Canon James Goodman
James Goodman (1828-1896), a native of Dingle, Co. Kerry, was a canon of the Church of Ireland and Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin. However, he is now chiefly known as the compiler of an outstanding manuscript collection of some 2,300 mainly traditional tunes held in the Library of the college.
In his later years, the music collector James Goodman was a canon of the Church of Ireland and Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin. But his 'vernacular' qualities are of greater interest here. As a native of the Dingle area of West Kerry he spoke Irish from infancy. Soon he became attached to music as something between a hobby and an obsession. He sang the local songs, perhaps played the flute, and certainly became an accomplished performer on the Irish, or uilleann, pipes. By 1866 he had compiled an exceptional manuscript collection of tunes which is remarkable especially for its traditional Irish content. These tunes, as he said, were partly 'taken down by myself as I heard them played by Irish pipers &c.', and partly drawn from other manuscripts and from printed sources. Since Goodman's death in 1896 his music has remained unpublished in the Library of Trinity College.
Tunes of the Munster Pipers: Irish Traditional Music from the James Goodman Manuscripts, Hugh Shields, ed.
Dublin: Irish Traditional Music Archive / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann, 1998
This volume of over 500 song airs, dance tunes and other forms is the first of two volumes to be edited by Hugh Shields from the James Goodman music manuscripts. It contains all the melodies which Goodman had marked as being noted down from the pipers (and probably various others) of his native province of Munster, together with an essay on his life and career based on new research. These tunes provide musicians and scholars with a unique body of Irish music from the southwest region. They give unrivalled insights into the traditional music and song of mid-nineteenth-century performers. Most of these performers were probably born in pre-Famine Ireland, most of them were Irish-speaking, many were pipers in a period when uilleann piping was already at an advanced stage of its development.
Tunes of the Munster Pipers: Irish Traditional Music from the James Goodman Manuscripts, Volume 2, Hugh & Lisa Shields, eds
Dublin: Irish Traditional Music Archive / Taisce Cheol Dúchais Éireann, 2013
This second and final volume of the edition contains a further selection of over 500 Goodman tunes. It includes all other Goodman melodies from oral sources, along with unpublished melodies from manuscripts to which he had access; it omits those copied from printed sources. It also includes extensive documentation and indexes covering both volumes, and is accompanied by a substantial online index of research information on the whole Goodman collection. Interactive scores from this book and from volume 1 are available from the links below, and also from the ITMA Port microsite.
Peter Browne presented and produced a radio programme about Canon James Goodman and his music in December 2002. This was re-broadcast on The Rolling Wave on RTÉ Lyric FM, 2 December 2013 and is available on the RTÉ Lyric FM player.
In October 2016, ITMA, in collaboration with Trinity College Dublin, made the six volumes of Goodman manuscripts available online.