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Title: The life and songs of Iain 'an sgiobair' MacNeacail and the role of a song-maker in a Hebridean community
Author: McKean, Thomas A.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1993
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Iain MacNeacail of the Isle of Skye has been making songs since 1917, when he was fourteen years old; he still composes today. His style is that of the late nineteenth century and early twentieth century b'aird bhaile [township poets] who compose on a huge range of subjects. This dissertation explores the world of a Gaelic song-maker, largely in his own words through the use of tape recorded interviews and investigates his thoughts on his motives and his methods of composition. These aspects of song scholarship are under-researched in many cultures and though there are extensive collections of Gaelic songs available which allow study of the textual/musicologial side, the maker's own perceptions of this work and the community's perception of their bard have been neglected. The picture that emerges is of a living village song-maker in the context of a community rich in song and cultural life, where villagers look to their local bards for articulation of their own feelings. Functional local song in its element operates on many levels. Chapter one is the biography of Iain MacNeacail, largely in his own words, which sets the scene and provides some historical background on north Skye itself. Chapter two describes the community social life, centering on the taigh célidh [célidh or visiting house] and other pastimes during the long winter months. Chapter three consists of an edition of MacNeacail song's, with notes and detailed transcriptions of interviews relating to their background and genesis. Chapter four elucidates the actual process of making a song: how they come to him, his conscious technique and his unconscious skill. Chapter five discusses the function of song in MacNeacail's Hebridean community.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available