Carolan's Fifth Untitled Piece


By the early nineteenth century, the harp itself was extinct in Ireland. Carolan's tunes were popular with harpers, and were later kept alive by fiddlers, pipers, and whistle players. Still, they may have been lost had it not been for the efforts that were begun at the end of the eighteenth century to collect Irish music.
Because the bardic tradition was an oral one, music had never been written down. Harpers prided themselves on their memory, but this had an unfortunate result - only 30 or so tunes known to have been composed by Irish harpers before Carolan have survived. Considering that 2,000 lute pieces and 600 virginal pieces from the Elizabethan period have been preserved, the loss of several centuries' worth of harp music was clearly a cultural tragedy. Fortunately, Carolan's case was different - 214 of his tunes have survived.

Song Notations

Notations are courtesy of Carolan, the Life and Times of an Irish Harper by Dónal O'Sullivan vol 1 Celtic Music Edition 1983.

Courtesy of Vivian and Jack Hennessey,, 2005.
Replay background music: Fifth untitled tune

Filleadh go liosta
Back to Carolan Tunes List