The Three Strains
The ancient tales of Ireland tell us that the Tuatha Dé Danann were a people possessed of ever talent. Indeed in order to gain entry to the hall of the king at Tara one had to declare their mastery and be found of value to the Tuath.
One of the most welcomed people in this skilled society were the bard's whose performances added much needed cheer in tales songs and music. Of course there are many who could turn their hand to an instrument, but there were few who could claim true mastery of it.
Here is where we learn of the three strains. These three acts of musical endeavor were only possible to one who was a master with a harp.
The Goiltrai or Sorrow Strain was said to move a person to weep uncontrollably. To show their grief in the wetness of tears upon their cheeks.
The Geantrai or Joy Strain was said to move a person to revel, singing dancing and laughing with wild abandon until their muscles ached.
The Suantrai or Sleep Strain was said to lull a person towards rest, slipping comfort upon them until their head would fall and sleep take them.
We see these strains being performed by Lugh when he comes before King Nuada in Tara, and again performed by the Dagda in the aftermath of the second battle of Moytura when he quests to recover his harp from fomorian raiders.
Yet there is another reference to these mystical strains that is worth knowing and that is the rumored origins of this musical magic. It is said that the creation of these tunes are linked to child birth, as it is in this state that a person would experience these feelings to their greatest extreme.
What made these so important you might wonder, why these specific three strains? It's because they are the strains of emotion.