Gaelic Psalm Singing - Ralph Conner

Ralph Connor's great novel "The Man From Glengarry" was published in 1901. Connor was born in Glengarry County in 1860 and his first hand experiences of life there, dress the story in rich detail. This passage describes the Psalm singing he heard in church in Glengarry. There were also Gaelic Congregations in Oxford County in the 19th century. (As an adult Connor also served as a minister in Harrington, one of the settlements there) I've scanned a few pages from my battered copy of "The Man From Glengarry". I also included the music for "St. Paul" The tune he mentions, but they would never have sung it in harmony!

The singing in this tradition is always in unison and the words are "lined out" by a precentor. They also sing VERY slowly. This type of singing is still done in the Herbrides. I have included a link to a video from Lewis.

Strangely (or perhaps not) the overall effect is very similar to the congregational singing of the old-order Mennonites and Amish I heard in Southwestern Ontario in the 1990s - except of course, they sang in German.


Title Gaelic Psalm Singing - Ralph Conner
Subject Choral Music Reference Material
Year 1860
Locale Eastern
Keywords Church Gaelic Hymn Kirk Psalm Scottish


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