Carl Hardebeck

Quotations

Life
1869-1945; b. London; blind from birth; trained as a musician; awarded eleven first prizes for pieces submitted to Feis Ceoil competitions in Dublin, 1897-1908; took down songs of native speakers in Donegal and devised Braille alphabet for the purpose later adopted by Inst. for the Blind; adjudicator of choral music; lived in Cork as Master of School of Music, 1919-1923; returned to Belfast, 1923; employed by state in Dublin to continue his collection, 1932; produced Gems of Irish Melody, though his textbook on Irish music never appeared; his widow was the recipient of the Hardebeck Testimonial Fund. DIH FDA DUB

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Criticism
Patrick Morrissey, ‘Dúchas: A Personal Essay’, in Éire-Ireland, 4, 2 (Summer 1969), pp. 117-27.

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References
Seamus Deane, gen. ed., The Field Day Anthology of Irish Writing (Derry: Field Day 1991), Vol. 2, p.76, writes: ‘The sentimentalizing and bowdlerizing process might have continued unchecked, aided by those who, like AP Graves, sincerely believed they were still involved in a rescue mission, had not Carl Hardebeck and the Gaelic League arrived on the scene. Hardebeck recorded words and music together and based his work on the assumption, shared by the Gaelic League, that Irish was still a living language, not a historical remnant. He tried to create a notation that would do justice to the intricacies of traditional singing. This marked an advance. But it was the arrival of the recording machine ...’; [Index 96, no reference], in relation to ‘The Coolun’, the version presented by Hardebeck in Ceatha Ceoíl V (1902) differs in many ways from earlier 19th c. versions, 98. Bibl. lists Ceatha Ceoíl, Pts. I-V (Dublin: Connradh na Gaeilge 1902-03).

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Quotations
"Traditional Singing: Its Value and Meaning", in Journal of the Ivernian Society, 3 (Jan.-March 1911) - extracts: ‘The adult traditional singer in the habit of singing in the kitchen by the fireside, be he ever so good, has no business to be dragged onto the concert platform. There he is nervous, and uncomfortable as a fish out of water, misunderstood by the public, and usually thoroughly unhappy. Except a rabid Gaelic Leaguer, nobody will listen to him singing without accompaniment.’ (93).

Further: ‘the Gaelic Leaguer has set up a prejudice to the piano. This is because he never hears it played as it should be, and because the Gaelic Leaguers, as a rule, possess pianos that are so bad that one might describe them as biscuit boxes with ivories on them by way of ornament’.

Further: ‘If the piano is not an Irish instrument, neither is the harp, which came from Egypt, nor the fiddle, which came from Italy; nor the pipes, which are to be found among all nations in some form or other’ (p. 94)

[All the foregoing quoted in Martin Dowling, ‘“Thought-Tormented Music”: Joyce and the Music of the Irish Revival’, in James Joyce Quarterly, 45, 3/4 [Biographical Joyce] Spring-Summer 2008, pp.437-58; p.442.]

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