“Baltiorum” ~ “O’Neill’s Music of Ireland”, 1903, #1128
K: G Major
|: d | g2 g ege dBG | g2 g ege f2 d | g2 g ege dBG | A2 g ege f2 :|
|: d | BAG cBA dBG | BAG cBA d2 G | BAG cBA dBG | A2g ege f2 :|
Discussion: O’Neill issues
# Posted on February 7th 2007 by earnest
We were just holding a discussion on O’Neill… I still value those collections highly but the transcription I’ve given to start is not ‘by-the-book’… ;-)
“Baal Tigh Abhoran” / “Baltiorum” ~ Come ye pagans all ~
As I do not have my copy of the book on hand, it is in the care of a friend, I am grateful for the following quote via that great online resource "The Fiddler’s Companion"…
From the O’Neill book “Irish Folk Music”, 1910, pgs. 198-199:
“A very ancient Irish melody is ‘Baltiorum’, and oddly enough it is known only by versions of that name. While euphonious, it conveys no meaning to the reader, and it is commonly assumed that notwithstanding its Latin termination it signifies something in the Irish language. And so it does when understood. The first writer who undertakes to explain it is Edward Bunting. ‘Baal tigh abhoran’, usually called ‘Baltiorum,’ is a tune which might perhaps be assigned to the Pagan period, in as much as it is still customarily sung at the bonfires lighted on St. John’s Eve, the anniversary of Baal-tinne, and has so been sung from time immemorial. He does not give the translation in English, although his dissertation is much more comprehensive than the extract above quoted. To the writer it appears to be the song of praise or worship of Baal, the Fire-God.
The Pagan festivals eventually were wisely turned into account as Christian holidays, and in this instance the Baal-tinne, or fire lighted to welcome the Samhain or summer solstice, was continued as the celebration of St. John’s eve. The melody, Conran tells us in his ‘National Music of Ireland’ (1850), may still be heard from the groups assembled around these bonfires. In the writer’s boyhood days the melody was forgotten and so was the Pagan significance of the celebration.” ~ Francis O’Neill
Baltiorum - A tune for the single-major-octave bagpipes?
It fits neatly into one major octave, making use of the seventh note, and thus resembles some tunes that are / were playable on the early one-octave Northumbrian pipes and as far as I’m aware on other one-major-octave English bagpipes that died out and have latterly been revived. (These pipes, as distinguished from the Scottish and Border pipes which have a top and bottom flat seventh.)
If it didn’t originate in England or Scotland, it might have been devised on / for a single-octave bagpipe of the type mentioned, in Ireland. Such were widely played and must sometimes, surely, have crossed the water to Ireland.
Yes, definitely. Nice additional comment Nicholas…
“Baltiorum” ~ takin’ it down to D, blame Nicholas
This is just a direct transposition from the first transcription given…
K: D Major
|: A | D2 d BdB AFD | D2 d B/c/dB c2 A | D2 d BdB AFD | E2 d B/c/dB c2 :|
|: A | F2 F GFG AFD | F2 D GE/F/G A2 D | F2 F GFG AFD | E2 d B/c/dB c2 :|
I actually can’t shake this tune, I find it very addictive… :-)
“The Ancient Music of Ireland”, 1840 ~ Edward Bunting (D Major)
Tune #108: "Baaltigh abhran" / "Baaltigh Abhoran" / "Baaltiorum" / "Baaltighoran"
K: D Major
|: d2 d BdB AFD | d2 d BdB c2 A | d2 d BdB AFD | E2 d BdB c2 A :|
|: FED GFE AFD | FED GFE A2 D | FED GFE AFD | E2 d BdB c2 A :|
He lists the tempo as being N3 = 116
Compare this to the 6/8jig: Strike The Gay Harp
(strong descending movements: a hint of an antique+harp tune?)