英日対訳:The Northern Fiddler 北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85)第7回 1部(3/4) 民にとってフィドルとは?




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The motifs of the tale of the wandering stranger with a superior instrument is based on historical fact. One hundred and fifty to two hundred years ago good fiddlers were extremely scare in many parts of rural Ireland. Introduced into Ireland sometime in the eighteenth century from Britain and the continent, the violin has remained for many decades an import: an artifact of foreign technical skill. Although in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries Irish rural communities were rich in crafts, no indigenous schools of violin making arose to supply the fiddlers of rural Ireland with instruments. In many regions violins of whatever quality were hard to find. Many fiddlers often had to learn on home-made box fiddlers or tin fiddles made by traveling tinsmith-musicians who were probably responsible for the initial introduction of the fiddle into local musical traditions. In many communities, until they produced their own local musicians, there was a dependence on these traveling fiddlers and pipers for instrumental music for the dancers. Thus the violin for many years must have been consciously associated with the technical expertise of the outside world. Complementary to this association was the fact that for many communities the knowledge of playing the fiddle was in the almost exclusive possession of these nomadic professionals. 





As fiddling developed into an indigenous art form these associations may have been submerged, but they were also connected to other, older attitudes concerning the relationship between music and magic. The story of the magic owner of a valuable violin possesses all the motifs common to an entire myth cycle of legend concerning musicians, instruments and ultimately magical experience. The encounter with a mysterious stranger and the presence of a specical musical instrument is a common theme in this repertoire of tales that establishes a close relationship between musicians and the supernatural. It is a myth cycle that taints the traditional fiddler and his instrument with a a hidden otherness. These tales exist in part to account for the relationship between the musician and his own creative process and also as metaphors for the invisible power that music and musical instruments hold over the emotional life of men. Within this myth cycle the traditional musicians is signified as a magnetic pole for supernatural experience. He is sought out by the Other World which sometimes desires his services, but more commonly uses him as a medium through which the Other World can introduce its music to the world of men. They are mainly stories concerning the experiences of musicians with the Other Worldly reality of faeries, banhees and ghosts. In the West of Clare a drowned man lilts a complex, eerie reel to his comrades at sea. In Donegal a fiddler spends a night following a banshee from place to place in a lonely park to learn the lament she is singing. Again in Donegal a ghostly pipeer haunts the hideout of a poteen-making fiddler playing again and again a certain tune. The brewer only escapes when he pours the contents of his still on the ground in front of his hideout as a sacrifie to the haunt. He returns without any liquor but with the music. In Fanad a fiddler extracts a tune from the beating of his horse's hooves in flight from a strange night creature.  



The belief concerning the intimacy of music and magical experience is based on the central part traditional music could play in community life and ritual. The fiddler's own role within the community was shamanistic. The role of the musician, singer and storyteller was to maintain the emotional and intellectual center of the community. The period of greatest musical activity in most communities occurred during the long nights of mid-winter. Dances would last from sunset to sunrise and would often go on for days in succession. In exile from the forces of growth and fertility it was a time for the community to celebrate its own continuity. It was the fiddler or piper who replicated the movements of death, rebirth, the seasonal cycles in the movement of his music and interlocking chain of dance and melody. It was the musician who was central to the creation of the sacred space within which the dancers could celebrate communal identity in ecstasy. 



The Fiddler was the mediator of the visible and the invisible, a releaser of emotions, memory and inhibitions. He was also master of the past and future and as a consequence was connected with one of the major concerns of any oral culture - a sense of community. If traditional music is considered as a form of inherited knowledge, the musician possessed the emotional and aesthetic history of his culture in his music. Conversely, through his skill and expertise, the traditional musician also possessed a cultural code which made accessible to him the aesthetic forms and structures through which the rural community could find a viable medium for continued self expression either as dancers or musicians. The music conferred identity on a vastly decentralised culture; it was history translated into sound. This is why personalised oral transmission of the musical tradition from members of one generation to another was a crucial process in the life of the rural community. This spontaneous transfer of the oral tradition between generations connected the community with its own history. It was a process that guaranteed the community's capacity to symbolize and celebrate its own existence through the concrete mediums of story-telling, music making and dance. When one generation rejected the skills and knowledge of the preceding generation a rift appeared within the fabric of rural identity. 








The magic circle to all purposes is now broken. The community of players and dancers is dispersed. The men we met with are now alone, survivors of an inevitable historical process. The period between 1940 and 1965 witnessed the almost total extinction of traditional music as a community oriented activity. The steady growth of urbanised lifestyles, modern entertainment forms, consumer values, ideologies of national modernisation, the gradual assimilation into Anglo-European culture overwhelmed the social and economic life of the rural community. A new self-consciousness appeared to separate the people from the old practices. It was during this period that many musicians were confronted with a choice. With the erosion of communal values and activities they were forced to make the adjustment from music as a social practice and, in part, other-directed, to music as a purely personalized and solitary art form.  



Many of the elements that determined the nature of the decision in either direction - to play the music or to give it up - were culturally determined. But ultimately it was left to the individual musician to respond to these determinants in his own way. This was because there was an inherent dualism in the musician's cultural role, a dualism that allowed for a variety of responses. The music was an eminently social and public art. Without community participation and without social legitimisation the act of playing lost meaning for many musicians. We found in Donegal and Tyrone no correlation between levels of musical skill and commitment to continued playing. Many a noted musician stopped and many a mediocre musician kept at the music. When one talks to some of the men who gave up the music one gets the feeling they were embarrassed into silence. For them there was no conscious choice - the dancing stopped so they stopped playing. They possess only vague reasons for their decision and often talk about their musical activity as the actions of another person, part of the naivety and enthusiasm of youth. This last reason is significant - fiddling is often looked upon by these men as frivolous, as a misspent use of valuable economic time. The revaluation of time, which accompanied the growing functionalism of rural society, was the result of that society's contact with the mechanised world. It indicates that the rejection of the music and dance tradition was part of a general desymbolising of rural culture, and a rejection by a new generation of cyclical time based on seasonal change for the linear temporality of modern society and the market economy.   




ドニゴールカシェラード 旅行者用の宿にて  


A web session from the Traveller's Rest in Cashelard, Co. Donegal. This fine group of fiddle players led by Danny Meehan and