Companion to Irish Traditional Music / Edition 2

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Named a CHOICE Outstanding Book of 2012

Fintan Vallely, himself an accomplished musician and music writer, has harnessed the expertise of more than two hundred specialists from various aspects of traditional music, who present a remarkably comprehensive image of the field. Such a detailed picture is indeed flagged by the cover’s use of Maclise’s fabulous Snap Apple Night musicians – a mosaic that incorporates ancient history, past ideals and ideologies, scholarship, virtuosity, romance, satisfaction, pride and internationalism in this indigenous music form. The Companion presents A-Z descriptions of instruments and their playing styles, repertoires, the history of traditions, and analysis of the impact of the media and the modern history of traditional music making. Biographical entries cover significant musicians, commentators and composers. Central themes within traditional music are given extended entries such as the coverage of song and dance, the oral tradition, innovation and the social politics of Irish music.

Among the specialists who have contributed to The Companion are many major performers such as Martin Hayes, Máire Ní Chathasaigh, Gerry O’Connor, Liz Doherty, Niall Keegan, June Ní Chormaic, Mick Moloney, Niall Vallely, Jesse Smith and Anne-Marie O'Farrell. Predominant too are the most eminent researchers and writers including Terry Moylan, Seán Donnelly, Máire O’Keefe, Caoimhín Mac Aoidh, Colette Moloney, Harry Bradshaw, Nicholas Carolan, Pat Mitchell, Anne Buckley and Ríonach Uí Ógain.

The Companion to Irish Traditional Music is not just the ideal reference for the interested enthusiast, session player and professional performer. It also provides a unique – and comprehensive – resource for every library, school and home with an interest in the distinctive rituals, qualities and history of Irish culture, traditional music, song and dance. Unique too is the provision of a parallel website – - which guides structured exploration of the text and fully integrates it with the existing vast and magnificent range of traditional music internet resources.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Vallely introduces several improvements to the second edition of his definitive reference. Most notably, this iteration of the Companion features over twice as many topics as the earlier edition, includes a comprehensive index, and is supported by a website that points readers to related content In his introduction, Vallely points out that much of the content from the original edition has been revised and expanded by means of reader and professional input... Indispensable for scholars, players, and listeners of Irish traditional music, this illustrated, alphabetically arranged work is also an intensive resource for Irish history and culture. Summing Up: Highly Recommended."

"The Companion To Irish Traditional Music (Second Edition) is a complete, compact encyclopedia to the vast field of Irish traditional music in over 800 pages, heavily researched, documented, and cleverly organized with alphabetical indices, a list of abbreviations, plus introductory guide to using the Companion to find desired information. In addition to 761 pages of alphabetically arranged information entries regarding individuals, bands, performers, styles, critics, areas specialties, related literature, and much more, there is a Chronology or Timeline of Irish Music in History that spans from 5935 BC to 2011, and a list of Published Material Relating to Traditional Music, containing useful publications and resources on specific traditional instruments, collections, studies, ethnographies, overviews, popular music, song collections, and more. Filled with both black and white illustrations and succinct summaries of an unimaginable wealth of detailed information on modern and historical applications of Irish traditional music, the Companion To Irish Traditional Music presents a tapestry of glittering song lore in a carefully organized format. The list of contributors and acknowledgments is vast and impressive, as might be expected. Useful to the traditional Irish music student, teacher, or beneficiary ("fan"), the Companion to Irish Traditional Music (Second Edition) is an essential component of any music library and many private connoisseurs' collections. Many thanks are due to editor Fintan Vallely and all his contributors for this much appreciated edition."

"Packaged in an impressively organized and laid out A-Z format, there is a wealth of information readily available to the scholar musician or the casual devotee who wishes to sharpen their I.Q. about traditional music....This is a book you will want to hold in your and refer to over and over again. You will get your money's worth very quickly once you add it to your library."

"[The book] will be appreciated for many years to come and provide valuable and authoritative insights into Irish music."

Library Journal
Musician and musicologist Vallely and 110 other contributors from all over the world offer a rich assortment of facts and analyses regarding traditional Irish music and dance. The research spans history from the Bronze Age to the present, but the emphasis is on 20th-century people and practices. The A-to-Z arrangement of entries, which vary in length from a few words to 15 pages, also features black-and-white photographs, a few diagrams and maps, music samples, a chronology of important events in the development of Irish music, a bibliography of music collections and texts, and a discography of music and dance recorded on audio- and videotape. Most helpful are the concise, informative biographical entries and the lengthy pieces on instruments and playing styles, although some presume a familiarity with their subjects that few Americans have. Unfortunately, in an effort to cover anything and everything related to Irish music, the editor burdens the book with general statements on topics such as "gender" and "Irish bars" or universally used musical terms such as "triplet," detracting from the unique and valuable information it does provide. Recommended for academic libraries with large music collections.--Vivian Reed, Long Beach P.L., CA Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
A thorough and excellent resource for study of the traditional music of Ireland. Arranged alphabetically, entries range from a brief paragraph to several pages and cover renowned musicians, music scholars, instruments, regional styles, techniques and recordings. The editor is a writer, musician, and lecturer on Irish music and ethnomusicology at the National University of Ireland; contributors are musicians and scholars of various stripes. The volume includes an extensive, classified bibliography, some photos and tune transcriptions, a chronology, and a discography. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781859184509
  • Publisher: Cork University Press
  • Publication date: 12/28/2011
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 860
  • Sales rank: 580,263
  • Product dimensions: 7.00 (w) x 9.90 (h) x 2.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Fintan Vallely is Lecturer and Co-ordinator in Traditional Music Studies at Dundalk Institute of Technology.
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Table of Contents

Using the Volume
The Companion to Irish Traditional Music
Chronology: A Timeline of Irish Music in History
Published Material Relating to Traditional Music
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