Thursday, January 1, 2009

Celtic Annum Chant - New Year

Listen and Read - History on Tap

Chants were learned by viva voce, orally learned through example. The notation is a graphic form of signs, called neumes. They are based on a musical gesture, and eventually changed to become the five-line staff we know know for music notation, first used in the 16th century.

Traditionally sung by choirs of men and boys in churches, or women and men of religious orders in their chapels, there are Gregorian and Ambrosian chants, and a Mozarabic chant used in Spain.

Gregorian chant was promoted across Europe by Charlemagne, when he became Holy Roman Emperor, and spread as far as Scandinavia, Iceland and Finland.

There was resistence in displacing the Celtic chant in Brittany, the British Isles and Ireland with Gregorian chant until the 9th century.

Irish monks formed monasteries throughout Europe such as the Abbey of St. Gall in Switzerland.

To hear a chant
sung by
Rick Dechance in German Latin, go to this link.



If you are interested in history, the Dark Ages or Ireland, and looking for a good non-fiction holiday read while you are in front of the yule fire sipping hot toddies, check out 'How
the Irish Saved Civilization' by Thomas Cahill.

He tells the tale, all historically true, how Irish monks maintained the records of Western Civilization to prevent their total loss and preserve much of western culture. This is the first book in a seven book series by Cahill on Western history, called the Hinges of History series. (256 pages, published first in Feb. 2996)


If you're in the mood for something lighter and more in fiction, try any of the Sister Fidelma Mystery series by Peter Tremayne. I suggest 'The Haunted Abbot: A Mystery of Ancient Ireland' or 'The Subtle Serpent: A Celtic Mystery'.

He tells the story of an irish woman,
Sister Fidelma, who is a both a 7th
century nun and a dalaigh (or advocate)
authorized to practice law in the courts of Ireland.

There are celtic political intrigues, historical details and a murder mystery to be solved. The historical background includes sites of geographical details in Ireland, castles such as Cashel and hills of renown that still exist today.

Peter Tremayne is a pen name for the Celtic schloar Peter Berresford Ellis, a born storyteller with the historical knowledge to keep it true while making it interesting reading. He is still writing the series about Sister Fidelma, and you may be able to find these books at the public library - if you do, check them all out and settle down for a long, good read.

Hot toddy optional but highly recommended.

Happy New Year -
Sales going on in both shops - grab some year end specials and start off 2009 with me!

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