Music and the Celtic Otherworld: From Ireland to Iona

Overview

Many cultures throughout history have made reference to the supernatural or spiritual dimension of music, and Scotland and Ireland are no exception. From the descriptions of the supernatural power of the 'fairy' harp in Elfland in the Scottish ballads to the sacred music of God's Heaven in the Saints' Lives, the Celtic sources provide a rich and varied selection of references to music and its perceived supernatural power and influence.With the increasing popularity of world music and Shamanism today, this ...

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Overview

Many cultures throughout history have made reference to the supernatural or spiritual dimension of music, and Scotland and Ireland are no exception. From the descriptions of the supernatural power of the 'fairy' harp in Elfland in the Scottish ballads to the sacred music of God's Heaven in the Saints' Lives, the Celtic sources provide a rich and varied selection of references to music and its perceived supernatural power and influence.With the increasing popularity of world music and Shamanism today, this important new book is an essential guide to the Celtic dimension of a universal phenomenon.Covering themes close to Irish and Scottish folklore Music and the Celtic Otherworld explores the universal concept of the spiritual dimension of music. It is also the first ever comprehensive collection of references from Celtic primary source material in translation, including Celtic tales, folklore, ballads, place-lore, saints' lives, poetry and proverbs."

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Editorial Reviews

University of St Andrews
A fascinating study of an important and neglected theme in Celtic literature and religion. Meticulously researched and sensitively written, it highlights the importance attached to music in both pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and Scotland and its particular association with the otherworld.

— Ian Bradley

The Cauldron
A fascinating study which is highly recommended.
University of St Andrews - Ian Bradley
A fascinating study of an important and neglected theme in Celtic literature and religion. Meticulously researched and sensitively written, it highlights the importance attached to music in both pre-Christian and early Christian Ireland and Scotland and its particular association with the otherworld.
Library Journal
The connection between music and the medieval Celtic concepts of the Otherworld is a fascinating topic that Ralls-MacLeod (Celtic and religious studies, Univ. of Edinburgh) succeeds in introducing through various source texts. However, the book's organization, including numerous headings and subheadings that often impede the flow of the text, diminishes the impact of her assertions. Based on literary descriptions containing references to music, the author's arguments concerning the Celtic Otherworld, music, and their relation to medieval Irish culture would have been more convincing if the book had begun with an in-depth description of the importance of music in various aspects of everyday life. The general reader would also benefit from a more detailed account of the sources and their provenance and by placing the main figures in historical context. Despite these limitations, this study provides a solid introduction to an interdisciplinary topic that will be of interest to scholars of Celtic culture and folklore as well as medieval Irish music. Recommended for academic libraries.--Teresa M. Neff, Boston Univ. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\
Booknews
Drawing on her classical music training, Ralls-MacLeod (Celtic and religious studies, U. of Edinburgh) reviews the literature, mostly medieval Irish, to explore the portrayal of spiritual music, whether Christian or from older traditions. Performers, instruments, effects, places, and times attract her notice. Her study is based on a Ph.D. dissertation for the University of Edinburgh. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781902930091
  • Publisher: Edinburgh University Press
  • Publication date: 4/27/2000
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.24 (w) x 9.34 (h) x 0.67 (d)

Meet the Author

Karen Ralls-MacLeod is postdoctoral fellow in the Celtic department at the University of Edinburgh.

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Table of Contents

Special Tribute to the Late Dr. Alan Bruford
Introduction
Performers
Instruments
Effects
Places
Times
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