英日対訳:The Northern Fiddler北の大地のフィドラー達('79/'85)第12回 2部(4/7)ティン・フィドル/楽士の役目




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My grand-uncles Mickey and Alec McConnell were the first to make tin fiddles. They were at a big dance and the fiddle got broke. They had nothing left but the bow and the peg head and the strings. Well, fiddles were scarce at them times so they didn't know what to do. Well my grand-uncle was sitting looking at the broken fiddle - “Oh,” he says, “I'm thinking of some remedy,” and he just reached for a sheet of tin and he split the sheet of tin in two. He marked it round and round and cut out the identical same shape as the ordinary fiddle, he raised her [the tin], put the head on her and played time about in the morning. That was the McConnells from Connaught, they delighted in smith work and it was them that was the first to draw a plan of it ... To make a tin fiddle she has to be cut just the same as that wooden fiddle there, but the belly and the back have to be raised together. And you put two flanges around the rim to connect the belly and back together. You would use no solder only for the neck. There is a drop of solder that goes on the two sides of the neck to hold it firm, but for the body the less solder you use the better. You might use a wee bit on the inside of the rim before you put on the belly, to keep it in its place till you get it properly seamed, and when it's well seamed it would be a lovely job. The “S” holes you put in is called a chiselled “S” hole with a hole there and a hole there [he points to either side of the bridge] ... with the sides bent down and a bar in the middle. Then you would put a bass rod in under the third string to give her a lovely soft tone. But the back and front have to be plumb level together, and would have to hammer it out the back the same as the belly - the verse on her has to be one depth all around ... and then you would carve your own head and finger-board - ash for the head and a bit of sycamore for the finger-board - that's for the tone of a tin violin - and a nice piece of glass to smooth it out and leave it level. A bit of sycamore for the bridge is just as good as ebony and ash is the best timber for the pegs, it's not a splitful kind of timber, it's long in the grain ... Well the McConnells made Irish pipes and tin whistles as well. They made the Irish pipes out of “bootree” (elder). There are parts of this county around Glencolumbkille there, that's good for growing that type of timber. The inside of it is very soft, they used to hollow that and carve out chanter and the drones from that tree. To make the bag they would take a sheepskin and soak it. Then they would stretch it out and they would seal it with beeswax to make it airtight. They would make the reeds from bootee too. They grown wee small berries on these trees and they used to dye the wood with then. They would boil the whole lot together and it sucked into the pores of the timber and they would get a lovely black color on the wood. They were out to make a powerfull job of it. They would shine the chanter up with a piece of cloth what they call French polishing and it would shine as if it was varnish. On account of being smiths they made the keys of the pipes out of brass themselves. Down on the bottom of the chanter there was a little ring carved out of bog oak, it was heavy and kept the chanter well balanced. But once you boiled the wood in those berries they would seal it and the pipes would last hundreds of years ...  


(Simon Doherty) 


(Simon Doherty in the Reelin Bridge bar, 1979)  




The Doherty, the McConnells and others like them were not aimless wanderers haphazardly extracting a living from the sedentary farming community. Operating from permanent bases they travelled established, regular circuits playing their music and selling their crafts. For generations they were involved in the creation of craft work and of a music in much demand by the farming communities. It is no accident that they maintain and cultivated the oral culture of rural Donegal. They were the one community in that county that had access the traditions of all the separated townlands. They alone knew the cultural totality of rural Donegal in the eighteenth, nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. When that totality disintegrated under the impact of modernity the delicate web of interrelationships that existed between the travellers and the farming community fell apart.  


The life style was based on an economic and cultural balance arising from the isolation and immobility of the farming population, the inaccessibility of mass-produced hardware, and the deep involvement of these farming communities in their own traditional culture. The relationship of the farming and the traveling communities was rooted in the communal values that structured their social life, economy and etiquette. The advent of modernity radically altered the economics and ethics that governed this relationship. The introduction of better roads, the automobile, mass-produced consumer goods and popular music rendered the life style and economy of the traveling families dysfunctional. In no way is this more evident than in the fact that as the practice of country house dancing fell into disuse, John Doherty was forced to seek his livelihood by playing in the local pubs. It is a tribute to his art that he can replicate the special atmosphere of the kitchen fireside in the different surroundings of the public house. But his skill in doing so should not draw attention away from the fact that in performing in pubs his relationship to his audience was drastically altered from guest to paid entertainer. For John Doherty a certain continuity has been broken. He is a figure in exile, and the public recognition he receives is a poor substitute for his vanished life style. He is one of the last of his family and certainly the last of his type of rural musician. For John Doherty the music he plays is irrevocably separated from the context in which it flourished. When he picks up the fiddle to play it is, among other things, to remind himself of a certain wholeness that once existed and now survives only in his music. 





Vincent Campbell, who has learned many of his tunes and his recognisable style from John Doherty and his family.