Have you encountered obstacles that led to new musical understandings, or assumptions that clashed with your ways of thinking about music?
For our last posting, we are asked to be reflective about our musical journey. Were there obstacles to learning my instrument? Absolutely. I found it difficult to not only use the appropriate technique to sing Sean-nós, but I also found it difficult to learn the pieces by listening to them instead of reading it on a score. These “assumptions” that music should be notated definitely clashed with the way traditional Irish music is learned. This project opened my eyes to the complexities of traditional music. It also made me realize that some sounds cannot be notated. That is difficult for a classical performer to understand.
I wanted to leave off my post with something new I learned this week. I included it in my presentation, but never had the opportunity to talk about it on this blog. I really enjoyed delving into this particular art form and learned along the way that there are different categories of this particular type of music. Sean-nós can be separated into four different styles:
The Donegal style has been heavily influenced by Scots Gaelic singing. It is a relatively unadorned and nasal style. The melody is sometimes less ornamented. As a result, to someone not familiar with Sean-nós, the Donegal style can stand out from other regional styles.
A more decorated style, which forms familiar to a traditional instrumentalist along with other more complex forms.
West Munster style
Also a highly ornamented style. The notes to be ornamented can be adjacent to each other like in Connemara, but at other times the gap between them can be wide.
East Munster style
The Waterford Gaeltacht also has a distinct style, despite the small size of its population.