YN chied ghooinney, ta mee er chlashtyn jeh ren gynsagh kiaulleeaght ayns ayrnyn ayns Ellan Vannin, va Mainshter Harmer.

V’eh gynsaghey ayns ny skeeraghyn mygeayrt Rumsaa, agh er lheh ayns Skeerey Vaghal. Ta feer veg dy chlashtyn my-e-chione, agh ta skeeal er ye inshit dy row eh ec shibbyr marish yn cheshaght-kiaullee, ec thie fer jeh ny eirinee yn skeerey, as ren ben y thie gra rish, soie ec kione y voayrd, tra ren yn sleih goll dy ghoaill toshiaght dy ee, " Benn rish yn chellagh kiark, Mainshter Harmer."



THE first man, of whom I have heard, who taught music in parts in the Isle of Man, was Master Harmer.

He taught in the parishes about Ramsey, but especially in the parish of Maughold. There is very little to hear about him, but a story has been told that he was at a supper with the singing company (choir), at the house of one of the farmers of the parish, and the mistress of the house said to him, sitting at the head of the table, when the people were going (about) to begin to eat, " Touch (carve) the cock, Master Harmer,"

Yn nah phyagh ta recortys jeh gynsaghey kiaulleeaght ayns ayrnyn, va Mainshter Shepherd.

Haink eh voish Cumberland, as ren eh gynsaghey sheshaghtyn-chiaullee ny killagh ayns Skeerey Vaghal, Skeerey Chreest ny Heyrey, Skeerey Pharick, as ta mee credjal dy row ayns caghlaaghyn skeeraghyn elley ayns Mannin. Ec kione ny bleeaney hoght cheead yeig as nuy, haink Shepherd yn chiaulleyder-psaum hoshiaght dys Skeerey Chreest Rushen, as ren yn chenn haggyrt mie gentreil . ayns yn chiaulleeaght, lesh ooilley e chree as annym. Hie Shepherd ersooyl, as haink eh reesht ayns yn vlein hoght cheead yeig as shey jeig, as ren eh gynsaghey sheshaght-chiauilee ny kilagh ayns Skeerey Chreest Rushen, as ayns Skeerey Chairbre.

The next person there is history (record) of teaching music in parts, was Master Shepherd.

He came from Cumberland, and he taught church choirs in the parish of Maughold, Kirk Christ Lezayre, Kirk Patrick, and I believe in different other parishes in the Isle of Man. At the end of the year eighteen hundred and nine Shepherd the psalm-singer came first to Kirk Christ Rushen, and the good old parson entered into the singing with all his heart and soul. Shepherd went away, and he came again in the year eighteen hundred and sixteen, and he taught church choirs in Kirk Christ Rushen and in Kirk Arbory.

Tra haink eh yn nah cheayrt, va’n chenn haggyrt, ennym echey Juan y Clague, er e lhiabbee baase, as ren Shepherd gynsaghey sheshaght-chiaullee ny killagh dy chiaulleeagh psaum oanluckee yn taggyrt : " My yea scadoo, ta sheese." *

Cha row yn arrane jeant son yn taggyrt, son v’eh er ye chiaulleeaght son yn chied ghooinney va ayns sheshaght-chiuallee ny killagh Skeerey Chairbre, tra hooar eb baase. Va’n ennym echey Dick Juan yn Oe. Ta’n arrane ayms foayst, scruit liorish Shepherd ayns yn laue echey hene.

* Shoh yn chied ring

" My yea scadoo, ta heese
Gys baase dy siyragh roie,
Yn Chiarn nee bioghey reesht
Yn joan aym as yn oaie.
Ayns maynrys vooar neems girree seose
As fakin my Haualtagh bee."

When he came the second time, the old parson, whose name was John Clague, was on his death-bed, and Shepherd taught the church choir to sing a funeral psalm for the parson:

" My life’s a shade, my days." ‘*

The tune was not made for the parson, for it had been sung for the first man in Kirk Arbory church choir, when he died. His name was Dick John the Grandson. I have the tune yet, written by Shepherd in his own hand.

* This is the first verse

" My life’s a shade, my days
Apace to death decline:
My Lord is life, He’ll raise
My dust again, e’en mine.
Sweet truth to me ! I shall arise,
And with these eyes my Saviour see."

Va aght echey lesh hene dy ynsaghey she-shaghtin-chiaullee ny kilagh. Ren eh cur er ooilley ny kiaulleyderyn " sol-fa" yn arrane daue hene, as cummal traa lesh yn arrane, lesh laue foshlit er yn chied woailley j eh’n var, ayns traa cadjin, as yn doarn jeighit er yn nah woailley.

Ayns traa three bwoaillaghyn ayns y var, va’n laue currit sheese er cheu yn vair veg jeh’n laue, son yn chied woailley, er son yn nah woailley va baare ny meir currit sheese, as, er son yn trass woailley, va mwannal laue currit heese.

He had a way of his own to teach church choirs. He made all the singers "sol-fa " the tune for themselves, and keep time with the tune, with the open hand on the first beat of the bar, in common time, and the shut fist on the second beat.

In time, three beats in the bar, the hand was put down on the little-finger side of the hand for the first beat, for the second beat the points of the fingers were put down, and for the third beat the wrist of the hand was put down.

Va gynsaghey echey ayns yn drane shoh:

Erskyn euish " mi " daa cheayrt " fa, sol, la." Fo euish " mi " daa cheayrt " la, sol, fa."

Myr shoh ta " mi " cheet stiagh daa cheayrt.

Va " mi " yn chiaghtoo note jeh’n octave, as ren eh jannoo son scaleyn major, ny minor. Cha row eh shickyr agh jeh un note jeh’n octave, son dy row daa " fa," daa " sol," daa " la" myr shen cha voddagh fys ye echey yn derrey yeh veih yn jeh elley.

Hug eh ny kiaulleyderyn ayns daa strane, lesh ny oaieyn oc lesh y cheilley. Ren eh gynsaghey dagh ayrn jeh ny kiaulleyderyn erlheh, as ren ad ooilley cheet cooidjagh, tra va fys oc er. Cha row fys oc c’red v’ad goll dy chiaulleeagh derrey va’d ooiley cooidjagh. Cha jinnagh eh cur kied da un ayrn jeh ny kiaulleyderyn dy chlashtyn yn feallagh elley, derrey veagh fys oc er yn ayrn oc hene.

His teaching was in this rhyme:

Above your " mi " twice " fa, sol, la," Below your " mi " twice " la, sol, fa."

Thus " mi " comes in twice.

"Mi " was the seventh note of the octave, and it did for major or minor scales. He was only sure of one note of the octave, for there were two " fas," two " sols," and two " las," so that he could not know one note from the other.

He placed the singers in two rows, with their faces to each other. He taught each part of the singers separately, and they all came together when they knew it. They did not know what they were going to sing, until they were all together. He would not give leave to (allow) one set of the singers to hear the other, until they knew their own part.

Ren eh screeu yn chiaulleeaght eh hene, as ren eh ymmyd jeh pen lesh queig baareyn er dy yannoo yn stave. Va’n eeck echey ayns argid son y chiarroo ayrn jeh blein jeih skilleeyn, as skillin ell.ey son yn hoar. Va ec dagh ferkiaullee hoar echey da hene.

Ren yn vriw, as ny deiney seyrey elley jeh’n skeerey Chreest cheet gys yn ynsagh kiaulleeaght. Ren ny deiney seyrey goaill riyn idd jeu, as cur ny lauenyn ayndoo, as ny mraane seyrey goaill nyn vonnadyn jeu.

Ren Shepherd jannoo ymmyd jeh feddan bingys dy ghoaill toshiaght lesh arrane. Ren eh cur eh da’n reih kiaulleyder va ayns she-shaght-chiaullee ny killagh Skeerey Chairbre, as t’eh ayms ec y traa t’ayn.

Ayns ylaa va Shepherd stiurt da Briw Gawné, ayns Ballacurrey, dy chosney e veaghey.

He wrote the music himself, and he used a pen with five points to make the stave. His fee in money for a quarter of a year was ten shillings, and another shilling for the book. Each singer had a book for himself.

The deemster, and the other gentlemen of the parish of Rushen came to the singing teaching. The gentlemen took off their hats, and put their gloves in them, and the ladies took off their bonnets.

Shepherd used a music (pitch) pipe to begin (start) the tune. He gave it to the best singer in the church choir at Kirk Arbory, and I have it now.

During the day Shepherd was steward to Deemster Gawne, at Ballacurrey, to gain his living.

Bliack .lesh bine dy jough vie ny share na red erbee elley, as v’eh cliaghtey faagail ny kiaulleyderyn ayns keeill Skeerey Chreest, as goll gys yn thie oast, ec kione ny Kiare Raaidyn, choud as v’ad kiaulleeagh nane jeh ny arraneyn.

V’eh oayllagh er Caley, cloieder yn ghreie kiaullee ec Cabbal Noo Moirrey, ec Ballachastal. Haink eh sheese ayns y theill, as ren Caley cur kied da ny keayrtyn dy chadley ayns soieaghyn chillagh, tra nagh voghe eh aaght ayns boayl erbee elley.

Hooar eh baase ayns boghtnyd ayns Ballachastal, as v’eh oanluckit ayns rhullick Skeerey Malew.

Cha vel mee coontey monney jeh’n aght v’eh gynsaghey, son nagh row ennym echey agh son un note, va shen " mi." Veagh " fa " er ny yannoo kiart cha mie son ooilley yn feallagh elley.

He liked a drop of good ale better than anything else, and he used to leave the singers in Kirk Christ Church, and go to the tavern at the head of the Four Roads, while they were singing one of the tunes.

He was acquainted with Caley, the organist at St. Mary’s Chapel, at Castletown. He came down in the world, and Caley gave him leave at times to sleep in the church seats (pews), when he could not get lodgings in any other place.

He died in poverty at Castletown, and he was buried in Malew churchyard.

I do not think much of his way of teaching, for he had names for only one note, that was " mi." " Fa " would have done quite as well for all the others.

Cha ren mee rieau clashtyn j eh pyagh erbee voddagh kiaulleeagh vQish yn " sol-fa " echey, lurg da v’eh marro’o, er lhimmey yn schoillar echey Illiam y Duke.

Cha ren Iliam toshiaght dy ynsaghey carree chillagh, derrey yn vlein hoght cheead yeig as shey as feed. Cha ren eh toiggal yn " sol-fa" feer vie, as va sleih gra dy row eh cliaghtey lhie er e ghreeym, tra v’eh geiyrt er ny kirree ayns y clieau, as streeu dy chosney dy ynsaghey eh.

Hug eh myrgeddin ny kiaulleyderyn ayns daa strane, lesh ny oaieyn oc lesh y cheilley. Va’n chied strane cheu chooylloo gys yn sleih. Va ny mraane kiaullee ayns yn chartee chillagh kiaulleeagh yn alto as tenor, as ny deiney kiaullee yn treble as bass.

I never heard of anybody who could sing from his " sol-fa," after he was dead, except his pupil William Duke.

William did not begin to teach a church choir until the year eighteen hundred and twenty-six. He did not understand the " sol-fa " very well, and people were saying that he used to lie on his back, when he was after the sheep in the mountain, and try to gain to learn it (gain instruction).

He also placed the singers in two rows, with their faces towards each other. The first row with their backs to the people. The female singers in the choir sang the alto and tenor, and the male singers the treble and bass.

Va Illiam y Duke greasee liorish keird, as v’eh cummal ec Ballagarmin. Va ynsagh ard echey ayns lossereeyn, as va enmyn echey son ooilley jeh ny lossereeyn cadj in ayns y vagher. V'eh credjal ayns feashtnaghyn, as hug eh ad ooilley dooys, as dinsh eh dou cren aght dy yannoo ymmyd jeu.

V’eh cleragh skeerey ayns yn vlein hoght cheead yeig as nuy as feed, as v’eh gynsaghey sheshaght-chiaullee ayns Colby ec yn traa shen. Te er ye inshit dou liorish my charrey Juan y Cubbin, masoonagh marmyr, dy row eh ruggit ec y traa shen, as er yn oie v’eh ruggit, haink Illiam stiagh ayns thie e vummig, as hug eh yn lioar chiaullee ayns laue yn oikan, er yn oyr dy darragh eh dy ye fer kiaullee. Haink Cubbin dy ye kiaulleyder ayns sheshaght-chiaullee Illiam, as lurg shen ren eh goaill yn voayl echey myr fer-ynsee yn cheshaght-chiaullee ny killagh.

William Duke was a shoemaker by trade, and he lived at Ballagarmin. He was highly instructed in herbs (botany), and he had names for all the common herbs of the field. He believed in charms, and he gave them all to me, and told me how to use them.

He was parish clerk in the year eighteen hundred and twenty-nine, and he taught a choir at Colby at that time. It has been told to me by my friend John Cubbon, marble mason, that he was born at that time, and on the night he was born William came into his mother’s house, and put the music book into the hand of the child, in order that he would come to be a man of music. Cubbon became a singer in William’s choir, and after that he took his place as teacher of the church choir.

Ren Illiam gynsaghey sheshaght-chiaullee ec— mysh yn vlein hoght cheead yeig as daeed, as hug eh yn chorree er y dooinney mooar, lesh kiaulleeagh:

" Ga dy jean deiney mee-chrauee gaase ber chagh as mooar."

Va shoh ooilley ny hooar ad kiaullit. Haink yn dooinney mooar magh ass, as deiyr eh ad ooilley ersooyl voish y thie. Hie ny kiaulley deryn gys shen, smooinaghtyn dy yannoo mooar j eh.

V’eh j eant cleragh skeerey yn nah cheayrt mysh y vlein hoght cheead yeig as j eih as daeed, as cheayll mee eh kiaulleeagh paart jeh ny shenn arraneyn Shepherd, lesh whilleen shenn chiaull eyderyn as oddagh eh geddyn ry-cheilley. .

Ayns yn vlein hoght cheead yeig as three feed, yn vlein s’j erree v’eh cleragh ny skeerey, cheayll mee eh kiaulleeagh, ec yn Oie’l Voirrey, nane jeh ny shehn charvalyn s’bwaaie.

William taught a choir at —— about the year eighteen hundred and forty, and he made the big man (squire) angry, by singing:

" Though wicked men grow rich and great."

This was all they got sung. The big man came out, and drove them all away from the house. The singers had gone there, thinking to make big (a great deal) of him.

He was made parish clerk the second time in the year eighteen hundred and fifty, and I heard him singing some of Shepherd’s old tunes, with as many of the old singers as he could get together.

In the year eighteen hundred and sixty, the last time he was parish clerk, I heard him singing, at the Oie’l Voirrey, one of the most beautiful old carols.

[fpc - he was associated with Balladoole chapel - the big house was probably Kentraugh and the big man E. Gawne (probably the senior)]

Lurg yn Oie’l Voirrey va harrish, vrie mee jeh row yn chiaulleeaght echey er y hon. Dooyrt eh rhym, " Nagh row kiaulleeaght erbee huggey." Ren mee goaill sheese eh lurg shen voish yn chiaulleeaght echey, as t’eh yn charval

" Shinyn bochillyn maynrey shinyn."

Bollagh Illiam cheet gys thie my yishig mychione paart dy kirree va my yishig freayll da, as tra va mee my ghuilley beg, v’eh cliaghtey cur lesh hym lossereeyn jeh dy chooilley horch, as briagh jeem row fys aym c’red v’ad. Ye ny skeeallyn echey, as feaishtnaghyn, ren hoshi aght cur ayns m’aigney yn yeearree dy ye fer-lhee. Hoar eh baase tra va mee gynsaghey er son fer-lhee ec Hospital Guy, Lunnon, as ta mee ayns lhiastynys mooar da er son yn tushtey jeh'n saase-lheihys jeh sleih Manninagh keead blein er-dy-henney.

After the Oie’l Voirrey was over, I asked him if he had the music for it. He said to me, " There is no music to it," I took it down after from his singing, and it is the carol " We happy herdsmen, we."

William used to come to my father’s house about some sheep my father was keeping for him, and when I was a little boy he used to bring me herbs of every kind, and ask me if I knew what they were. It was his stories, and charms, that first put into my mind the desire to be a doctor. He died when I was learning for a doctor at Guy’s Hospital, London, and I am in great debt to him for the knowledge of the (folklore) medicine of the Manx people a hundred years ago.

Shynney lesh ny Manninee kiaulleeaght, as ghow eh ayrn mie ayns ny feaillaghyn oc. Va ny arraneyn kiaullit ayns ny thieyn oast, dy cheau yn traa.

Va’n obbyr cadjin ayns ny thieyn, ayns yn gheurey, jannoo jeebin. Fer erbee, va arrane noa echey, va’n dooinney mooar jeh’n thie.

Va ny ‘neenyn aegey, as ny guillyn aegey, meeteil cooidjagh ayns thieyn eirinee, dy chiaulleeagh as daunsey ec yn oie.

Veagh arraneyn noa kiaullit ec ny feaillaghyn oc, as harragh bannag arraneyderyn dy chiaulleeagh arraneyn noa.

Va bannag dy mennick er drogh phabyr, as tra veagh yn phabyr fillit, as freaylt ayns yn phoggad son traa liauyr, veagh tuill ayns y vannag, as va’n vannag-arraneyder eignit dy scuirr.

The Manx love music, and it took a good share in their feasts. Songs were sung in the taverns, to spend the time.

It was a common work in the houses, in the winter, to make nets. Any one, who had a new song, was the big man of the house.

Young girls, and young boys, met together in the farmhouses, to sing and dance at night.

New songs would be sung at their feasts, and a ballad-singer would come to sing new songs.

The ballad was often on bad paper, and when the paper would be folded, and kept in the pocket for a long time, there would be holes in the ballad, and the ballad-singer was obliged to stop.

Ta ny arraneyn shinney Manninagh t’ad feer hrimsagh, as t’ad ayns yn Mode Dorianagh. My ne shiu goaill yn ogher D er yn piano, as cloie ny lomarcan er ny ogheryn baney, nee shiti cloie ayns yn Mode Dorianagh.

Ta ny arraneyn goll rish caayn jeh hoght barryn, as ta mish smooinaghtyn dy vel mooarane jeu er ye goit voish ny abbotyn, va skeaylt trooid ooilley Mannin. Ta ooilley kiaulleeaght, ec y traa t’ayn, screeuit ayns yn Mode Tonianagh, ny Mode Major, ny ayns yn Mode Lolianagh, ny Mode Minor.

Ta my charrey W. H. Gill, er n’insh dou dy row feddan-kiaullee feddynit ayns oaie ayns Egypt. V’eh cloiet ec dooinney ayns Lunnon ec Meeiteil Kiaulleeaght, as ren eh cur yn un horch dy noteyn kiaullee as yinnagh feddan cur ec y traa t’ayn. V’eh thousaneyn dy vleeantyn dy eash.

Ta ny Manniriee er reayll yn Mode Dorianagh ny share na ashoon erbee elley.

The oldest Manx songs are very sad, and they are in the Dorian Mode. If you will take the key D on the piano, and play only on the white keys, you will play in the Dorian mode.

The songs are like a tune of eight bars, and I think that many of them have been taken from the monks, spread throughout all the Isle of Man. All music, at the present time, is written in the lonian mode, or Maj or mode, or in the ~Eolian mode, or Minor mode.

My friend, W. H. Gill, told me that there was a musical pipe found in a grave in Egypt, and it was played by a man in London at a musical meeting, and it made the same kind of musical notes as a pipe (flute) would give at the present time. It was thousands of years old.

The Manx have kept (preserved) the Dorian mode better than any other nation.


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