PW Joyce Miscellanea

Patrick Weston Joyce’s publication of Irish traditional music and song, and his writings on music, song and dance, had a strong influence on the thinking and practice of his contemporaries and of succeeding generations. Some published indications of this influence are presented in facsimile here:


Detail from the cover of An ceóltóirín / Pádraig Ó Murchadha (n.d.)

1.  Dedication by Alfred Perceval Graves to his The Irish Song Book (London: T. Fisher Unwin, 1894; reproduced from 12th ed., 1914). Graves had drawn extensively for his melodies on Joyce’s collections and acknowledges this: ‘I heartily owe it to my old friend, Dr. Joyce, who has generously give me the free use of airs and words in his published and unpublished collections, besides looking over my musical proofs’ (p. xvi). Graves had earlier drawn on Joyce’s music for his Songs of Old Ireland with arrangments by C. Villiers Stanford (London: Boosey & Co, 1882).

2.  Francis O’Neill, ‘Chapter XVI. Dr. P.W. Joyce’s Estimate of the Total Number of Irish Airs Questioned’. Like his older contemporary Joyce, O’Neill was a traditional musician, and a collector and publisher of Irish traditional music, who came from a musical family in rural Ireland (in west Cork in his case). He also rose to a prominent position (chief of police in Chicago) by native ability and hard work. O’Neill had a fellow-feeling for Joyce and a regard for his work which was tempered by competitiveness.

3. ‘An Leipreachán’, a translation into Irish of Joyce’s original song-lyric ‘The Leprehaun’ from his Ancient Irish Music of 1873, pp. 100−101. The translation, by a Séamus Ó Duirinne, was published in An Ceoltóirín, a school songbook edited by Pádraig Ó Murchadha (Dublin: Brún agus Ó Nualláin, n.d. but 20th century).

4. When Patrick Weston Joyce died on 7 January 1914, his position as an important figure in Irish life was recognised by the many obituaries that appeared in the national press. In the nature of things, most were brief and impersonal, and carried the same basic information on his life in general. Two more personal Joyce obituaries closer to the concerns of this traditional music site are presented here in facsimile, both written by colleagues of his in the Irish Folk Song Society: A.P. Graves & C.M. Fox, ‘Obituary’, Journal of the Irish Folk Song Society, vol. 14 (April 1914), pp. 38−42