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Leith leagadh

from Edward Bunting, The Ancient Music of Ireland (Dublin 1840), Page 24: Graces performed by the treble or left hand.


Irish leathleagadh spoken by Gráinne Yeats
Scottish Gaelic leth-leagadh spoken by Tony Dilworth

Click the play button to hear it spoken. help


“ By second and third finger: string struck by second, stopped by first, and string struck by third, stopped by second finger.”

Simon Chadwick 2008

"Falling", "Lowering" or "dropping" refers to the musical progression as well as to the gesture of the hand. This figure is unusal because both notes are stopped.

The musical notation shows what appears to be four seperate independent instances of Leith leagadh. It is worth noting that the first two indicate the stopped note as a grace note; the last two show the stopped note as a semiquaver, beamed to the main note. Perhaps this indicates two different ways of playing Leith leagadh, first as kind of ornament, and secondly as a measured note as part of the tune. The video shows a possible interpretation of this (measured note first, then gracenote) against a right hand bass figure.

Simon Chadwick 2008


Leith leagadh ('in English characters' Leath leaguidh) - A half falling

Probably the compound noun leathleagadh (in older spelling leithleagadh), 'half dropping/lowering' is intended, though leath leagaidh, 'half of dropping/lowering', is also possible. But note that on p.32 Bunting explains Leagadh alone as 'Half fall', and on p.34 he has Orleath leagadh, 'A falling'.

A similar term formerly used, in the plural, in relation to Scottish piping has been explained as leth-leagaidhnean or leth-leagaidh. On this and its meaning see Roderick D. Cannon, Joseph MacDonald's Complete Theory of the Scots Highland Bagpipe (c.1760), Glasgow, 1994, pp.106-107: Joseph translates (p.96) as 'half a Fall'.

Colm Ó Baoill 2002