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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: Cultural Constructs of National Identity in Irish Saga-Inspired Musical Composition
Degree Type: PhD
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Dr. Hazel Farrell
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: October 2014
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Waterford Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 2 (Vol.1 249pp., Vol. 2 audio files)
Approx. Word Count: c. 59,000
Thesis Location / Link: http://repository.wit.ie/2897/ (main body); http://repository.wit.ie/2898/ (audio files).
Persons / Composers: Thomas Kinsella, James Wilson, Aloys Fleischmann, Seamus Heaney, Frank Corcoran
Genres / Musical Instruments: Saga-inspired musical composition dating from the 1970s
Related Places: Ireland (Dublin and Cork)
Time Frame: 1970-2001
Key Issues / Concepts: Through an hermeneutic lens, the interdisciplinary approach enabled the exploration of whether the attitudinal responses of three composers, to early Irish saga-literature, reflect the nature and creativity of several ideologies that prevailed in Irish society at the turn of the twenty-first century. The research aim is to determine composer motivation, contemporary audience resonance & to investigate whether cultural influences affected selected Irish saga-inspired compositions
Abstract: The performance of saga-inspired works, composed within the last fifty years, has given life to a number of the best-known tales from the ancient manuscripts. This thesis undertakes an examination of selected compositions derived from two specific sagas from early Irish literature — the Táin and Buile Suibhne. One way for composers to forge an Irish identity is through the fusion of an aggregate of components from the European canon with ancient Irish sagas, thus affirming the universality of Irish culture. The timelessness and social impact of the local and universal themes of early Irish sagas, centuries after they were documented, resonate in our daily lives. How the composers chose to embrace the Irish past is reflected in their attitudinal responses to the sagas. The linking of traditions provides a path for the composer to either succumb to global homogeneity or particularisation, or to embrace pluralism, which serves to enrich Irish culture.

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