Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Brian Boru Harp

Ireland is the only country in the world with a musical instrument as its national symbol. The harp and has been used since medieval times. The current design is based on the 'Brian Boru harp' of the 14th Century, which can be found in the museum of Trinity Colleges in the heart of Dublin.

Music from the harp accompanied all manner of entertainment and ceremony. Harps and music played on harps can be found in descriptions of nearly all medieval gatherings, from festivals and royal banquets to wakes and ale houses. Early sources consistently mention three strains of music a skilled harper must be able to perform. The three are consistently described as ones that bring about sleep, laughter, and tears. The harp was clearly the most likely instrument at any gathering or assemblage. As a result of this the harpist was often permanently employed, by anyone who might afford one. There is likewise evidence for professional itinerant players. Professional musicians seemed to have enjoyed a fairly lucrative and in some cases celebrated career. A particularly skilled player might have attained the propitious status of king’s musician, travelling and boarding with the king as part of his retinue.

No comments:

Post a Comment