PS 007 – Taviltich

Primary Sources

C1 Taviltich C1.5: 11

Notes on Gaelic Title

Taimhealtaich(?) Taviltich C1.

Roderick Cannon (2009)

Other Material

      2015 Allan MacDonald and Barnaby Brown discuss Taviltich

2 thoughts on “PS 007 – Taviltich

  1. There is a well-known bardic or literary parallel to the expression of rage, which supports my proposal that this is a suitable translation of the title ‘Tamailteach’:

    “Cuchulainn was an unstoppable warrior hero in Irish legend who was renowned throughout the British Isles for his unmatched prowess in combat, his superhuman deeds, his Justin Timberlake-like good looks and his infamous “Warp Spasm” – a violent bloodthirsty berserker rage which caused his face to contort into hideous positions, made his hair to stand up on end, and prompted one of his eyes to bulge out of his head, making him look like the sort of like the “pwned” face while he totally flipped out, felt no pain and cut down his enemies like a lawnmower hacking up grass at a country club for rich jerks.” (From the online site ‘Badass of the week’ in which the bardic language is rendered in modern colloquial terms).

  2. A fascinating and learned discussion of the possible meanings of this word. It would be presumptuous for me to suggest that the two scholars here have overlooked something; yet I feel I must do so, with apologies.

    Dwelly’s Dictionary, which was referred to, contains the word ‘Tamailteach’ which he defines, inter alia, as ‘inflamed with resentment at an insult’. This definition was not mentioned in the discussion above. He also lists the word ‘Tamailt’ meaning ‘feeling of insult, affront, insult, shame’. Only ‘shame’ was mentioned, not the other possible meanings.

    That ‘Inflamed with Rage at an Insult’ is a likely name for a pibroch is apparent to anyone familiar with the history of the Highlands, and with Skye in particular, where the two clans, MacLeod and MacDonald, were embroiled in a costly and destructive war around 1600, called ‘Cogadh na Cailich Chaim’ (History of Skye, A. Nicholson, p.121) which resulted when Donald Gorm Mor concluded a handfast marriage (a trial one, lasting for a year) by sending Margaret MacLeod, who had only one eye, back to her brother, Sir Rory Mor of Dunvegan, on a one-eyed horse led by a one-eyed man with a one-eyed dog. The rage which this caused must have been monumental. Only the direct intervention of King James VI brought the war to an end.

    It was remarked that, generally, one cannot relate the music to the title with any confidence, but nothing was said about this tune’s character, apart from Barnaby expertly singing one line of the urlar and saying it was ‘extraordinary’
    However, I feel that in this case, close examination will lead to the strong suspicion that rage at an insult is precisely what the tune is meant to express. It explores the entire scale, in obsessive repetitions of various motifs, some of which suggest the stamping of a foot or gnashing of teeth; and it is far longer, with 8 lines, than other pibroch.
    But this is an examination the student must make for himself, and involves playing the piece a few times, right through.

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