Collecting Music in the Aran Islands: A Century of History and Practice (Paperback)

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Collecting Music in the Aran Islands: A Century of History and Practice By Deirdre Ní Chonghaile Cover Image
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For more than 150 years, individuals have traveled the countryside with pen, paper, tape recorders, and even video cameras to document versions of songs, music, and stories shared by communities. As technologies and methodologies have advanced, the task of gathering music has been taken up by a much broader group than scholars. The resulting collections created by these various people can be impacted by the individual collectors’ political and social concerns, cultural inclinations, and even simple happenstance, demonstrating a crucial yet underexplored relationship between the music and those preserving it.

Collecting Music in the Aran Islands, a critical historiographical study of the practice of documenting traditional music, is the first to focus on the archipelago off the west coast of Ireland. Deirdre Ní Chonghaile argues for a culturally equitable framework that considers negotiation, collaboration, canonization, and marginalization to fully understand the immensely important process of musical curation. In presenting four substantial, historically valuable collections from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, she illustrates how understanding the motivations and training (or lack thereof) of individual music collectors significantly informs how we should approach their work and contextualize their place in the folk music canon.

About the Author

Deirdre Ní Chonghaile is an ethnomusicologist and curator from the Aran Islands. Her work spans a variety of fields including music, broadcasting, film, public folklore, and digital humanities.

Praise For…

“A compelling and highly original study of Irish traditional music collecting. No author has previously undertaken such a comprehensive local study of music collections in Ireland, locating them both in terms of Irish cultural and wider disciplinary history. This is a major contribution.”—Diarmuid Ó Giolláin, University of Notre Dame

“Ní Chonghaile’s expertise in both musical scholarship and the Irish language adds value to her innovative contribution. Singers, musicians, and collectors emerge in their full humanity, their emotional attachment to their culture clearly apparent.”—Lillis Ó Laoire, National University of Ireland, Galway

“Elegant and eloquent. . . . A tremendous achievement as a scholarly investigation into the collecting of songs and music on Aran.”—Adrian Scahill, The Journal of Music

"Elegantly written... rapping more than a few sacred knuckles... it jolts the reader into modernizing their strict view of Irish singing culture."—Fintan Vallely, Folk Music Journal

"an exemplary study... a feat of research."—Proinsias Ó Drisceoil, Feasta 

"A most remarkable book. . . . One of the most important and fascinating books about Irish traditional music in recent memory. Research like this is hard to conceive of in the first place, but realizing it with such skill and sensitivity is a different thing all together. This book is very, very highly recommended to fans of traditional music, but it should be read by anyone who has any interest in understanding the music's history. Top shelf stuff."—Daniel Neely, The Irish Echo

“A fascinating insight into nearly 120 years of musical culture on the Aran Islands.”—The Journal of Music

“A pioneering, masterful work. . . . [Ní Chonghaile’s] adroit treatment of the music, its makers and its collectors provide a vivid sense of people, place and time. She has brought them in from the cold.”—Ethnomusicology Ireland
Product Details
ISBN: 9780299332440
ISBN-10: 0299332446
Publisher: University of Wisconsin Press
Publication Date: October 18th, 2022
Pages: 352
Language: English