Joyce: Ancient Irish Music

Pdf Joyce, P.W. Ancient Irish Music: comprising one hundred airs hitherto unpublished; many of the old popular songs; and several new songs. Dublin: M.H. Gill & Son, 1890.
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Patrick Weston Joyce (1827-1914) was born in Co. Limerick. He was a writer and was passionate about Irish history, language and music, on which he produced many works. Some of these include The Origin and History of Irish Names of Places, A Concise History of Ireland, and English Language in Ireland. He was a collector of Irish music and made contributions to Dr. George Petrie’s The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland (originally printed in 1855).

Influenced by Dr. Petrie, Joyce set about recording the music and songs of his youth. He also spent time gathering more unpublished songs from the people, principally in the South of Ireland. The P. W. Joyce Collection is kept at the Cregan Library in St. Patrick’s College, Drumcondra, Dublin.

In the preface to this collection, Joyce recalls his childhood in Co. Limerick where his passion for Irish music began. As many Irish songs and airs were passed on through the oral tradition, Joyce emphasised the importance of writing down these tunes before they disappear forever.

Reprinted in the preface is a letter from Professor J.W. Glover, who assisted Joyce in producing this book, on the subject of harmonies and the character of Irish tunes. A brief outline of the common Irish tunes is also provided. Throughout the collection, Joyce provides a small overview for the songs he has recorded, and the story of how he came to find them.

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