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Tead na feitheolach

from Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Dublin 1840), page 21: The strings of the harp.

Irish téad na bhféith eolach spoken by Gráinne Yeats
Scottish Gaelic teud nam fèith eòlach spoken by Tony Dilworth

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Tead na feitheolach ('in English characters' Tead na feithe-o-lach) - String of the leading sinews

Bunting's footnote adds: 'Called by the old harpers "The String of Melody"...'

Téad means 'a string', féith (feminine, genitive form féithe) means 'a sinew', and eolach means 'knowledgeable, skilled, fit to guide'. Therefore Ann Heymann has suggested emending to téad na bhféith eolach, 'string of the knowing/skilled/guiding sinews' (F. Vallely, The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, Cork, 1999, p.181). On p.31, however, Bunting defines Téad as 'Sinew, string of a harp, also a harp', which may suggest that the word féith in superfluous here: on p.36 he presents the term as Ted na féola, 'Leading sinews or strings', and here féola looks like the genitive case of feoil, 'meat, flesh'.

To introduce the 3/4 tune Scott's Lamentation on p.6 of his main text, Bunting prints a single bar which he labels 'Leading sinews or preparatory notes'.

Colm Ó Baoill 2002