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Traditional Music and Musical Instruments (Exhibit Case 10)
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A Celebration of Traditional Music of Ireland & Elsewhere in Print:

An exhibit of material from the collection of Lewis Becker, Professor of Law, Villanova University School of Law. March 13, 2006 – April 28, 2006 Falvey Memorial Library Villanova University

Traditional Music and Musical Instruments (Exhibit Case 10)

The musical instrument most closely associated with Irish traditional music is the harp.  A great deal of information on traditional Irish harp music can be found in the work of Edward Bunting (1773-1843).  Bunting, as a nineteen-year-old musician, was hired to transcribe the music at the Belfast Harp Festival of 1792, the last gathering of traditional harpers. Thereafter, he continued collecting harp music during his travels across Ireland. Bunting eventually published three collections of Irish music in 1796, 1809, and 1840.

Bunting, Edward. The Ancient Music of Ireland.
Dublin: Hodges and Smith, 1840


O’Sullivan, Donal. Carolan. The Life, Times and Music of an Irish Harper. 2 v.
London: Routledge and Regan, 1958


The most famous of all of the Irish harpers was Turlough O’Carolan (1670-1738), whose songs are still widely played today. Donal O’Sullivan was a noted expert on traditional Irish music and his study of O’Carolan is very extensive.

Fox, Charlotte Milligan. Annals of the Irish Harpers.
London: Smith, Elder & Co., 1911


Armstrong, Robert Bruce. The Irish and Highland Harps. 2nd ed.
New York: Praeger, 1970


The first edition was published in 1904

Another traditional Irish musical instrument is the Irish bagpipes, which differ considerably from the perhaps more familiar Scottish bagpipes.

Grattan Flood, William H.  The Story of the Bagpipe.
London: Walter Scott; New York: Scribner, 1911


Collections of traditional music were not limited to Irish music. For example, see the displayed books by Bronson and by Fraser.

Bronson, Bertrand H. Traditional Tunes of the Child Ballads. 4 v.
Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1959-1972.

               sing_0055_small.jpg    sing_0137ps_small.jpg
Images from v. 1

Fraser, Simon. The Airs and Melodies Peculiar to the Highlands of Scotland and the Isles. 2nd ed.
Inverness, Aberdeen and Elgin: Logan and Co., 1874


The first edition was published in 1816