'Goldsmith on his Travels'
A musically unreliable nineteenth-century mezzotint depicting the Longford poet, novelist and dramatist Oliver Goldsmith (1728–74) on the Continet. The engraving, by W. Greatbach, is of a painting by the noted English artist Edward Matthew Ward (1816–79).
Goldmith was an early Irish player of the German flute and is said to have supported his medical studies at Leyden by playing on it, much as he is said to have supported himself at Trinity College Dublin by writing songs for the ballad printers. A walking-stick flute reputed to have been owned by him is in the possession of the Irish Traditional Music Archive. The German flute, developed in late seventeenth-century France from medieval forms, was being played in England in the early 1700s and in Ireland by the 1710s at least. Popular among non-professional musicians, it was early used for the performance of Irish traditional music, but seems to have come into the hands of traditional musicians in numbers only in the nineteenth century. Like its relative the fife, it was played as a solo instrument and in ensemble in Temperance, Land League and other political marching bands.
Courtesy of the Irish Traditional Music Archive
Published on 1 November 2006