Mise Eire

Year of composition
Patrick Pearse
Difficult (Grades 7+)
4 minutes
Instrumental parts
Not available
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In my composition, I have attempted to take the ideas of the sean-n�s style further in three ways. Firstly, I have endeavoured to incorporate some ornamentation typical of the style. This ornamentation is very elaborate and free in nature, which is reflected in the overall rhythm of the genre which can range from very non-metrical flows to defined rhythmic pulses. Secondly, I have used extended phrases requiring considerable breath control which are also typical of sean-nos songs. And lastly, I have endeavoured to draw from two modes which are, to me, so fundamental in Irish music: the dorian and mixolydian modes. (The mixolydian mode is not very common in tune structure, but can be neatly superimposed on many traditional tunes normally considered dorian). Individual melodic strands within the piece shift between these modes beginning on various primes to produce a very dense harmonic texture. Tension between these modes is created using microtones, which are undoubtedly a feature of very old Irish music, in particular sean-nos singing. Indeed, microtones in old Irish music may create entirely new 'modes' which need to be explored.

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