The difference between a slow air and a lament

The difference between a slow air and a lament

What is it?

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Do you mean as in the "Caboose’s Lament" (french)

or from cowboy laments to seafaring chants?

Leaky bellows?

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

I think maybe you need to listen to a singer rendering the air/ lament and then you can figure it out from the tone of the song.
Laments whilst sad, often have an uplifting section to counterbalance.

Posted .

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Joseph, I’ve just listened to your Caoineath on Soundlantern , and I’m sure it would be considered an air as well as a lament. Very nice playing. I’ve heard the traditional air Caoineadh an Spailpin (The spalpeen’s lament) played in a fleadh in the fiddle slow airs category.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Maybe a lament is dedicated to a particular person or event and a slow air could be anything else that is played with maximum expression? For my money either way they both are a so and so to play without getting over self indulgent (guilty as charged, yer honour).

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

a slow air is a lament that nobody has yet to pay someone to have their name attached to

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

So, messing up a slow tune on a paid gig might be ‘lamentable’?

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

I would class ‘The Flowers of the Forest’ as a lament. It’s usually played in 3/4 time and can be used as a slow march. On the other hand a slow air such as ‘The Lark in the Clear Air’ or Slaibh na Mban’ (The Mountain of the Women) are just airs played slowly.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Huh, I see. Cathycook, thanks for listening to my little tune, I’m glad you liked it, I haven’t been too sure about it.

p.s. Has anybody else noticed that the site has been really odd today? (or yesterday, rather) None of the tune pages would load, but just sent me back to the archives, and the names weren’t showing, and I couldn’t even log in.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Yes, it was the same yesterday evening on my computer, but it’s back to normal now.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Lots of things don’t work if you’re not logged in, so a glinch preventing that leads to all other problems. Electronics - they work, or they’re krap.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

While there may be more precise definitions, I’m sure that it’s basically just this thing that the lament is linked to a certain individual or event, hence carries a heavier emotional charge.
When they did ‘Lark Rise’ at the National Theatre many years ago ‘The Battle of the Somme" was used as a theme tune, and the finale, because it was recognised that it signalled the end of an era, the passing of a way of life, not only the needless deaths of so many good people, and hence it carried an enormous weight.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

I think I’d be drawn to a piece called a "slow air" but would find something called a "lament" potentially depressing, and thus something to avoid. I’d be disinclined to tune into the emotions necessary to properly render the latter. Something like "Star of the County Down" can be played slowly, as an aire, with a hint of mystery, as in the show, "Celtic Women", but it can also be played in a very light manner with a hint of frivolity. I’ve heard "Si Bheag, Si Mhor" rendered as a lament in one rendition and transformed into something that sounded like a dance tune in another. One must wonder if there is a line that should be drawn with such a piece by a composer like O’Carolan, on the brink of the baroque.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

I couldn’t get on the website yesterday evening - all I got was a message from a server to the effect that members’ ids couldn’t be loaded. Jeremy has now evidently sorted it out.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

I had exactly the same experience, Trevor.

Penance

I can’t post this due to too many versions of this work on the site. It does count as one of those five penance pieces described in the FAQs. It’s the work "Si Bheag, Si Mhor" by Turlough O’Carolan, often approached as a "lament". I saved it under the comments of the first version of the piece that comes up under a search for the tune. It’s meant to offer an alternate and more modern approach to the work. A program called "ABC2WIN" permits one to play these ABC files back. The trial version is downloadable, and, so far, free for playback purposes. Some nice tunes were uploaded today ("Banks of the Allan" and "The Bastard Polka"), I’d encourage everyone to give them a try.

T:Si Bheag, Si Mhor (modern)
M:4/4
L:1/8
C:Turlough O’Carolan
S:Arthur Nordstrom
K:G
|:B E2 G4 B|E2 G4 B E-|E G4 c3|B4 G4|\
E4 G A3|e2 G2 B4|1 F8:|2 c4 G A3|\
G4 B E2 G-|G3 A G2 A2-|A d2 c2 B3|\
A4 G3 E-|E3 D3 E F-|\
F2 E2 F2 G2-|G2 A6|B E2 G4 A|\
G2 A4 d2|c2 B4 A2-|A2 G3 E3-|\
E D3 E F3| E2 F2 G4|A4 G A3|G8|]

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

The difference to me is simply in the emotional content, which can be a hairs breadth apart in judgement.

Posted by .

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

Probably no difference. Depends on the name of the air.

Re: The difference between a slow air and a lament

My understanding is that a lament is a song written to express pain, loss or grief. All the ones I know are about someone dieing. A slow air could be about anything if it’s slow. There can be happy slow airs(not happy in a rhythmic sense, but happy in a melodic and lyrical sense) Easy-going, light-hearted, peaceful, "not sad".

To me, it’s an "All squares are rectangles, not all rectangles are squares" kind of thing. All laments are slow airs, but not all slow airs are laments.