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Thesis 1

THESIS DETAILS
Thesis Title: The concertina style of Paddy Murphy (1913 -1992) and his influence on contemporary concertina styles
Degree Type: Other
Degree Specialism: Performance
Supervisor(s): Dr Barbaria Dignam
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: September 2012
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: Dublin Institute of Technology
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1(82pp.)
Thesis Location / Link: DIT Conservatory of Music & Drama Library
THESIS CONTENT
Abstract: As a concertina player, the writer had often heard tell of Paddy Murphy and began preliminarily researching his music discovering that much of his style was developed in relative isolation, making him something of an iconic figure in the world of traditional concertina playing. Therefore, the author wished to investigate the claims that Murphy had influenced other concertina players by analyzing Murphy’s style and how his specific stylistic features influenced the styles of Kieran Burns, Gearoid O hAllmhurain, Noel Hill and Niall Vallely. To investigate the specific elements of each style in relation to Murphy’s, musical examples were transcribed aurally and examined using five main stylistic parameters which are: 1) repertoire; 2) articulation and phrasing; 3) tempo; 4) use of variation in a melodic and rhythmic sense; and, 5) ornamentation. Additionally, interviews were conducted with specific musicians and with Murphy’s daughter, Breeda Greene. This allowed the author to gain a comprehensive picture of his life and music, as well as how his style impacted upon the concertina players discussed in the literature by O hAllmhurain, Worrall and Vallelu. While this literature provides some evidence about Murphy’s style and his influences, it does not provide thorough musical analysis. The author provides a more in-depth examination of Murphy’s influence on the styles of Kieran Burns, Noel Hill, and Niall Vallely by differentiating between their respective styles and highlighting how Murphy influenced each of them. The most definite finding is that the concertina styles of Kieran Burns and O hAllmhurain portray a much greater number of Murphy’s stylistic features than either Noel Hill or Niall Vallely. Research concludes that Niall Vallely and Noel Hill’s styles bear little similarity to Murphy’s. Therefore, it appears that the literature over-emphasizes Murphy’s impact on these concertina players, and that, while each musician has a unique style of their own, Kieran Burns’ style is the closest representation of that pioneered by Murphy.

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