- If you wish to read the introduction to version 2 of the database click here
- If you wish to go straight to the database version 2 click here
- If you wish to read the introduction to the U.S. database click here
- If you wish to go straight to the U.S. database click here
The objectives of this project
(i) To document all commercial recordings of Irish traditional dance music made in Britain or Ireland during the 78-rpm era (approximately 1898 – 1960); (ii) To publish the results as an online publicly accessible database. (iii) To publish an online database listing all US-recording of Irish traditional dance music released in Britain or Ireland during the 78-rpm era (approximately 1898 – 1960).
Summary of Project
Although the invention of the cylinder phonograph is widely recognised to have opened up a new era in cultural research, it is the commercial development of disc players (‘gramophones’) and subsequent 78-rpm recordings that has facilitated the study of traditional Irish music recorded in the first half of the twentieth century.
Following extensive commercial recording of Irish-born or descended musicians in the USA from around 1915, British record companies began to re-issue these recordings in Britain and Ireland during the 1920s. Although sales figures are presently undocumented, the volume of sales was sufficient to persuade British recording companies to engage in extensive recording programmes of Irish-based musicians, in both Dublin and London. It is estimated that UK/Irish recordings may number up to one thousand individual items or ‘sides’. These recordings represent a unique treasury of traditional material and provide an unparalleled insight into the output of musicians who were largely unaffected by the electronic media.
Unlike US recordings, the material includes musicians from most Irish counties and is often unaccompanied. The recordings demonstrate examples of ensemble playing and include the first recordings of céilí bands. It is generally recognised that the availability of commercial recordings of Irish traditional dance musicians from the 1920s and 1930s played a major role in shaping styles and repertoire in Ireland from this time forward.
Although discographies are available for Irish material recorded in the USA and are an invaluable research tool, there is no similar published information available for the recordings made in Ireland and Britain. In addition, there is no known published information available on the distribution and sales of either British/Irish or US recorded materials in either Britain or Ireland and this precludes any accurate assessment on the extent of their influence. With a few rare exceptions, performances by Irish traditional dance musicians recorded by commercial companies have rarely occurred in printed collections of traditional music.
The first draft database for the commercial recordings of Irish traditional dance music made in Britain or Ireland during the 78-rpm era is shown on Page 2.
You are welcome to copy or download this database, although it remains copyright and should not be published either in full or in part without the prior permission of the author (Barry Taylor).
Your comments, additions, deletions and disagreements are welcome and should be sent to: Barry Taylor Barryriley [at] eircom [dot] net
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