PW Joyce Thesis

The first scientific and extended consideration of the music collecting work of Patrick Weston Joyce was a thesis written in the mid-1960s by Catherine Hegarty (Caitlín Uí Éigeartaigh), a BA and BMus graduate in Irish and music of University College Dublin. This was successfully submitted for the degree of MA in September 1966 to the National University of Ireland. The thesis examined and indexed two unpublished Joyce manuscripts held by the National Library of Ireland, MSS 2982 and 2983 (which have since been presented in facsimile on this site, courtesy of the NLI, with interactive music scores for its Limerick contents). The two are correctly considered as two volumes of a single manuscript, having as they do continuous pagination and tune numbering.


Detail from title page of Caitlín Uí Éigeartaigh's thesis.

This thesis is also a historical document in its own right, being one of the first-ever postgraduate theses written on the subject of Irish traditional music. The original is a foolscap-size typescript which was accompanied by index filecards. The typescript is reproduced in facsimile here courtesy of Caitlín Uí Éigeartaigh, a former lecturer in music in Coláiste Phádraig (St Patrick’s College of Education), Dublin; secretary of the Folk Music Society of Ireland; and lecturer at the College of Music, Dublin Institute of Technology. She is preparing for publication an edition of the music manuscripts of the Cork collector William Forde (1795−1850).

After an introduction to Joyce and his work and concentrating on melodies rather than song words, the typescript thesis describes the manuscript, the method used in compiling a thematic index on filecards of its tunes, and its treatment of the titles in the manuscript. It lists Joyce’s music sources, and examines in great detail his transcriptions from the manuscripts of the Co Kerry collector James Goodman (1828−96), comparing them to his method in transcribing from the manuscripts of the collectors William Forde and John Edward Pigot (1822−71). The thesis ends with consideration of the musical modes to be found in the Joyce manuscript and with conclusions drawn from this study, and with bibliography and indexes of song and tune titles in Irish and English.

Also reproduced here courtesy of the author is an article based on her thesis:

Caitlín Uí Éigeartaigh, ‘Patrick Weston Joyce: The Collector as Editor’, Éigse Cheol Tíre. Irish Folk Music Studies vol. 2, 1974−1975 [1976], pp. 5−14.

With thanks to Caitlín Uí Éigeartaigh.