Home, Jeeves!

 

Introduction: The Internet and the Traditional Music Community

The study and practice of traditional music within and without the academy has undergone tremendous change in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. Scholars and musicians became archivists and compilers out of personal motivation, but partly from the perception that there was a danger of the material becoming lost. Great collectors such as Francis Roche, [1] Francis O’Neill, [2] and lately, Breandán Breathnach, [3] together with many other specialist collectors and publishers recorded what had previously been the stuff of oral tradition. With the advent of audio, then television and video recording, hundreds of artists and their offerings became available to the public. Parallel to these developments, ethnomusicologists and folklorists began moving the paradigms of their disciplines from a more librarian and archivist orientation to a transdisciplinary one with a performance-centered approach (Abrahams 1993, Niles 1999).

As the Irish diaspora continued from the nineteenth through the twentieth centuries, large communities of people in America and elsewhere sought to retain or regain their ethnic “roots.” Beginning in the nineteen fifties and continuing to this day, a great revival of interest in Irish folk music, dance and song has occurred. Many people not of Irish heritage also have been attracted to the music via exposure to performers such as Tommy Peoples and Liz Carroll, groups such as Altan and The Bothy Band, and lately the dance extravaganzas Riverdance and Lord of the Dance.

In the last three decades, particularly within the last fifteen years, many in the worldwide Irish traditional music community have embraced the use of computers and the Internet. From simply keeping in touch with others spread out over a multinational geographic and cultural area, activity among Irish music practitioners and scholars on the Internet grew to include “public” scholarship, discussion, publicity of persons, performing groups and festivals, archiving, cross referencing, teaching and commerce. This author was introduced to IRTRAD-L, an asynchronous computer mediated email list, in 1994 by way of a conversation with an Irish music friend. I signed onto the list and began receiving the unmoderated correspondence content. I have been a member of the list – an “IRTRADder” – off and on for over ten years. Since joining this list I became familiar with many other resources on the Internet, first through the use of anonymous ftp with an Amiga 7MHz 500 computer. [4] The 2001 gift of an 867MHz Macintosh lured me onto the World Wide Web via a cable modem; I quickly established a website of my own and settled into the pleasures of access to content-rich websites having to do with many aspects of traditional music. This paper attempts to trace the history, motivation, and attributes of some of the more public Internet manifestations of Irish traditional music activity and show how they relate to the Irish music community at large. It is only a beginning.

 

Important Timelines for this Paper

1992, December - IRTRAD-L a moderated asynchronous computer mediated listserv discussion group, via email, begins from University College, Cork, Ireland.

1993, May 5 - IRTRAD-L becomes unmoderated.

1993, October – Ceolas (Manning 1993) archive established as an anonymous ftp site. Becomes a Web site in 1995.

1994, June – Abc2mtex, the first program to typeset ABC notation as classical staff notation, introduced.

1994, June – PlayABC, the first program to play ABC files through personal computer speakers, introduced.

1996 – The Fiddler’s Companion (Kuntz 1995) comes on line.

1998, September – JC’s ABC Tune Finder (Chambers 1998) comes on line.

2000–2002 -  Irishtune.info (Ng 2002), an interactive database listing tunes, artist, name variants, source discography, with cross references to JC’s Tune Finder, comes on line. Many other content-rich websites, such as Henrik Norbeck’s ABC Tunes (2002) and The Old Music Project (Brennan 2004) spring into being.

2001, November 12 – Tiompán Alley: David James’ Music Website! comes on line.

Review of the Literature

Manuel Castells (2001)  described “forms of sociability constructed around specific interests” (Castells 2001, 132).

Increasingly, people are organized not just in social networks, but in computer communicated social networks. So, it is not the Internet that creates a pattern of networked individualism, but the development of the Internet provides an appropriate material support for the diffusion of networked individualism as the dominant form of sociability (Castells 2001, 130-131).

 

I read The Social Life of Information (Brown and Duguid 2002) for ideas about learning theory and practice, and the notions of  “know that” and “know how.” These authors enrich Castells’ social networks idea with considerations of social practice, communities of practice and networks of practice.

Kling (1996) also describes social relationships in this kind of electronic forum, and discusses aspects of the permanence of electronic “conversations” and writings.

The archives of IRTRAD-L, 1992 until the present day, contain every posting that reached subscribers’ computers. The entire archive is freely accessible to the members of the list (“cookie” authorized), as are, it seems, archives of some of the other HEANET – the Irish universities’ Internet service provider – lists.

CyberSociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community (Jones 1995) was re-done in 1998 as CyberSociety 2.0 (Jones 1998). From these two works I have plumbed concepts of the difference in contextual cues in computer communication, the temporal – asynchronistic – structure of CMC, and elaborations on the subject of virtual ethnicity (Poster 1998).

Homo Narrans (Niles 1999) is a beautifully written lyrical book on the subject of “oral literature.” Niles cements himself firmly into the “social praxis” view of folklore, and re-enforces the definition of tradition as the live tradition-bearer talking (singing, playing) to the live audience. He takes the body of tradition from the hands of the archivist, who has recorded it as perceived in one place and time – sometimes attempting to divorce the content of tradition entirely from the locus of its birth – and returns it to the land of the living, entrusting its future to the strong tradition bearer and his or her audience.

Chambers (1998, 2002) was indispensable for background on ABC notation. The only thing I would wish is that more of these types of Web sites would document their own history.

Foy (1999) has written a humorous but valuable guide to the Irish “session,” that gathering, usually in a pub, which has become the central feature of the practicing Irish traditional music community. Worth noting here is the following quotation.

[T]he seeming offhandedness and impromptu grace of a good session are no accident, and that a sense of how to conduct one - and how to conduct yourself at one - is not something you're born with after all, Irish surname notwithstanding. The fact is, these things must be learned, either by example or by outright instruction. And this is no less true for whole towns than for individuals (Foy 1999, 9-10).

 

Foy, with little or no justification perpetrates many of the prejudices peculiar to American practitioners of Irish music – seldom found in Ireland – such as his prejudice against hammered dulcimers even when properly played. Otherwise his observations on the rules of session etiquette are humorous and well informed, and provide a guide to the novice player or listener.

1. IRTRAD-L

Excerpts from the first Communications

Date:         Thu, 17 Dec 92 12:05:00 GMT

Reply-To:     Irish Traditional Music List <IRTRAD-L@IRLEARN.BITNET>

Sender:       Irish Traditional Music List <IRTRAD-L@IRLEARN.BITNET>

From:         ARAR6013@IRUCCVAX.UCC.IE

 

 

Contents

 

NEWS  About IR-TRAD

NEWS  Current Research in Irish Traditional Music at University College, Cork, Ireland.

NEWS  Some Useful Addresses

NEWS  Irish Traditional Music Sessions

NEWS  New Recording of O'Carolan's Music

NEWS  Instrument Makers

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apologies to all IR-TRAD subscribers for the long delay in getting this first issue out.

 

IR-TRAD is a moderated list. The moderators are Paul McGettrick: PMCG@IRUCCVAX.BITNET or PMCG@IRUCCVAX.UCC.IE and Hammy Hamilton: HH@IRUCCVAX.BITNET or HH@IRUCCVAX.UCC.IE

 

It is intended that there will be one issue per month.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

We have set up IR-TRAD primarily to provide:

 

A) An INFORMATION SERVICE

 

Announcements regarding

Summer Schools

Lectures

Workshops

Eigses/Festivals/Fleadhs/Concerts/Tionols/Weekends

Classes

New publications

New Recordings

Tours (Venues and Schedules)

etc.

 

Listings e.g.

Names of Instrument Makers

Where to hear the music live

Names of Societies/Organisations/Clubs etc. promoting Irish traditional music (see listing of proposed Archive files below)

 

Details of current research in Irish Traditional Music

Please send abstracts.

 

Miscellaneous e.g. news items, grants and awards etc. and

 B) A FORUM for DISCUSSION

 

Queries

Establishing links between people doing similar research, etc.

 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

We hope gradually to build up archive files containing information on or details of where you can get information on:

 

1.  Instrument Makers

2.  Organisations, Societies, Clubs and Information Centres

3.  Where to hear the music live

4.  Where to buy the music (audio/print)

5.  Institutions where Irish traditional music can be studied

6.  Irish traditional music theses

7.  Abstracts of research

8.  Main libraries of Irish traditional music

9.  Yearly summer schools, courses, events, concerts

10. Newsletters, Periodicals

11. Record Companies

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

If there are any glaring omissions please let us know.  Also we would welcome suggestions as to how the list could be improved.

 

We look forward to receiving contributions to the list from subscribers.

 

Paul McGettrick

 

This first posting also contained a listing of then-current postgraduate research in Irish traditional music at the University College, Cork (UCC), “some useful addresses” for Irish music organizations, the beginning of a session list (place and time), and the beginning of an instrument makers’ list.

The January 1993 “issue” contained a listing of new recordings together with a brief review and a comprehensive listing of the musicians and tracks on each album. This was followed by an introduction to the Irish Traditional Music Archive in Dublin, which had been established by the Irish Arts Council in 1987, and the Traditional Music Archive at UCC. Postings, which had been selected for inclusion by the list moderators, included four lengthy discussions of the attributes of tradition as applied to Irish music, and a short humorous piece about flute players. The following editorial appeared below the masthead:

EDITORIAL

We are rather stunned by the amount of interest that the Irtrad-L list is attracting, and because of the numbers of people who are subscribing we have decided to make it a moderated list, and also the list listing has been moved from Mail serve to Listserve. [5]   This has caused some confusion which is hopefully sorted out now at this stage.  We have had responses from all sorts of people, from amateur enthusiasts to academics.

 

Although originally intended as a service for those involved in academic research in Irish traditional music and related topics, we do not want to discourage amateurs from subscribing and hopefully there will be enough of the content to keep them interested. At the moment though, could we ask subscribers not to send us potted biographies unless you are actually involved in research in which case a brief outline of the research topic is all that is required!  But please do continue to send ideas and information, and we will do our best to answer any questions that come up as well. We would particularly ask subscribers outside Ireland to contribute such things as notice of recordings and publications which might be of interest, and which might not come to our notice here. We welcome recordings and publications for review sent to:

Hammy Hamilton

c/o Music Dept.

U.C.C.

Co. Cork

Ireland.

 

By May, 1993 the moderators were overwhelmed by the volume of mail by the over 300 subscribers, and were forced to go “unmoderated.”  This state of affairs continues to this day, with 439 subscribers. A check of the archives for the month of March, 2005 reveals over 350 messages on 153 separate topics by 140 different persons. Parenthetically, what might be of some surprise to the casual reader is that there were only eighteen messages having to do with St. Patrick’s Day!

Attendant to this paper, and this author’s ongoing research in Irish music and its community, I undertook to assemble a survey which acquired the title “Study of Listserv Group Irtrad_L and website JC’s Tune Finder” (James 2005). Following Institutional Review Board approval, a lengthy task, the survey was made available only to IRTRAD members, confining notice of it and access to the URL to those who read about it on IRTRAD. The complete text of the survey is in the appendix to this paper, or see the on-line views [6] for the presentation aspects. The survey is deficient in many aspects, but preliminary returns verify that for most list members the ability to “keep in touch” with the wider world of traditional Irish musicians and scholars is of paramount importance.

Many simply enjoy the news, chat and insightful repartee available on the list every day. For some the list substitutes as an on-line “community of practice” (Brown and Duguid 2002), which, while lacking many of the aspects of a local community, still may be the only alternative to isolation. I have seen the results of sessions remote from an Irish traditional community a number of times. Members of these sessions have been shocked to find that “real” traditional sessions do not admit the presence of sheet music, do not “take turns” democratically, tolerate no “jamming” and might require some real wood shedding before the person attends again. IRTRAD, and the kind of advice and insight available even by just reading (“lurking,” it’s called) the posts and searching the archives contains an immense amount of wisdom.

 

IRTRAD-L Archives: Some Data “Massage”

 

     March 2005 – Messages By Topic

 

“Thread” Title

# Messages

Type

1.  "The Crooked Road" on Gael Linn

1

give info.

2.  5 string banjo

1

give info

3.  5-string banjo in Irish music ... ?

3

give info/history

4.  5string banjo in Irish music

19

ask for history/ replies

5.  <No subject>

1

see #51: emotional discussion

6.  Need tape or CD for Aly Bain Fiddle Tutor

1

need materials

7.  A Guide to Early Irish Law

3

bodhrán humor (the worst kind of ITM humor)

8.  ABC REQ: Tim Henry's Favorite

3

need tune

9.  ABC request

1

need tune

10. Acadian or Cajun Music

2

need info/ reply

11. Add, NYAH County Cavan Arts Festival 2005 www.cavanmusic.co

1

info

12. Add an r

1

finish joke # 7

13. Aly Bain Tutor tape

1

need materials

14. Amateurism and The Art of Motor Cycle Maintenance.

8

singing style discussion/ emotional

15. Amhran na leabhar

3

need translation

16. Andy Davey, Fiddler RIP Funeral Arrangements

1

info on important tradition bearer

17. April calendar listings

4

NY, NY event info

18. Art and the bourgeoisie

1

humor

19. b+

2

instrument review

20. Ballinamore Ceilidh Band LP

11

ask for history/ replies

21. Battle Of The Boyne

5

tune history

22. Behon law

2

humor, see #7

23. Blatant Piracy

9

netiquette/info/ emotional

24. Bodhrán Shenanigans!!

4

history

25. Brock McGuire on tour

1

info

26. Brock McGuire website

1

info

27. Caoimhín O'Raghallaigh

1

info

28. CD available

5

info

29. Celtic dross

1

opinion/ emotional

30. Celtic guitar accompaniment

3

opinion

31. Ceoltóirí Laigheann

3

ask for history/ replies

32. Chacun a son gout

1

opinion

33. Cherish the Ladies / was Pride of Erin, Fermanagh

7

history

34. Chicago - IAHC - CHULRUA - Sat, April 2, 2005

1

info

35. Chicago this weekend Sessions or good performances?

2

info request/ reply

36. Chris Grotewohl

1

history

37. Comhaltas Session Tunes

1

info

38. Conescu

1

info request

39. Cup of Tae Traditional Music Festival

1

info

40. Danny E. & Sarah U. St. Patrick's Day Weekend

1

info

41. David James - thanks ...

1

reply to #42

42. David James contact info

1

info request

43. David Munnelly

1

opinion

44. David Power in concert: central New Jersey, USA

1

info

45. David Power's new CD: My love's in America

3

info

46. Dear Old Irish/German/Welsh Mothers o' Ours

4

humor

47. Don't wave that scalpel around in here

16

history/opinion/ emotional

48. Dusty Windowsills/Trip to the Highlands

3

history

49. Dusty Windowsills

1

history

50. Email Address Paul O'Shaughnessy

1

info request

51. Experimentation / ostracization

25

history/style/ emotional

52. From 'The Irish Immigrant' regarding Gearóid Ó hAllmhuráin

1

history info

53. From the Forest to the Fiddler's Hands

1

info

54. Fw: [CelticCafe] Danú to quit Touring

2

info

55. Gregor's abject apology

2

info

56. Harmonica advice

1

history request

57. Harper Research Request

1

history

58. He was a nice player and at some point I'll remember his name.

1

history

59. Howe's 1000 Jigs and Reels back in print from Mel Bay

2

info

60. I'll bid you the top of the morning

1

request tune

61. Irish Community in Indiana

16

request info/ replies

62. Irish music in Birmingham

3

request info/ replies

63. Irish Trad Music books on eBay

1

info

64. irtrad jingoisticallnessness

7

humor

65. IRTRAD-L Digest - 2 Mar 2005 to 3 Mar 2005 (#2005-63)

1

info, see #48, 49

66. IRTRAD-L Digest - 24 Mar 2005 to 25 Mar 2005 (#2005-85)

1

opinion

67. Joanie Madden/Mary Coogan tour of Ireland May 24 to June 2,

2

info

68. John Carty - S.E. PA Interest

1

info

69. John Carty and Ged Foley in Pittsburgh

1

info

70. John Carty tunings

3

info/ style

71. John Flanagan

1

info

72. John Flanagan (Sean Nós in PA)

1

info

73. John Flanagan (Sean Nós Workshop and Concert)

2

info

74. Johnny Harling

1

info/ history

75. Just a Thought

2

St. Patrick’s Day

76. Kate on experimentation / ostracization

2

style/ opinion/ emotional, see #51

77. LiveIreland Awards

2

info

78. Liz Doherty

3

info

79. Looking for sessions

4

request info/ replies

80. Looking up info on 19th c. Irish music collectors and earlier

5

history

81. Lunasa on The Connection

1

info

82. Lyrics Request: 4 and 9

2

info request/ reply

83. Mailing errors

1

info request

84. More Odds and Ends

3

history/ humor

85. More pure-droppings

2

humor

86. Music links on the Web (long) (was RE: Ballinamore Ceilidhe Band LP

2

info/ important

87. New Book - Songs of the County Down

3

info

88. New Irish Music Releases March 2005

1

info

89. New issue of JMI (The Journal of Music in Ireland)

1

info/important

90. New London session

5

info

91. New open trad. session in Galway city

1

info

92. New tunes study

17

survey/discussion

93. Nya

2

discussion

94. NY Times Strikes Again...on set dancing

2

history

95. NYTimes.com: How Step Dancing Became the Lord of Irish Feet

1

history

96. O'Neill's "Irish Folk Music..." / "Waifs & Strays..." on eBay

1

info

97. Odds and ends.

3

history/ discussion

98. Olde Inn reopens

1

info

99. PA. Irish Music Series Makes "The Irish Echo"

4

info

100. Plectrum banjo

2

history

101. Pride of Erin, Fermanagh

14

history

102. Pure-drop

8

history/info

103. Query: jamming in Toronto?

1

request info

104. Re Sessions in Chicago: IRTRAD-L Digest - 29 Mar 2005 to 30

1

info

105. Reminder: John Carty/Ged Foley Concert

1

info

106. RIP Fiddler Andrew Davey Gurteen, Co. Sligo.

1

history/info

107. Saint Louis - April 8, 9, 10

1

info

108. ScoilTrad --Have I missed something

8

history/info

109. Sean Maguire on RTE

2

info/history

110. Sean McGuire Fiddler

3

info/history

111. Sean McGuire Fiddler RIP Funeral Arrangements

1

info

112. Seeking contact info - flute players

1

request info

113. Session in Amsterdam

2

info

114. Sheila Coyle's

6

history

115. Slides, single jigs, hop jigs, and slip

8

history/ style

116. Sligo Brosnan's orumah John's Creek

1

tune discussion

117. Some Johnny Harling tunes

3

info/ tunes

118. Some St. Patrick's Week Events: NY Hudson Valley region

1

info

119. Song request

1

request info

120. Song Request

1

request info

121. Song request

5

reply/ emotional

122. Re: A Guide to Early Irish Law

2

history

123. Re: wire-harp / was traditional Irish folk groups

1

history

124. Studio suggestions, Ireland & UK?

1

info

125. Speaking of the harp - S.E. PA & Vicinity Interest

1

info

126. Studio suggestions, Ireland & UK?

1

info

127. Subject line tagging

4

info

128. Subject tags

1

info

129. The "nya" of a tune

4

info/style/ history

130. The Essence of a Session

2

info/ history

131. The Exiles Return

2

info

132. The hag with the money

5

history

133. Thursday night sessions in Clare

5

info

134. Titles of CDs

4

info request

135. To like and not to like

2

opinion/ emotional

136. Trad Music News

5

info

137. Trad music pud (sic) in Atlanta

15

info request/reply humorous

138. Traditional Irish folk groups

6

info request/reply

139. Traditional Irish folk groups

4

reply

140. Traditional Irish folk groups

1

reply

141. trippin

3

history

142. tune id

2

info request/reply

143. Tune Query

1

info

144. U2, Me2, Us2

1

humor

145. Unsung heroines

1

history/important

146. WCSS

11

discussion/ info

147. Willie Clancy and Singing

24

request history/ reply/ important/ emotional

148. Wire-harp / was traditional Irish folk groups

5

info

149. Wishing you all

3

greetings

150. Women in pre-modern ITM

2

history/ important

151. Woodstock, NY: John Carty/Ged Foley Concert

1

info

152. Young musicwide award 2005, Music network seeks Irish trad group.

1

info

153. [CelticCafe] Danú to quit Touring

1

info

 

Information postings make up the plurality of the mail for March, with 53. Postings containing history elements are a close second at 42, and lengthier. There were four intense discussions involving many list members in sometimes acrimonious discussion. The most intense followed a query by a talented young musician involving questions of merging Irish traditional music with “world music” contemporary styles. The second-most well-attended discussion involved the use of the word “Celtic.” Using this word on the IRTRAD list is like waving a red flag in front of a bull. The list prefers to use national terms like “Irish” or “Scots,” these being terms of national and ethnic identity, lacking the “racial” overtones of  “Celtic.”  Two intense discussions focused on traditional singing style, involving questions of voice quality, song delivery, and the age of the singers. One exchange examined the demise of an on-line teaching website that attempted to attract paying customers who would record their practice into the computer as a sound file, send it to the teacher at the website for comment and critical feedback. Consensus was that this practice was cumbersome when carried out in an asynchronous way over the Web. This may be a good example of a failed attempt to merge a community of knowledge (the website in question) with the actual physical practice of musicianship, but minus the social component of actual physical contact (Brown and Duguid 2002, 136-137).

Members of the list have exhibited the behavior described by Kling (1996, 428) attendant on the lack of face-to-face visual and verbal cues. Members have reacted like rockets to perceived slights, which may have been much more moderated in person. Some members from non-native-English speaking countries seemed to have used translation programs that garbled colloquialisms and amplified the meaning of  innocuous words. My own translator program, on the Macintosh, translated “silly” into German as “dumm,” but translated it back to English as “stupidly.” It is easy to see that someone relying on such a program might be the subject of gross misunderstanding.

IRTRAD-L Archives – March 2005 – Messages By Different Individuals

 

140 total persons         % total persons                                    Total messages (of 566)

50 different persons,          36%,              sent 1 message each,       50 messages

24 different persons           17%               sent 2 messages each,          48 messages

13 different persons      09.3%       sent 3 messages each,          39 messages

14 different persons      10%          sent 4 messages each,          56 messages

8 different persons             06%          sent 5 messages each,          40 messages

6 different persons             04.2%       sent 6 messages each,          36 messages

2 different persons             01.4%       sent 8 messages each,          16 messages     

9 different persons             06.4%       sent 9 messages each,          81 messages      

2 different persons             01.4%       sent 10 messages each,   20 messages  

2 different persons             01.4%       sent 11 messages each,   22 messages  

3 different persons             02.1%       sent 13 messages each,   39 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 14 messages each,   14 messages 

1 different person          0.7%              sent 15 messages each,   15 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 16 messages each,   16 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 17 messages each,   17 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 18 messages each,   18 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 19 messages each,   19 messages

1 different person          0.7%              sent 20 messages each,   20 messages

 

The top ten contributors sent 27% of the messages. These people are usually long term members of the list, of academic or traditional background. They were usually replying to postings by others. The top twenty-five contributors sent 52% of the messages.

Contributions: Number by Date:

 

40 on Wed., 23

36 on Fri., 4 

34 on Tue., 22

30 on Wed., 30

27 on Thu., 10

24 on Tue., 1

24 on Fri., 11

22 on Sat., 26

20 on Tue., 29

19 on Wed., 2

19 on Thu., 24

18 on Fri., 25

17 on Thu., 17

16 on Tue., 15

15 on Wed., 9

 

15 on Wed., 16

14 on Mon., 14

13 on Mon., 7

12 on Sun., 27

11 on Mon., 21

10 on Sun., 6

09 on Thu., 31

09 on Thu., 3

07 on Sun., 20

07 on Sat., 5

06 on Tue., 8

06 on Fri., 18

05 on Sat., 12

04 on Sun., 13

04 on Sat., 19

 


On the 22nd and 23rd were engaging discussions about likes and dislikes in traditional singing, the history of the 5-string banjo in Irish music, that attracted most of the postings. On Saturday the 19th discussion on singing at the Willie Clancy Summer School was just beginning to warm up. Note that only one of the four Saturdays of the month had any serious traffic. this could be because it is a common performing and listening night; social rather than on-line.

 

IRTRAD-L and Real Life: A Comparison

 

Irish Music “Session”

“Know how”/learning to be

 

Participants are at an actual site.

 

 

Tunes and songs played “live.”

Musical connecting face-to-face, style in a social or cultural context.

Held in a particular place, limited to a particular time.

Conversation face-to-face, sequential in time, ephemeral unless recorded, heard only by those present, on or off topic of music (social), other activities – i.e. drinking, eating. Social in entirety.

Identity obvious or expressed.

 

 

“Peer review” limited to those present.

 

 

Moderated at best by local tradition-bearers

Mediated by understanding, gesture, spoken and unspoken cues.

 

 

Remembered (memory).

IRTRAD-L On-Line

“Know that”/learning about (Brown and Duguid 2002)

Participants are at a virtual site, and may or may not be a member of a “community of practice” (Brown and Duguid 2002)

Tunes and songs referenced.

No musical connecting. Discussions of style and content prevalent.

In “cyberspace,” accessible any time.

 

Computer-mediated conversation, usually held to a topic, asynchronous, storable hence more permanent, readable and can be copied and spread by anyone who accesses archives (Kling 1996).

“Refer to identity the individual has already determined in non-electronic social space” (Poster 1998, 203). Possibility of deception.

A person’s postings can be the subject of intense controversy among many or all of the list members.

Moderated in a much more free-for-all manner.

Mediated by writing skills, written or unwritten codes less obviously accessible because stored in an archive “place.” Invent own social “cues” (Baym 1995).

Remembered, cataloged, archived.

 

The first consideration rests on the distinction between the explicit and tacit (implicit) dimensions of knowledge: that “no amount of explicit knowledge provides you with the implicit... ‘[K]now that’ doesn’t produce ‘know how’ and Bruner’s [7] learning about doesn’t, on its own, allow you to learn to be” (Brown and Duguid 2002). We learn how at the same time as we’re learning to be, by practice. The practitioner will be greatly aided by the explicit knowledge available on IRTRAD-L and the various databases but it ultimately boils down to the hard work of practice.

To make matters “worse,” a person becomes proficient as an Irish traditional musician not just by knowing, say, a thousand Irish tunes on the fiddle, but by acquiring the social dimensions necessary for this identity. These include the background – the history of Irish music, regional styles, the knowledge of past and present “great players,” and the ways and reasons the “locals” join multiple tunes together to create a “set.” They include the rules of etiquette – how to behave in a session, deference to strong tradition bearers, attribution of sources, and may also include when to stop playing and join in some chat or buy a round of drinks for the session. Brown and Duguid (2002) define this combination of skills as defining a “community of practice,” which begins in a local, physical place, but might be built with the assistance of Internet resources into a “network of practice.” This is where IRTRAD and the knowledge bases, irishtune.info, JC’s Tune Finder, Ceolas, etc. come into their own. Research, for example on the version and provenance of a tune, has never been easier.

IRTRAD discussion is replete with the tension between the need to safeguard the tradition and the pressures to innovate and think out of the box. It is the opinion of this writer, shared by many on the list, that the traditional community of practice, in order to be successful, must rely on a person or persons called by John D. Niles “strong tradition bearers” (Niles 1999).  Briefly, these are people who, by virtue of their lifelong immersion in the music, song and lore of a particular geographic area, or a long history of commitment to the particular tradition, either assume or are appointed by their community as, in a sense, the “guardians” or arbiters of the tradition. Essential for the understanding of this concept is the notion of praxis, that is, the performance of the corpus of that person’s tradition “live” in front of a knowing audience, perpetually renewing the value of this body of knowledge and belief to the community and exercising the right of the strong tradition bearer to add his or her “bit” to the tradition as it gets passed along (Niles 1999, 173-193).

This is the sine qua non of the whole Irish traditional music ecology. Without the strong tradition bearer and the vitality of interaction between this person and the audience, one has nothing but a disembodied mass of tunes and songs with no context, perhaps archived, but learned and studied as if in a museum. Without this person there is no one to arbitrate the inclusion or exclusion of innovative elements such as new styles, tunes, instruments, technical variations. For many people in areas of the world where their access to strong tradition bearers is limited or impossible on a regular basis, IRTRAD-L can be a substitute.  One respondent to the Study (James 2005), who described his local Irish music scene as “dismal,” stated, “The list was my gateway into ITM.  I felt completely isolated and IRTRAD-L gave me access to tunes, recordings, live musicians, festivals and tionols [8] .   It enabled me to become a better musician... I’d rather have personal conversations but the advantage of the net is that provides a means of discourse when personal conversations are impossible.”

 Baym, (1995, 146)  “proposes the most articulated perspective on tasks, arguing that task types have prior structures...  they require that the group generate ideas or plans, choose among answers or solutions, negotiate conflicting views or conflicting interests, or execute performances in competition with opponents or external standards. These four task types differ in whether or not each requires the transmission of information among members of the group, or also requires the transmission of values, interests, personal commitments and the like” (Baym 1995, 146). The extent to which IRTRAD-L is task oriented as versus recreational, is, I suppose, dependent on the outlook of the individual participant. That even the information and humor postings on IRTRAD contain value components is important to consider. Nor is it quite right to say that online CMCs are completely without social cues. Many have been developed, among them the :) smiley face, ALL CAPS for shouting, IMHO (in my humble opinion) and other normative conventions and abbreviations. “Peer review,” both at the live session and on IRTRAD, can be a brutal thing. In the live session it is usually mediated by the good-humored sociability of the thing, but sometimes a one who ignores “the rules” can find him or herself unexplainably shunned or excluded, On line it is even worse. The “rules” may not be obvious; the beginner who is also unfamiliar with the “real world” of Irish music may find the presence of a real minefield. There is the further consideration that postings may stay on someone else’s computer for a period of time, to come back and haunt the sender and become a part of a permanent archive.

 

2. About JC’s ABC Tune Finder

       Introduction: Historical Aspects of Music and Notation

Western music today is rooted in the use of twelve tones. These are represented on the piano by the seven white and five black keys within the span from one note to its corresponding octave. An explanation of the origin of this twelve-tone scale is rooted in mathematics and history.  Stir together Pythagoras the Greek who, about 600 B.C. found the mathematical 3/2 relationship of the musical fifth interval, with two medieval monks. Anicius Manlius Severinus Boethius (480-524), a sixth century Italian monk, used the alphabet to designate a two-octave span of notes (Read 1979: 4,5). Another Italian, Guido d’Arezzo (995-1050), identified the intervals of six tones of the scale from C to A (Read 1979). The development of twelve tones can be basically understood by taking a note, finding the “perfect fifth,” then the fifth of that note, then the fifth of that one and so on. This is called the circle of fifths. You’ll end up with roughly twelve different notes between do and octave do. Or if you take d’Arezzo’s six interval tones and, instead of starting at do, start them one note up, you see that there is a note missing. If you keep doing this one note higher each time, you end up with twelve tones. Suffice to say that it was finally Bach (1685-1750) who handed us the tuning scheme we use today in which some intervals are “fudged” to make music euphonious in every key.

The modern system of music notation familiar to everyone did not come into consistent use until the middle of the seventeenth century (Read 1979: 23). Before and since then there have been many other systems of notation. Two of these, the ancient Greek systems and the tablature letter and number systems, are most germane to this paper.

The Greeks devised a simple, comprehensible, system of musical notation before the time of Christ. Letters of the alphabet represented certain pitches. Letters could be turned backwards or upside down to represent the note as sharped or flatted. The duration of the notes could be represented by a series of lines like so:   ____ = 2 beats, |___ = 3 beats, |___| = 4 beats, |__|__| = 5 beats, placed beneath the letters. Having devised this simple and elegant form, they proceeded to pile on the complications, adding over 1600 different signs and symbols by the fourth century A.D. in addition to employing the Ionic alphabet for vocal, and the Phoenician alphabet for instrumental music.

The second system of notation is easily understandable. For example, take an instrument with its pitches established, for example, a six-hole keyless flute in the key of D. Designate the number 6 to represent all six of the holes covered, the number 5 to represent all but the bottom-most hole covered, etc., to 0 for “all holes uncovered,” the note ti, C#. One could write out a jig on the six-hole flute as follows. This is the first line of the jig, Killaloe Boat:

| 522 522 | 121 3-2 | 15Ý5Ý 5Ý6Ý1 | 6Ý12 356 |

To play the tune from this notation one would have to know a few things. A jig is in 6/8 time, but the dance rhythm is really two pieces of three. Say “diddly-diddly” or “apples and oranges” to get the notion. Each number/note is one beat long. The “3-“ in the example above means you hold this note for two beats. The arrow after a number means you blow a little harder to make the flute jump an octave. This is a much simpler way of writing out:


with no staff, clef, key signature, notes, or bar lines. The principal advantage of this kind of system is that it shows exactly where on the instrument to play the tune.  In this particular case the system is most easily used for only one line of music. Not so for location-based music for stringed instruments. This notation evolved for the lute in the 16th century (Read 1979: 21) and has since become common for many fretted string instruments. Here is the Killaloe Boat in modern tablature for standard-tuning guitar.

Polyphony is as easy with this kind of system as it is with regular staff notation.

One could also write the above without the string lines as follows, with a letter name to refer to the string that only needs to be restated when there’s a string change - and a number for the fret, with some kind of divider, like a period, to differentiate the numbers 1 and 2 from 12. Once again, it would be difficult to write out a polyphonic part.

| E0.5.5. 0.5.5. | 7.5.7. 3.-5. | 7.12.12. 12.10.7. | 10.7.5. 3.0.B3 |

The principle advantage with tablature systems arises because there is more than one place on the guitar to play each note, and, if the instrument is in tune the player need not “know his or her notes,” so to speak. The obvious problem arises if the musician is not a guitar player.

Many musicians throughout history have transcribed tunes using note names. In one scheme, capital letters are used for middle C, one octave to B, then small letters for the second octave. Now the tune looks like this, using the same conventions as above:

           Key: G (1 #)

| EAA EAA | BAB G2A | Bee Bee | dBA GED |

The advantage of this system is that it is transportable to any instrument. The disadvantages arise when an instrumentalist needs to know where on the instrument an E, or e (an octave higher), is played, or if the part is polyphonic. In none of the examples above have I indicated expression – ties, slurs, breathing, etc. - or bowing marks, although most users of non-standard notation have sets of markings to denote expression. Often this results in a hybrid system where the arranger will, for example, put a number 4 above the note A to indicate that it is to be played with the pinkie finger on the D string rather that on the open A string on the fiddle. For a folk musician playing European folk dance music, however, the ABC notation fits like a glove. On the simple-system flute, the fiddle – played predominantly in the first position – the accordeon and the various pipes, it is easily readable and portable. It waited for further refinement by musician-computer innovators to reach its present state of usefulness.

 

The Development of Modern ABC Notation

The twin skills of music-making and computer programming have given rise to most of the interrelationships between Irish music and the Internet. For example, Dr. Chris Walshaw is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Greenwich School of Computer and Mathematical Sciences. He is also a multi-instrumentalist and performer in several traditional music groups. He relates that he first began to use ABC notation as an aid to memory, but turned his computer expertise to the problems of storage and communication of folk tunes over the Internet (Walshaw 2005). Here is his message to the IRTRAD list announcing his development of a sub-program to convert ABC notated tunes to high-quality sheet music.

 

Abc2mtex: the first computer-aided ABC transcriber

Below is a facsimile of the relevant portion of the announcement on the IRTRAD group of the abc2mtex program (Walshaw 1994).

 

Date:         Thu, 13 Jan 1994 11:48:48 +0000

Reply-To:     Irish Traditional Music List <IRTRAD-L@IRLEARN.BITNET>

Sender:       Irish Traditional Music List <IRTRAD-L@IRLEARN.BITNET>

From:         (Chris Walshaw)

Subject:      Announcing abc2mtex v1.1

 

 

*****************************************************************

********** Announcing    version   1.1   of   abc2mtex **********

*****************************************************************

 

This is a package designed to notate tunes stored in an ascii format  (henceforth abc notation). It was designed primarily for folk and traditional tunes of Western European origin  (such as Irish, English and Scottish) which can be written on one stave in standard classical notation. However, it should be extendible to many other types of music.

 

As an example the tune Paddy O'Rafferty would be written out as...(example omitted)

The tune is then read in by the program and MusicTeX output generated (in a matter of seconds). TeX can then be run on this out-put to "typeset beautiful music".

 

The package is small (about 70 KByte), easy to use and features, amongst   other things, the ability to transpose both music and abc notation. It will also create an index of all the tunes you have transcribed.

 

The ability to write tunes in abc notation means that they can be easily and portably stored or transported electronically. This package allows you to typeset them easily too.

 

The package has been written on top of MusicTeX, Daniel Taupin's music typesetting package, itself written on top of TeX, Donald Knuth's typesetting package. [9] To run it you will need TeX (widely available on Unix machines and also available for PCs), MusicTeX (available by ftp from a number of sources such as ftp.wustl.edu in packages/TeX/macros/musictex) and a C compiler.

 

You can get a copy of the package by anonymous ftp from ftp.maths.tcd.ie in /pub/TeX/abc2mtex or celtic.stanford.edu in /pub/tunes/abc2mtex or by sending an email request to me (C.Walshaw@gre.ac.uk).

 

        Chris Walshaw (1994a)

 

 

 

The programs TeX and MusicTex to which he refers both originated in the 1970s and are still in use today. They are open source and freely downloadable. Laasco (2005) claims the combined output is still superior to that of expensive programs like Microsoft Word. Setting up one’s computer to use these two programs was a daunting task in those days at which this author tried and failed.

 

PlayABC, a program to play ABC files on a computer

 

Two months later Walshaw introduced a program which would play an ABC file tune on a variety of machines (Walshaw 1994b).

 

Date:         Wed, 9 Mar 1994 11:26:17 +0000

Reply-To:     C.Walshaw@greenwich.ac.uk

Sender:       Irish Traditional Music List <IRTRAD-L@IRLEARN.BITNET>

From:         wc0zxr <C.Walshaw@GREENWICH.AC.UK>

Subject:      A program to play tunes in abc format.

 

 

Don Ward has asked me to publicise his program playabc which he describes below.

 

He is currently working both in Britain & Germany and you can contact him at don@careful.co.uk or in Germany at ca104@fim.uni-erlangen.de, but he cannot fix anything until he gets back to the UK.

 

Chris Walshaw

<C.Walshaw@gre.ac.uk>

 

================================================================================

Subject: A program to play tunes in abc format.

 

I have been working on a program to play tunes (which are written in the abc format defined by Chris Walshaw's abc2tex package) on the built in speaker of a Sparc workstation. [10]

 

The program is available by ftp from celtic.stanford.edu in the file /pub/tunes/playabc-1.0.tar.Z

 

In case of difficulty, Chris Walshaw <C.Walshaw@gre.ac.uk> has kindly agreed to email the program to people.

 

An extract from the userguide is appended below.

 

Don Ward

 

...

PlayABC does not need ABC2MTeX to play tunes written in abc format but, to get the full benefit of seeing the dots on the stave as well as hearing them, you will need it as well as MusicTeX (which itself requires TeX).

 

The package consists of two programs playabc and tune. Playabc analyses the abc notation and issues a sequence of sound commands to tune, which converts the commands into the sound file format required by the audio device.  To play a tune (or series of tunes) in file mytunes, issue the command playabc < mytunes | tune | play... 

 

The playabc program is not dependent on the audio device and should be portable to a variety of machines.

 

All of the facilities described in ABC2MTeX version 1.1 are implemented with two exceptions described in the user guide.  This means that grace notes, rolls, staccato notes, accidentals, triplets, repeats, first and second time bars are all possible.  Extensions to the abc notation give control of tempo and allow the playing of several parts in harmony.

 

The program is intended to be used in a `proofhearing' mode, enabling errors in the tune to be quickly corrected.  The sound is adequate for this purpose, but falls short of the standard required for it to be mistaken for a musical instrument.

 

This was the first to facilitate translation directly from ABC to audible music. Many other more computer-savvy users praised the programs. Here is a July ’94 posting to IRTRAD-L from a student at University of Wisconsin at Madison (IRTRAD-L 1994):

 

Speaking as one of the guilty parties who prolonged the MusicTex and abc2mtex thread 2 months ago . . .

 

I'm still holding out hope that more of us IRTRADders will discover the abovementioned packages.  Why?  I see the whole point of these electronic versions of tunes as a way of sharing that is otherwise impossible.  Many of us in the U.S. and Canada are relatively isolated Irish musicians, and the Internet offers a cheap, instant, reliable way of tune-sharing. Sure, it's not like hearing a live musician play the tune, regardless of the musician's caliber, but even the big recording artists often cite O'Neill's as a source, for example.  Learning a tune I picked up as abc notation and printed out with MusicTeX is surely just as, if not more, time-efficient than finding tunes in books.

 

The bottom line is that I have saved time and learned more tunes thanks to my computer and IRTRAD than I would have just learning tunes at our sessions here. [11]

 

Walshaw, in order to give the two programs described above the parameters necessary to typeset, in the one case, and play in the other, developed first a standard way of writing out an ABC tune. At this point it might be handy to see an example of a tune as a complete ABC file. Here is the complete ABC ASCII file for the tune Killaloe Boat. Its size is less than 4 kilobytes. Explanations of the fields are paraphrased generally from Mansfield (2004).

 

X: 111681

T: Killaloe Boat

T: (Line for alternative title)

S: “Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music” [I/44/101]

L: 1/8

M: 6/8

R: jig

F: http://www.qmcorp.net/zouki/webabc/k/111681.abc 2005-04-22 18:53:57 UT

K: G

D | EAA EAA | BAB G2A | Bee Bee | dBA GED |

EAA EAA | BAB G2A | Bee dBA | BGG G2 :|

|: A/B/ | def gfg | dBA G2A | Bee Bee | dBA GED |

EAA EAA | BAB G2A | Bee dBA | BGG G2 :|

 

X: is the file number field. This is a required field, although the compiler can assign any number. Because the Tune finder “shops” specified Web sites for ABC files this number usually corresponds to the particular archivist’s particular filing system. Printing programs usually interpret X as “the beginning of the file.”

T: is the title field. If I put another T: and a title on the next line it would be printed in smaller text below the main title.

S: is the source field. Some dedicated compilers have transcribed whole tune collections into ABC. This will not print out on the sheet music.

L: is the length of the default note, in this case an eighth note. So G2 will print out as a quarter note on the G line of the staff as seen on the first and second lines below. A/B/ prints out as barred sixteenth notes.

M: is the meter field, in this case 6/8 Irish jig time. Notice above that notes are grouped in threes. The programs typeset these groups with joined beams. If each note were separated by a space, they would appear as individually flagged eighth notes.

R: is a non-printing field, used in sorting tunes by type.

F:  is the URL of the site on which the ABC file lives.

K: is the key of the tune, which also indicates the sharps and flats.

 

Right below the K: field the ABCs for the tune are set out. Notice how the vertical lines | separate the measures, and the |: and :| are used to indicate and generate repeat boundaries. Line breaks also translate to line breaks in the score. Users at this point pasted this file into abc2mtex or, in subsequent years, many other platform-specific programs. Below is the result of pasting the file above into the Macintosh program BarFly, written by Scotsman Phil Taylor. BarFly was first issued as shareware in 1997. Taylor is a traditional musician. Typical of the attitude of others described in this paper, he charged a minimal price for his software, and over three years contributed several updates which were free.

 

 

 

Many other elements have been incorporated into the ABC scheme, things such as bowing marks, slurs, accents, and tuplets. A person named Steve Allen, highly regarded in the ABC community, has succeeded in setting Beethoven’s Symphony #7, Movement 2, in ABC [12] .

The respondents to the survey Study (James 2005) have universally expressed the following uses for the Tune Finder: to research new tunes; find a tune they only have a name for, and possibly a fragment of; find a tune they heard someone play and recalled or wrote down the name of; and as an aid to memory or to check a version of a tune against those belonging to well known players.

Respondents to the survey state that they use other sites in addition to JC’s site for research. Alan Ng (2002) has done a remarkable combination of scholarship and cataloging on irishtune.info.  Among the many operations you can accomplish on his site he lists: “locate commercial recordings of a tune, given any one of its titles, locate transcriptions of a tune in a book, given any one of its titles, discover whether the tune you are listening to or looking at is known under other titles, find out whether multiple tunes recorded or printed under a given title are actually the same tune or not, identify unnamed tunes on a recording (Ng 2002). In addition to Ng, both Andrew Kunz (1995) and Gerard Manning (1993) have created “meta” sites with reams of information, gold mines for researcher/scholars.

Conclusions:

These is a strong desire among Irish traditional players to know the “who, what, where and why” of a tune they like. The older strong tradition bearers brought from their home localities bodies of tradition that are irreplaceable and often inaccessible except by direct personal contact. Dedicated musician/computer specialists are racing to preserve as much lore, music, song, as many recordings, transcriptions, references, photographs and ‘Net-reproducible artifacts as they can, to make them available to all who care.  This is a great democratizing movement, and while the preponderance of knowledge exists on the explicit side of the equation, the information in the hands of the practitioner can be used to enhance the player’s traditional performance skills.  These kinds of sites, directing the player/researcher to recordings of favored tunes, aid even in the “how to” aspects of the practice. With many recordings available, some even downloadable to programs such as iTunes, RealPlayer and Windows Media Player, the avid student or the isolated practitioner has many real resources with which to learn.

CyberJew, CyberIrish?

Martin Poster (1998) said of Jews that they were “the displaced people par excellence. Unlike nomads, whose relation to space is one of movement and change, Jews, until the establishment of Israel, precisely had no space. When Nora [13] wrote that Jews must remember to be Jews, as we saw above, he dissociated ethnicity from place in a manner that opened the possibility that remembering might occur through non-spatial mediations, such as the Internet... [T]he Internet, far from dissolving ethnicity, enables all Jews, wherever they are on the planet, to connect with one another. The Internet here is a neutral instrument of community, connecting preestablished ethnic identities. Numerous home pages established by Jews... and by other ethnic and religious groups, as well as the Roman Catholic Pope, testify to the powerful expectation that cyberspace provides a neutral arena of community solidarity, a place of stabilizing individual commitments to groups, of congealing ethnic identity in a gossamer, electronic medium (Poster 1998, 206, 207).” And further, “we would gradually invent techniques, systems of signs, social forms of organization and of regulation permitting us to think together, to concentrate our intellectual and mental power, to multiply our imaginations and our experiences, to work out practical solutions for the complex problems affronting us in real time and on all levels (Poser 1998, 207-208).” I could not have said this better myself. What works for “CyberJews” seems to be working for “CyberIrish” as well.

Acknowledgements

Thanks Dr. Mark Jones, Visiting Professor of Sociology at Indiana University South Bend, for a great semester of discussion. Thanks for the hours and inspiration to Ken Baierl, Tim Bock, Christian Lehman, Janis Martin, Laura Pimienta. Thanks Dr. Mike Keen for the support. Thanks Bill Reeder, Hammy Hamilton, Paul McGettrick, John Chambers, Chris Walshaw, Alan Ng, Bill Black, Henrik Norbeck, Gerard Manning, Chris Smith, Tom Munnelly, for keeping the tradition alive. Thanks John D. Niles for passages of beauty and lucidity. Thanks especially Kim Hoffmann and Ethan James.

 

 

 

------------------------------------------------------------------------


Bibliography

 

Abrahams, Roger D. 1993. After New Perspectives: Folklore Study in the Late Twentieth Century. In Western Folklore 52 (April 1993): 349-400

Baym, Nancy K.1995. The Emergence of Community in Computer-Mediated Communication. In Cybersociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, ed. Steven G. Jones, 138-163. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Castells, Manuel. 2001. The Internet Galaxy: Reflections on the Internet, Business, and Society. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Foy, Barry. 1999. Field Guide to the Irish Music Session. Boulder: Roberts Rinehart Publishers.

Jones, Steven G., ed. 1995. CyberSociety: Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc.

----. 1998a. Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

----. 1998b. Information, Internet, and Community: Notes Toward an Understanding of Community in the Information Age. In Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, ed. Steven G. Jones, 1-34. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Kling, Rob. 1996. Social Relationships in Electronic Forums: Hangouts, Salons, Workplaces, and Communities. In  Computerization and Controversy: Value conflicts and Social Choices, ed. Rob Kling, 427-454. New York: Academic Press.

Kolko, Beth and Elizabeth Reid. 1998. Dissolution and Fragmentation: Problems in On-Line Communities. In Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, ed. Steven G. Jones, 212-229. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Niles, John D. 1999. Homo Narrans: The Poetics and Anthropology of Oral Literature. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press.

Poster, Mark.1998. Virtual Ethnicity: Tribal Identity in an Age of Global Communication. In Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Communication and Community, ed. Steven G. Jones, 184-211. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc.

Read, Gardner. 1979. Music Notation: A Manual of Modern Practice. New York. Taplinger Publishing Company.

 

World Wide Web Resources

 

Brennan, Vincent. 2004. The Old Music Project. http://www.oldmusicproject.com/. (accessed April 28, 2005)

Chambers, John. 1998. JC’s ABC tune finder. http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/FindTune.html. (accessed April 17, 2005)

----. 2002. An ABC primer. http://trillian.mit.edu/~jc/music/abc/doc/ABCprimer.html (Orig. pub. 1999) (accessed April 17, 2005)

IRTRAD-L Archives. 1992. https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind9407&L=irtrad-l. (accessed April 20, 2005).

James, David. 2001. Tiompán Alley: David James’ Music Website! http://www.tiompanalley.com.

----. 2005. (Ongoing) Study of Listserv Group Irtrad_L and website JC’s Tune Finder. http://www.tiompanalley.com/index_files/survey.htm (see Appendix)

Kunz, Andrew. 1995. The Fiddler’s Companion. http://ibiblio.org/fiddlers/index.html (accessed April 25, 2005).

Laakso. Robin. 2005. TeX Users’ Group. Portland, Oregon. http://www.tug.org/ (accessed April 22, 2005).

Manning, Gerard. 1993. Ceolas: the home of Celtic music on the Internet. http://www.ceolas.org/ceolas.html (accessed April 17, 2005).

Mansfield, Steve. 2004. How to interpret abc music notation. http://www.lesession.co.uk/abc/abc_notation.htm (accessed May 1, 2005)

Ng, Alan. 2002. irishtune.info: Irish Traditional Music Tune Index. http://www.irishtune.info

Norbeck, Henrik. 2002. Henrik Norbeck’s ABC Tunes. http://www.norbeck.nu/abc/. (accessed April 22, 2005)

Walshaw, Chris. 1994a. Announcing abc2mtex v1.1. In Archives of IRTRAD-L@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE:Irish Traditional Music List  https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind9403&L=irtrad-l (accessed April 18, 2005).

----. 1994b. A program to play tunes in abc format. In Archives of IRTRAD-L@LISTSERV.HEANET.IE:Irish Traditional Music List  https://listserv.heanet.ie/cgi-bin/wa?A1=ind9403&L=irtrad-l (accessed April 18, 2005).

----. 2005. the abc musical notation language. http://www.gre.ac.uk/~c.walshaw/abc/

 

 


Appendix

 

David James’ IRTRAD_L AND JC's ABC TUNE FINDER SURVEY

 

First a few questions about YOU.

 

1. Your age:

 

Female       Male

 

2. Instrument(s) and skill level (self-described)

 

3. Where do you live?

 

4. Any Irish music where you live? Yes No

 

5. What's the Irish music "scene" like where you live? (Do you live in Ireland, or a town with a well-established Irish music community? Do you consider where you live an Irish music "wilderness?" Tell all! )

 

6. Where are your Irish traditional music people? Who do you learn from (or teach)? Are they near you? Far from you? Live presence? On line?

 

7. How often do you play (or study) Irish traditional music? Practice? Session? Perform? On line?

 

8. Do you use JC's ABC Tune Finder? Yes No

 

9. If so, how do you use JC's? (check any or all) a. Find new tunes b. Find a tune I only have a name for, and possibly a fragment c. Find a tune I heard someone play d. Aid to memory/check my version of a tune

 

10. If not, why not? Do you use any other tune sources?

 

11. If so, how did you find out about it? How long have you been using it? How often do you use it?

 

12. If so, how do you download tunes (as abc, txt, gif, png, midi, etc.) Do you have some "translator" program on your computer, like Barfly or abc2win? While we're at it, what do you think about pdf?

 

13. What do you think about the content of JC's Tune Finder?

 

14. Why do you participate in Irish traditional music?

 

15. How long have you been at it?

 

16. Why do you participate in IRTRAD_L?

 

 

 

17. How long have you been at it?

 

18. Do people on IRTRAD_L agree on things? What are their debates about?  What happens when a debate or thread goes on?

 

19. How do YOU use IRTRAD_L? (Learn tunes? Learn about tunes and players? History of Ireland and ITM? Learn about festivals, hook up with others? Find sessions and other players? Learn about old recordings, new CDs? Just for the craic?

 

20. What have YOU learned from IRTRAD_L?

 

21. Would you rather have conversations in person? Are there any advantages on the 'Net?

 

22. Are you interested in the history of Irish traditional music, players, etc? Why?

 

23. What sources do you use? In person? Who? Do you use IRTRAD_L for historical questions?

 

24. Has your involvement with Irish traditional music changed over time? How? Why?

 

25. Has your involvement with IRTRAD_L changed over time? How? Why?

 

Thank-you so very much for taking the time to fill out this survey. Results in the form of a paper will be posted to the list as soon as its done! Please mail to survey-djames@tiompanalley.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] Roche, Francis. 1927. The Roche Collection of Traditional Irish Music. Reprint, New York: Oak Publications, 1993.

[2] O’Neill, Francis. 1903. O’Neill’s Music of Ireland. Reprint, Pacific, MO, Mel Bay Publications, no year given. O’Neill published four other works on Irish traditional music. He was during the most active time of his collecting and publishing career the Chief of Police of the city of Chicago.

[3] Breathnach, Breandán. 1963. Ceol Rince na hÉireann. Baile Átha Cliath (Dublin): Oifig an tSoláthair (Office of Supply).

[4] This means “file transfer protocol,” and is a way of logging onto a computer on the Internet and putting or retrieving information. Many pre- World-Wide-Web search engines developed to assist this era of searching, becoming nouns and verbal nouns, like “archie,” “gopher,” treated the same way we use Google and, “to Google something.”

[5] Listserv: an automatic mailing list server developed by Eric Thomas for BITNET in 1986. When e-mail is addressed to a Listserv mailing list, it is automatically broadcast to everyone on the list. The result is similar to a newsgroup or forum, except that the messages are transmitted as e-mail and are therefore available only to individuals on the list.

Listserv is currently a commercial product marketed by L-Soft International. Although Listserv refers to a specific mailing list server, the term is sometimes used incorrectly to refer to any mailing list server. Another popular mailing list server is Majordomo, which is freeware.

Short for Because It's Time Network, BITNET is one of the oldest and largest wide-area networks, used extensively by universities. A new version of BITNET, called BITNET-II, relies on the Internet network to transfer messages and files (http://www.webopedia.com, accessed April 30, 2005).

[6] http://www.tiompanalley.com/index_files/survey.htm.

[7] Brunner, Jerome. 1996 The Culture of Education. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

[8] Tionól, Irish gaelic vn., “gathering;” as used here and on the list it refers to an Irish uilleann pipers’ convention which also might include practitioners of other instruments.

[9] Lasco (2005) cites Donald Knuth, Professor Emeritus at Stanford University as the author of TeX in the 1970’s, intending it to be freely available and functional on any computer system as a typesetting program, particularly to handle complex layout and printing of mathematics papers. Daniel Taupin (d.2003), another traditional musician, was a solid-state physics professor at Orsay University, south of Paris. He developed the “add-on” MusicTex for the TeX program.

[10] Sun Microsystems computer, significantly faster than the PCs of the day, marketed (poorly) beginning in 1989.

[11] The author of this posting subsequently developed a complex website, http://www.irishtune.info/ (Ng 2002), which meshes nicely with other Internet Irish music and tune sites.

[12]http://www.ucolick.org/~sla/abcmusic/sym7mov2.html. The ABC notation, as compared with the simple Irish tune, is unbelievable.

[13] Nora, P. 1989. Between memory and history: Les lieux de mémoire. Representations, 26, 7-25.

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