Irish Music in British and American Publications, 19th Century

These tunes were often copied from the published Irish Melodies (1808–34) of Thomas Moore, but they also included Irish dance tunes taken from other, as yet unestablished, primary sources. As was the case with all genres of popular music found in such publications, the tunes were published and republished over decades without source acknowledgements.

Editions of two such publications are presented here from the collections of the Irish Traditional Music Archive, both in their own right and as a contribution towards the building up of a picture of the publishing history of these ephemeral publications.

They are a British publication which is believed to have been printed from the 1860s through to at least the 1920s in different forms:

1a        T. Westrop’s 120 Country Dances, Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes, Strathspeys, Spanish Waltz, etc. for the Pianoforte, which was also published with the same tunes as

1b        T. Westrop’s 120 Country Dances, Jigs, Reels, Hornpipes &c. for the Violin

and an American publication in two volumes which is believed to have been printed from 1908 into the later 20th century in different forms:

2a        The Academic Edition [of] Jigs and Reels in Two Volumes Containing All Favorite Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes, Flings, Country Dances, Buck and Wing Dances etc. Both Old and New for the Piano or Organ. Vol. I

2b        The Academic Edition [of] Jigs and Reels in Two Volumes Containing All Favorite Reels, Jigs, Hornpipes, Flings, Country Dances, Buck and Wing Dances etc. Both Old and New for the Piano or Organ. Vol. II

Publications of this kind circulated in Ireland and have had an influence on the Irish oral tradition to an extent as yet unknown. Certainly some non-Irish tunes from such sources have been naturalised within the Irish tradition.

With thanks to book donors the Breathnach family and Bernard Croke, and to Reg Hall and Hammy Hamilton for the loan of editions for copying. ITMA would welcome the donation of other editions of these publications and of similar publications, and also of information (to ) on their publishing history.

NC & MG, 1 June 2014