'The Given Note': Traditional Music and Modern Irish Poetry
Author: Seán Crosson
Date Of Publication: Jun 2008
The oldest records indicate that the performance of poetry in Gaelic Ireland was normally accompanied by music, providing a point of continuity with past tradition while bolstering a sense of community in the present. Music would also offer, particularly for poets writing in English from the eighteenth century onwards, a perceived authenticity, a connection with an older tradition perceived as being untarnished by linguistic and cultural division.
While providing an innovative analysis of theoretical work in music and literary studies, this book examines how traditional Irish music, including the related song tradition (primarily in Irish), has influenced, and is apparent in, the work of Irish poets. While looking generally at where this influence is evident historically and in contemporary Irish poetry, this work focuses primarily on the work of six poets, three who write in English and three who write primarily in the Irish language: Thomas Kinsella, Seamus Heaney, Ciaran Carson, Gearóid Mac Lochlainn, Nuala Ní Dhomhnaill and Cathal Ó Searcaigh.
Seán Crosson is a PhD graduate from the Centre for Irish Studies in NUI, Galway. He currently teaches courses on Poetry and Music with the centre and also lectures on Irish and international film with the Huston School of Film & Digital Media. He has contributed chapters and articles on Irish literature, and film, to books and journals in Ireland and internationally including Nordic Irish Studies, Estudios Irlandeses: Journal of Irish Studies and e-Keltoi: Journal of Interdisciplinary Celtic Studies.
"Seán Crosson, himself a composer and performer, has written a penetrating and nuanced study of the influence of traditional music and song on modern Irish poetry…It is certainly the most thorough exploration of this subject to date, and combines awareness of music with the practice of poetry in an original and compelling way."
-- Dr. Riana O’Dwyer, Senior Lecturer, English Department, NUI, Galway.
"This book makes an original contribution to the field of Irish Studies. It is particularly impressive in discussing together the normally disparate studies of Irish literature (in both languages), metrics, music and orality studies. The study is clearly well-written in a clean uncluttered style and proceeds with a logic of argument which carries the reader along."
-- Professor Alan Titley, Head of Department of Modern Irish, University College Cork.
"This book draws on a wide range of theoretical perspectives to construct an exploratory inquiry detailing and interrogating previously unarticulated connections between words and music. Despite the breathtaking wealth of referential material, the model that emerges is subtle, nuanced and flexible, handled with the sure and elegant touch of one who is supremely aware of the possibilities of effects at the nexus of these two intertwined media… This pioneering work is sure to herald other studies in this rich field of inquiry, and provides an exemplary model which leads the way with confident assurance."
-- Dr. Lillis Ó Laoire, sean-nós singer and author of On a Rock in the Middle of the Ocean: Songs and Singers in Tory Island (2007)
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Sample pdf (including Table of Contents)