Ethnography of Fiddle/Celtic Muñeira of Castillian Galicia

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Muiñeira is a traditional dance and musical genre from Galicia (Spain). It is distinguished mainly by the time signature of 6/8, played expressive and lively, although some variants are performed in other time signatures. There are also variant types of muiñeira which remain in the time signature of 6/8 but which displace the accent in different ways. Muiñeira is associated with traditional choreographic schemes and the associated instrumentation is a form of bagpipe known as a gaita. It is subject to highly varied interpretation in differing local traditions. According to "Galicia-The Spanish Cousins", an article on Roots World, [1] muiñeira is the Galician "equivalent" of a jig, which is consistent with the time signature of 6/8 [2]


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The Galicians are an ethnic group, a nationality whose historical homeland is Galicia in north-western Spain. Most Galicians are bilingual, speaking both their historic language, Galician, and Castilian Spanish. Their music is classified as part of the body of Celtic music.

Characteristics of muiñeira dance

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It is a dance of playful character and with a social component expressing historic social culture of gallantry. It is somewhat more permissive of improvisation than other folk dances, improvised in seráns and fiestas, and exhibitions. Some interpreters [citation needed] have added increasing complexity to its choreography.

It is played at a fast tempo. Dancers often form a circle or parallel threes. Often jumps are incorporated, synchronized with percussion accompaniment. snare-drum known as tamboril (a wooden natural-skinned drum with gut snares), and the bombo, a bass drum.

Video resource

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Examples and exemplary proponents

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Examples of the genre recommended by native Spanish commentators [4]include ' ' Muiñeira de Chantada' ' and to ' ' Muiñeira de Lugo' '.

Carlos Nuñez

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According to RootsWorld, which claims to be the first music magazine published on the web, [5]"the most prominent gaita virtuoso in Galicia, and one of the world's best, is Carlos Nuñez. He often tours and records with the Chieftains, who consider him an auxiliary member of the group". Nunez performed a "Muneira de Chantada" with the Chieftains in early 2008, which featured Irish foot dancing. [6]

Susana Seivane

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Susana Seivane Hoyo (born 25 August 1976) is a Galician gaita (bagpipes) player born in Barcelona, Spain, into a family of well-known Galician luthiers and musicians, the Seivane family, whose workshop is the Obradoiro de Gaitas Seivane. She started her musical career at the age of three. Guided by her father Álvaro Seivane and influenced by skilled bagpipers such as her grandfather Xosé Manuel Seivane, Ricardo Portela and Moxenas, she notable in the bagpipe world and the world of traditional Galician music. She synthesizes the "enxebre" style of the ancient bagpipers while creating her own style including other musical influences.

Muneira performances

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  • Seivane performed a muiñeira at a live concert in Verin in the summer of 2008.[7]


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Galician bagpipes come in three main varieties, though there are exceptions and unique instruments. These include the tumbal (B-flat), grileira (D) and redonda (C). Asturian bagpipes are usually played along with a tambor (snare drum). Asturian bagpipes usually have only one drone and follow a different fingering pattern.

Tunes using the gaita are usually songs, with the voice either accompanying the instrumentation or taking turns with it

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  3. caption=Banda de gaitas del Conjunto Pelayo de Manolo del Campo acompaña a Sete Netos en su 10mo Aniversario, Teatro Avenida|uploader=anakahlo|date uploaded= Dec 1, 2008
  4. Galatian language CCL 2.0 editors at
  6. Roughly translated, it says: like the Druids of Britain we asked to him to God or the Gods that dance of the happiness immersed in that state forever in one eternal celebration, by the pipe of Peace, culture and love.
  8. Notes: event sponsor=The Recunchos association of Ribeira de Piquín |date of event= Saturday August 9, 2008|event= a party-tribute to the Galician craftsman and musician Mr. Xosé Manuel Seivane Rivas his birthplace|event= concert featuring the band of honoree's granddaughter Susana Seivane.|date posted|unknown|contributorn (uploader)= Edelmiro007|url= retrieved=July 17, 2011

Additional References

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  • Cronshaw, Andrew. "Celtic Iberia". 2001. In Mathieson, Kenny (Ed.), Celtic music, pp. 140–175. Backbeat Books. ISBN 0-87930-623-8
  • Celtic Music Base, large biographical directory of Celtic musicians.


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Attribution: this resource is based upon a WikiBook chapter in the text Ethnography of Fiddle developed by Geof Bard as a combination of translation from Spanish and Galician Wikipedia and original research utilizing videographic documentation available online. If you contribute to this resource, which you are invited to do, please add your information below.