearing.
I’m no O’Carolan, and what I’m playing here is not a harp, but a lyre. That’s where the first tune gets its name. I wrote “O’Carolan’s Lyre” as a tribute to this well-known, but still mysterious blind harper of the 17th and early 18th century.
The tunes that follow were composed by O’Carolan. They are “Brian Boru’s March” and “Planxty Eleanor Plunkett.” Each of these 3 pieces has an A section and a B section. I play them in the form AABB.
I hope you enjoy some #HarpForPeace!