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Today’s installment of our musical instrument series will focus on an phíb, which some of you may agree is buaic an cheoil Ghaelaigh. An aontaíonn tú?
Before we start the pipes section, though, we’ll review the previous material. Then we’ll look at forms of the word for uilleann pipes, and finally, we’ll wrap up with some sentences using the other words in the graphic above and a discussion of whether the word for “bagpipes” should be used as a singular or plural noun.
So, here’s the spot check of the two previous blogs, with the nine instruments featured there. For a little variety, I’ve changed the verb from just saying “ag seinm” (playing), to various other words connected to musical instruments. I’ve also changed the singular/plural number for the first five, so we’re practicing the opposite form. The number of blanks is tied to the number of letters in the answer.
7. ag casadh na _ _ _ _ _ _ _( giotár, guitar)
9. ag tiúnáil na _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ (bainseó, banjo)
And now for the pipes:
And now how about the words in the graphic above? The answers to the question were indicated in the graphic itself, but just for review, the instrument is a leathfhoireann de phíb uilleann and the part of the instrument is the “dosanna“, the drones.
As for the other types of bagpipes indicated in the graphic, we could have sentences like:
Seinneann na Seapánaigh píoba bambú
Tá an phíb fheaga san orgán.
Seinntear an phíb Northumbria i Northumbria (ní nach ionadh)!
Seinneann na Spáinnigh an gaita.
Cé mhéad Mallarcach a sheinneann an xeremias?
Seinneann an Gascúnach an boha.
Tá an musette Béchonnet bunaithe ar an “cornemuse du Centre,” uirlis Fhrancach eile. Cérbh é Béchonnet? Ba dhéantóir paitíní agus deileadóir adhmaid é agus cheap sé seamsúr a bhí beagnach crómatach.
De ghnáth seinntear an phíb mhór taobh amuigh agus an phíb uilleann taobh istigh.
An seinneann Ziggy an żaqq (an phíb Mháltach)?
Finally, let’s consider an interesting question — should “bagpipe”/”bagpipes” be used in the singular or in the plural? It’s an interesting question in both English and Irish.
First in English, let me note (absolutely NPI), we usually say, “Ian’s playing the bagpipes” but when considering them as a material object we might say “bagpipe,” as in the following headlines (teidil anseo, naisc thíos):
“How Yo-Yo Ma gets a Galician bagpipe and a violin to make beautiful music together,” by Kierran Petersen, May 11, 2016, and,
“Prepare a Bagpipe before Playing It: How to Play a Basic Tune on the Bagpipes,” posted by expertvillage, February 21, 2008
Next, for Irish, I’ve seen both usages, ag seinm na píbe (for one piper playing one set of pipes) and “ag seinm na bpíob,” also for one player playing one set of pipes. I found a nice example of the singular form in Seán Ó Leocháin’s “Lámha,” a beautiful memorial tribute poem to piper Séamus Ennis (1919-1982), where Ó Leocháin refers to Ennis “ag seinm na píbe.” For the full text, check out the link below or Ó Leocháin’s collection Bindealáin Shalaithe (1989). On the other hand, in the article “Oíche Mhór Speisialta don Nollaig” in gaelport.com, we have, “Is as Ráth Chairn d’Éanna Ó Croinín agus tá aithne air mar phíobaire den scoth agus é ag seinm na bpíob uillinn ó bhí sé ina bhuachaill óg.”
So with some reservation, I’ll list “ag seinm na píbe” as one option, and it’s certainly documented, but in my listening experience (ní píobaire mé!) it’s more typical to say “ag seinm na bpíob,” even if there’s just one píobaire playing. If there’s more than one piper playing, of course they would be “ag seinm na bpíob.” Since the instrument is a “set” (foireann) of pipes, with a chanter (seamsúr) and several drones (dosanna), this makes it seem more like a plural entity within one object, linguistically a “plurale tantum,” like “scissors” in English (“Please pass me the scissors,” with the plural response, “Here they are!”). Usage can change with adjective forms, as we say “a bagpipe tune” (not “bagpipes”+”tune”) but “She plays the bagpipes,” going from singular to plural, similar to English “scissors,” when we revert to the singular in “The scissor blade is dull.” But, speaking of dullness (“leimhe” in Irish), I hope there’s never a dull moment (“nóiméad leamh“) here and that you found this useful, fun, and helpful. — Slán go fóill – Róislín
P.S. Maidir leis an bhfrása “nóiméad leamh” (a dull moment), ní raibh mé cinnte an mbainfinn úsáid as, ach tháinig mé ar air seo: “Admhaíonn sé féin, ‘Ní bhíonn nóiméad leamh ann!'” in alt atá scríofa i nGaeilge deas nádúrtha “Próifíl: Tom Maher, Oifigeach Forbartha an CLG” ag https://www.maynoothuniversity.ie/sites/default/files/assets/document/President%20report%20IRISH%20FINAL.pdf . Foinse sásúil domsa! Actually, “dullness” of a scissor blade, would really be “maoile” (dullness, bluntness, baldness, etc.), not “leimhe,” but it was an irresistible segue.
7. ag casadh na ngiotár (giotár, guitar)
9. ag tiúnáil na mbainseónna (bainseó, banjo)
Naisc sa bhlag seo
Irish musical instrument series, 2018:
4-part series (Alpchorn go Xileafón), 2015
Ag seinm uirlisí ceoil, ó alpchorn go xileafón (Alpenhorn to Xylophone in Irish, pt. 1)Posted by róislín on Mar 19, 2015 in Irish Language
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsOajUNpEzU, Prepare a Bagpipe before Playing IT; How to Play a Basic Tune on the Bagpipes
ag seinm na píbe (duine amháin) – singular form: https://tuairisc.ie/focal-is-fuaim-sean-o-leochain-ag-leamh-as-a-cnuasach-filiochta-cloch-nirt-rogha-danta-agus-danta-nua-clo-iar-chonnacht-2011/. Iúil 13 2015
ag seinm na bpíob (duine amháin) – plural form: www.gaelport.com/nuacht/Siamsaiochtag6-Oiche-mhor-speisialta-don-Nollaig/, Nov. 27, 2012
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