Focus: Irish Traditional Music / Edition 1

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Focus: Irish Traditional Music is an introduction to the instrumental and vocal traditions of the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland, as well as Irish music in the context of the Irish diaspora. Ireland's size relative to Britain or to the mainland of Europe is small, yet its impact on musical traditions beyond its shores has been significant, from the performance of jigs and reels in pub sessions as far-flung as Japan and Cape Town, to the worldwide phenomenon of Riverdance. Focus: Irish Traditional Music interweaves dance, film, language, history, and other interdisciplinary features of Ireland and its diaspora. The accompanying CD presents both traditional and contemporary sounds of Irish music at home and abroad.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780415991476
  • Publisher: Taylor & Francis
  • Publication date: 10/23/2009
  • Series: Focus on World Music Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 312
  • Sales rank: 984,280
  • Product dimensions: 6.70 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Sean Williams, Ph.D. is Professor of Ethnomusicology at The Evergreen State College in Olympia, Washington.

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Table of Contents

List of Figures ix

Musical Examples on Compact Disc xiii

About the Author xv

Series Foreword Michael B. Bakan xvii

Preface xix

Part I Irish Music in Place and Time 1

1 Looking In from the Outside 3

Locating Ireland in Place and Time

What's in a Name?

Irish Musical Processes

Attending an Irish Music Session

Discussion Questions

2 Roots and Branches of Gaelic Ireland 25

Prehistoric Ireland

Telling the Early Stories

Brigid and Patrick

The Arrival of the Vikings and the Normans

The Time of the Bards

Discussion Questions

3 "Hang All Harpers Where Found" 53

Completing the Conquest

The Soul of a Nation

The Great Hunger

Cultural Revival and the "Celtic Twilight"

Ireland Since Independence

Discussion Questions

Part II Music Traditions Abroad and at Home 79

4 Musics of the "Celtic" Nations 81


Celtic Britain: Wales, Northumberland, Cornwall, and the Isle of Man

Celtic Western Europe: Brittany and Galicia

Discussion Questions

5 The Green Fields of America 103

The "Great Migration" of the Scotch-Irish

Searching for Home

Minstrels, Music Halls, and Movies

Irish Music Around the World

Discussion Questions

6 Irish Instrumental Music 129

Musical Instruments

The Forms of Irish Instrumental Music

Matters of Style

Discussion Questions

Part III Focusing In: Vocal Music in Irish-Gaelic and English 157

7 Vocal Music in Irish-Gaelic 159

An Introduction to the Language

Sean-nós Singing

Other Irish-Language Songs

Macaronic Songs

Discussion Questions

8 Vocal Music in English 187

The English-Language Ballad in Ireland

Lyric Love Songs

Praise Songs

Contemporary Songwriting

How DoThey Do That?

Discussion Questions

9 New Contexts for Music and Dance 213

Competitions and Festivals

Musical Notation

Dancing Feet, On and Offstage

The Revival(s)


Discussion Questions

Glossary 237

Additional Resources 241

Listening Guide 245

References 271

Index 277

Index of Musicians 283

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