ITM Books

ITM Books

I am doing a project for school, and was thinking about choosing the history and evolution of ITM, STM, and all instrumental music that is of celtic origin. Does anyone know of any books/websites/resources of any kind on this subject? I could already probably BS my way through the 30 minute presentation, but it helps (actually, it’s required) to have book resources. Thanks!

Re: ITM Books

A couple books I would mention are:

- Irish Traditional Music by Geroid O hAllmhurain

- Celtic Tides - Traditional Music in a New Age by Martin Melhuish. There is also a DVD that you can get, too.

I wouldn’t recommend BS’ing your way. This is a complex study and 30 minutes should be pretty easy to put together. You probably need to narrow your scope, in fact.

Good luck!

Re: ITM Books

No more sources to add. I know there are tons out there, but I don’t have the titles off the top of my head. I just wanted to second the idea of narrowing your focus. I once looked at researching a similar topic for a school project and found way too much information. I ended up just picking the evolution/history of one instrument (flute) and still found plenty of information for an essay and presentation. I completely understand the thought of wanting to BS a project (I did this plenty of times), but if you are truly interested in the topic I think you might find it more beneficial to really focus your interests. Anywho, just my 2 cents.

Re: ITM Books

The Rough Guide To Irish Music (Geoff Wallis and Sue Wilson) might be available in the US. It takes the story of bands and players pretty well up to the present, and I should imagine (though I don’t know) that it has a word or two about origins and the remote past. It lists a great many bands/musicians/singers and you couldn’t possibly remember them all.
A few key names:
Turlough O’Carolan - c17/18 harpist and singer many of whose tunes have survived - a link with an otherwise largely lost old harping tradition;

Michael Coleman - early c20 legendary fiddler from Sligo whose live playing and recordings inluenced many fiddlers;

Francis O’Neill - A police chief in Chicago, start of c20, who made a classic tunebook of tunes he collected from Irish players there;

Sean O’Riada and The Chieftains: O’Riada was a classically trained composer who oversaw the band who became The Chieftains in the 1960’s. They began, at any rate, by playing semi-formal arrangements of traditional music with impeccably traditional style / instruments;

The Dubliners - Also took off in the 60s, but totally different - a ballad group using guitars and being up-front entertainers (mind, they were pretty good players of dance music on other instruments);

Planxty, The Bothy Band, De Danaan (later spelt De Dannan) - Three of the bands who internationalised Irish music from the 70s, with exciting and moving music / songs / arrangements and some novel material
(e.g., De Danaan played a classical piece, "The Entry Of The Queen Of Sheba" by Handel; Planxty played some Balkan music);

Current bands - Altan (representing the Donegal tradition), Dervish, Flook are three I’ve heard and been impressed by.

Dance: An album of someone playing as if for a solo dancer would be worth listening to. I can only think of "Flute For The Feis" by John Doonan, but it may no longer be available. There will surely be others.
Meanwhile, any halfway-good ceilidh band album should give an idea of the tempo of social dance.

Re: ITM Books

One important point in your presentation should surely be how the music has been changed from being primarily a solo melody instrumental, through the influence of the "dance bands", concert bands, and sessions, into a multi-instrumental and harmonic style of music, whilst still retaining the single melody leading line.

Re: ITM Books

PS Nicholas - was O’Carolan a singer ? I shall have to go back to his biography. I knew he composed poetry as well as tunes, but a singer ? This is news.

Re: ITM Books

As far as I’m aware he composed songs and sang them to his patrons, accompanying himself on the harp. I may be wrong on this, but will believe this unless it turns out to be demonstrably untrue.

Re: ITM Books

Name me one "song" with lyrics by O’Carolan, please.

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Re: ITM Books

Kenny the one that comes to my mind is O Rourke’s Noble Feast , a translation of which, by ‘Dean Swift, appears in the Bunting collection. I have seen words to other Carolan tunes quoted over time but it would take a bit of digging to bring them out.

Looking further there’s Ye Good Fellows all in Bunting as well ‘translated fro mthe original Irish of Carolan’ for Bumper, Squire Jones

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Re: ITM Books

There might be a way that you can include some of the performances on YouTube in your presentation. Do searches for some of the groups mentioned here such as Altan. I know there are several samplings of their performances there.

Re: ITM Books

Sad to say, but The Rough Guide to Irish Music is now out of print and a new editiojn will not reappear via the previous publisher, though I’m investigating other options.

Dónal O’Sullivan’s exemplary and highly detailed account of Carolan’s life and music does not include any lyrics composed by the harper.

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Re: ITM Books

One or two web references to Carolan say he would write a tune for a patron he was going to see, and then write verses to go with the tune (counter to the traditional practice of composing the verses first, and then a tune to fit them). That is why I assumed he sang the verses as he played - why else compose them round a tune?

Maybe he recited or chanted them instead of singing, while he played - but I don’t know, and I admit I’ve come across no website that definitely says he sang. It shouldn’t be too hard to find an account, or informed opinion, concerning how he presented or performed his verses, but I haven’t come across one.

Re: ITM Books

Almost no examples of Carolan’s lyrics have survived, but according to O’Sullivan nearly all of his tunes were composed as songs in the Irish language, most of his patrons being Irish speaking gentry.

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Wow! Thanks, guys. I was afraid that this (being not exactly the most well-known style of music) would be too obscure to have sources, but apparently I was wrong. Time has always been one of my issues with the topics I choose (last semester was the history of cryptography, which covers over 4,000 years). I try to not get too in depth with the topic because I don’t want to bore the judges. I will certainly include plenty of YouTube/Leahy DVD clips, as well as some of my own playing to illustrate the different types of tunes.

Oh, and BTW, I do not intend to BS my way through this—in fact, I do more research for these presentations than most people I know. I was merely saying that I already know enough about the music it self that (with a bit of time filler from the clips and my playing) I could get by with a fairly decent grade. I’m really looking forward to this presentation, and hopefully I will be able to lure a few people towards the music. I have been rather surprised that when telling people the topic I am doing, they all seem to react quite positively. I was especially surprised that when I told this one particularly attractive girl about it, she said "Are you serious?! I love that stuff!" Me-"Really?" Her (kind of sheepishly)-"Yeah, I listen to it all the time." Wow.

Re: ITM Books

Ressurrecting this thread to ask about ITM book sellers that are NOT Amazon. Being from Aus, buying stuff from America costs a fortune in postage. Often more than the product itself.
Buying from the UK I’ve found it to be lower postage. Does anyone know of book sellers who can ship to Aus?