A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

I have read that Breathnach had a system of indexing tunes and that it is available on ITMA’s site somewhere but I just can’t seem to find it. A little help would be appreciated. Thank you.
Here is a link to his description.
http://msikio.online.fr/Breathnach/breandn.htm

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

If it is on ITMA I cannot locate where it is. But this article (2o yrs. old) also states that it’s on ITMA.

https://journalofmusic.com/focus/because-its-our-own-breandan-breathnach-1912-85

"Among the works uncompleted or unpublished at Breandán’s death was his monumental
index of Irish traditional dance music on which he worked for almost thirty years.
This is a thematic music index of the incipits or opening bars of Irish dance tunes,
covering about 6,000 items, which by an ingenious system of analysis finds the full tunes
in printed, manuscript or sound-recorded sources, and enables the researcher to find titles,
related versions, printed history, distribution, and so on. The final version, compiled in his retirement,
is now available to the public in the Irish Traditional Music Archive, founded two years after his death,
which also inherited the bulk of his personal collection."

NPU has several tunes from Ceol.
"His magazine Ceol was specially important. He began it in 1963, the year I fell under its influence,
and it ran for 22 years, irregularly. It was Breandán’s pulpit for his attacks on institutions like
RTÉ and CCÉ and for the promotion of his vision."

http://pipers.ie/source/gallery/?galleryId=934

https://www.rte.ie/archives/2015/1105/739870-collecting-irish-traditional-music/

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Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

Perhaps try emailing them with the above links and info.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

Yes - I read the same article and thought about emailing them but I thought I might have better luck if I try here first. Thank you.
Frankly I don’t understand why his work doesn’t seem as ‘big a deal’ as I think it should be. The settings along with the research is extraordinary I think.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

A lot of Breathnach’s work languished for years in a cellar, at the mercy of the mice and nearly destroyed in a flood. As with much of this music, there is so much, and so little time and resource to curate it. Perhaps a donation to ITMA might be in order?

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

Charlie Gore, who compiled ‘The Scottish Fiddle Music Index’ (Musselburgh 1994) based his Musical Theme Coding on Breathnach’s system, and while I don’t know Breathnac’s system or how much it differs from Gore’s, a description of the latter might be of interest to you.

It is a numerical system, built on the Key Note - that is, the note to which the tune returns to naturally - and the time signature. The numbers represent the notes on the beat, so examples would be:

THE KESH JIG https://thesession.org/tunes/55 (X:1)
Theme code: 1122 61H65
Explanation: the first four numbers represent the notes on the first four beats (G G A A). Because the tune is in G major, the G is given the number 1, while the A - 2nd note in the G scale - is given the number 2. The next four numbers are the notes on the next four beats (e g e d); the e is the 6th note of the G scale, so it’s given the number 6, the high g is back to 1, but because it’s an octave higher, an H is affixed to it. If it were an octave lower, it would be 1L.

THE SALLY GARDENS https://thesession.org/tunes/98 (X:2)
Theme Code: 15L31 5652

INNISHEER https://thesession.org/tunes/211 (X:1)
Theme Code: 333 333
Because the tune is in 3/4, we only take the first three beats, then the next three beats, so that’s bars 1 and 2. Because the first note is dotted, it extends over the second beat, so the same number is given.

COOLEY’S REEL https://thesession.org/tunes/1 (X:1)
Theme Code: 1551 547b4
The tune is in E dorian, so E is 1, and because the d is flattened from the E major scale, it’s given a flat sign after the number. Any Gs would be represented by 3b.

I hope that explains things a bit, and if it helps, I’d be glad to answer any questions about that system.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

I’ve reread the original post and I see I misunderstood. You weren’t looking for an explanation of the system, you were looking for the index. Sorry - I can’t help with that.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

I emailed ITMA.
…I appreciate the explanation. One of the linked articles has an image of one of his cards. I took a quick glance but I thought the system was more similar to ABC notation. I’ll look again.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

It’s a method of indexing tunes, not like ABC notation at all. The Scottish Fiddle Music Index is a sizable tome with references to some 15,000 tune titles, but contains no music whatsoever; just the theme codes, from the lowest (1L1L1L1L 7bL4L7bF7bF - The Highlander’s Farewell to Ireland) to the highest (1T1T3T1T 5H5H1T5H - Fin Ch’ Han Dal Vino).

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

Jackie Small took over the editing of Ceol Rince na hÉireann, from book 4 onwards. It might be worthwhile contacting him.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

On further inspection of the article I linked, I see the system is as you’ve described. I have an old classical music reference book that used a number system to identify Melodies to composition. It was immense and impressive. You can convert a piece of melody to a sequence of numbers and usually find the piece you’re looking for.

I can’t find contact info for Jackie Small. I wrote to a general query on ITMA’s site so I’ll give it a few days.

Re: A little help please - Brendan Breathnach Tune Reference (Incipits).

Hmmm. Seems like it would be pretty easy to write code to translate an ABC to that format. Biggest issue would be getting the proper tonic note figured out…