- Musicians of Erinn -
I once wrote a manuscript called The History of Music in Erinn that was based on the colorful history of our ancestors who wrote beautiful music in Erinn, combined with my personal study on the history of music in Erinn.
Reactions to the book varied greatly. Some people encouraged me, telling me that it was an organized, informative compilation of the history of music in Erinn, while others found the book too difficult to follow.
Despite my intentions, the book may have driven more casual music fans AWAY from music, and in discussing this matter with my students, I came to the conclusion that I'll need to write a reference book that is designed to attract casual music fans and historians alike with simple, approachable language.
This book is focused on putting the spotlight back on the historic composers that have left their mark in the rich history of music in Erinn, especially on the stories of the 3 composers.
The thought of my writing doing more harm than good in depicting musicians' enthusiasm for music has made me restless, and I am deathly worried that I may have made the same mistakes that plagued the first one, but I am confident that this book will help you and everyone else that picks it up to get a better understanding of our history of music.
May everyone that reads this book be blessed with the sheer love for music as these three musicians shared in their lives.
Lastly, I owe my sincerely gratitude toward my beloved student who's taken the time to compile and edit my book. Thank you, Neil.
God of Music, Corple
Every discussion about the bards in Erinn has to start with one name, and that is Corple.
There were bards before he came, but at the time, when Partholons ruled Erinn, the music was used merely to emphasize a story. There was little, if any, descriptions in the lyrics, and the songs were quite limited in general. When different people played the same song, the song would go through changes based on who was playing that day. That's when Corple came in and changed everything.
He was an incredible composer, a competent instrument player, and a beautiful poet. After mastering all the songs that were passed down before and after the Moitura War, he came up with the Music Scroll format that we use today, and his sharp view of society became the predecessor for socially-conscious songs that followed after him.
His songs base heavily on our shared life experiences. His voice was a heavy, yet natural bass that sang of the history of the world. His playing exceeded the score and shook everyone by the core, and his songs are still revered today. This is why he's considered the God of Music.
The reason why he received so much respect as the God of Music wasn't necessarily solely because of his musicality. Of course, his musicality was off the charts, but it was his ability to transcend songs from the regular role of music to that of a form of communication between people, with music as its language.
As evidenced by his opposition of the traitor Brass, who made a deal with the Fomors, he was unafraid of correcting wrong to right, and was constantly doing everything he could to fight corruption and evil in the world. His life rings true to many of the bards today. The effect Corple has on other musicians is so humongous, that his genious musicianship contributed to raising the bar for future generations to come
, while his unwavering faith in goodness gave everyone hope that the world could be changed through the power of music.
After Corple, music scores became prevalent, bringing people much closer to music. His legacy in the field of music is so daunting that musicians that no other musician that followed him could be compared to what he had done. Even so, we still need to highlight a couple of instrumentalists.
King of Strings, Avkan
The Moitura War was a long series of painful encounters between the Humans and the Fomors, but with the humans emerging victorious in the end, it had become one of the favored subject matters for most of the bards during that time.
Since they were all discussing the same topic, but in different songs, the listeners began to compare the musicians to see who was better, and this in fact triggered the phenomenon where the people chose their favorite musicians based not on their individualities as people, but on how well and creative the song was written.
Avkan was at the forefront of this new movement.
Avkan is considered the King of Strings who was capable of making sounds so pleasant and beautiful, they were best described as utterly heavenly. His voice was so sultry and luscious that many women shed tears while listening to his voice. There was even a legend that his voice had been heard by a fairy and that the fairies wished to bring him to the land of fairies.
The topic of choice for his songs was mainly that of war, and although the stories of the war had been passed down from generation to generation, the same couldn't be said about the emotional impact that he had made on society during the same time. This is regarded as one of the greatest tragedies of our history.
Avkan's music was testament to how important technique was, whether it was playing instruments or vocal performance. Many believe that it was this that had lead to the development of as many disciplined music education courses as there are today.
Wizard of Lyrics, Enn
If Avkan represented sheer beauty of sound, there was another musician out there who took the opposite route of improving music through the streets. His name is Enn, known these days as the Wizard of Words. In order to truly understand why he got that label, it's important for one to understand the musical trends of the day.
As music improved leaps and bounds over the years, another phenomenon that started with this was the fact that people started transcribing old songs from the Partholon days and beyond onto music scores.
And even though these legends and stories had been passed down through songs written by bards, that could only go so far. Finally, there came a time where a group of historians decided to start writing music, using their extensive knowledge of the history. Their work was instrumental in the sense that they were keeping the history and legacy intact, while reminding everyone of their glorious past.
This is where Enn had left his mark. He was equal parts the historian and the avid spreader of history, and he spent his whole life preaching it with his music. His music matched perfectly with his historically well-versed lyrics, and he was a master at writing easy-to-sing songs that nevertheless carried a heavy message. His lyrics, in particular, were lauded for its clarity and vividness, a poem disguised as a song, stimulating the intellingence of those that were fortunate enough to listen to his songs. So much so that it was the "it" thing to do for the druids-in-training and the scholars to listen to his songs.
He had desired to become a druid, and was well on his way to becoming one when he realized the greatness that music carried in our society, and decided to become a musician. Already well-versed in history, magic, and other issues he studied as a druid-in-training, he was instrumental in instilling druid characteristics to music of Erinn.
His songs may not have triggered much excitement when heard by themselves, his polished lyrics elevated his song's stature, and some music historians point out that he seemed to obsess over lyrics much more so than the melody, which of course made many musicologists question his contributions to music in Erinn.
Even with all this, the reason he has been so highly regarded to this day is because of his attitude towards music, as well as due to his specialty in writing music, which has become embedded in the future generations of musicians that have brought orchestral, especially wind, instruments to the forefront of music in Erinn.
His attempts at instilling spell-like effects in music, as well as trying to bring music into the world of wizardry, remain a target of criticism for old-time music purists to this day.
What these 3 musicians reveal
Ever since Avkan and Enn proved that music could trigger changes in emotion, a disturbing trend was begun where people stopped treating music just for the sake of music, but rather as a means to achieve a certain agenda, and nothing more.
Actually this dates way back to the days of the Moitura War. Back then, most bards and druids used music for military purposes. That didn't mean music was used as a weapon nor as part of a spell, which is still banned by most musicians these days.
This, of course, was only meant to inspire troops who were about to embark in battles, and music was used to instill courage and forget fear, not as something with a hidden, more sinister message.
The reason why Corple's greatness has lived on to this day may be because of this. Music may have shifted its focus towards practicality, but the music he played and spread were music in its purest, most convincing form, moving anyone and everyone that ever had a chance to listen to it.
The problem here is people trying to instill magical powers to songs. Like in Enn's case, music was once spread by Druids, and because of that, the fact that some druids used it for magic purposes may have been an unavoidable side-effect. One of the all-time sinister wizards ever, Zavkiel, especially was a master at that.
On the other hand, Maurus, the great wizard that put an end to Zavkiel's destruction, believed that although druids could listen to music to understand how society worked, using them for magical purposes was a definite no no.
We're currently at a stage where the very value of music, which involves moving someone's heart, is severly tested. More than ever, we should fight to keep the spirit of music alive and look back on what our ancestors have done to preserve this art we all enjoy today.
Also, like Avkan and Enn, it's time for us to seriously consider what kind of music we will spread, and what kind of legacies we'll want our kids to have from us.