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Thesis 1

Thesis Title: The Use of Newspapers as a Source for Musicological Research: A Case Study of Dublin Musical Life 1840Ė44
Degree Type: PhD
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Prof. Barra Boydell
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: April 2011
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 1 (512pp.)
Approx. Word Count: 175,000
Thesis Location / Link: http://eprints.nuim.ie/2577/
Related Places: Dublin
Time Frame: 1840-1844
Key Issues / Concepts: Hibernian Catch Club, Anacreontic Society, Philharmonic Society, Antient Concerts Society, University Choral Society, University Church Music Society, Societa Armonica, Dublin Sacred Harmonic Society, Dublin Harmonic Society, Metropolitan Choral Society, Amateur Harmonic Society, Tradesmen's Harmonic Society, Dublin Concordant Society, Orpheus Society
Abstract: Due to a paucity of primary sources, research on music in nineteenth-century Ireland is largely dependent on newspapers as source material. However, to date, no comprehensive examination has been conducted into the musical identities of these newspapers, the bias which influenced their output, or the manner in which they could or should be utilized for musicological research. Newspapers are unique sources, providing thorough accounts of everyday life, published commercially for public consumption, necessarily lacking selectivity or perspective. Their value lies in the detailed, descriptive level of information which contemporary reporting facilitated, enabling research on subjects such as musicianís everyday activities, specific areas of musical life, the relationship between the press and musical institutions and the commerciality of music.

However, newspapers are written from a particular viewpoint and for a particular readership, and like any other biased sources, they must be used cautiously. This study establishes a triangulation approach to newspaper use for musicological purposes, comparing the output of three newspapers, the Freemanís Journal, the Evening Packet and the Saundersís News-Letter, to ascertain and navigate their individual biases. In combination with an examination of their fundamental identities (ideological, political, social and musical), and the context of the industry within which the newspapers functioned, an understanding of their outputs is distinguished, thereby enabling a cautious but valuable use of their content for the study of Dublinís musical life during the period.

The value of this approach is demonstrated in the case study of Dublin music societies, examining individually the newspapersí reports on the activities of those music societies active in Dublin at the time. The level and detail obtained from the newspapers significantly contributes to an understanding of the identities of these societies and their roles within wider musical life, in some cases considerably supplementing previous research on individual societies, and in others establishing the existence of societies previously unknown.

Furthermore, this study demonstrates the strength of the Saundersís News-Letter as a source for musicological research. Its commercial nature, focusing on advertisements, provides a quality and quantity of information unparalleled in the other newspapers, together with a moderate political stance and unique editorial style. However, this study also emphasises the value and importance of utilizing multiple newspapers for contrasting coverage and opinions.

A register of musical data on the music societies published from 1840Ė44 in the Freemanís Journal, the Evening Packet and the Saundersís News-Letter is also presented with this thesis, illustrating the depth and breadth of information available in newspapers for musicological research.

Thesis 2

Thesis Title: The music of three Dublin musical societies of the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries: The Anacreontic Society, The Antient Concerts Society and The Sons of Handel. A descriptive catalogue
Degree Type: MLitt
Degree Specialism: Musicology
Supervisor(s): Prof. Barra Boydell
Thesis Status: Accepted
Date Submitted / Accepted: 2005
Institution Submitting / Submitted To: NUI, Maynooth
No. of Volumes (no. of pages): 4
Thesis Location / Link: NUIM Library
Related Publications: 'The music collections of the Anacreontic Society and the Sons of Handel society and music making in Dublin c1740-1865' Brio - Journal of of the United Kingdom and Ireland Branch of the International Association of Music Libraries, Archives and Documentation Centres Vol.43, No.1 (Spring/Summer 2006), 21-34
Persons / Composers: Joseph Robinson
Related Institutions: Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin
Related Places: Dublin
Time Frame: 1740-1865
Abstract: The three societies, upon which this thesis focuses, are prime examples of the wealth of music performances in Dublin in the late eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Formed in 1740 and lasting until 1865, The Anacreontic Society was one of the more prominent amateur music societies in Dublin both prior to, and after the social and political upheaval of the Act of Union of 1801. The Sons of Handel society (1810-1824) is thought to have been the first choral society in Ireland dedicated to the performance of oratorios. Its antecedent, The Antient Concerts Society, was formed ten years after the former is said to have concluded its performances, and lasted until 1864. It was established for the performance of large scale choral works by both the Ďancient mastersí and contemporary composers.

Knowledge of these societies and of their repertoires has thus far been gleaned from newspaper advertisements and reviews of their concerts. However, these subjective sources do not provide a comprehensive account of the societies activities. The only extant unbiased primary sources are the music collections of The Anacreontic Society, The Sons of Handel and The Antient Concerts Society, which are housed in the Royal Irish Academy of Music, Dublin. These collections were previously uncollated and uncatalogued and were impractical for use as sources. The paucity of evidence on the societies, and on the public and private music scene as a whole, may be supplemented with the information provided in this work.

This thesis contains five catalogues: The Anacreontic Society Main Catalogue, The Anacreontic Society Bound Sets Catalogue, The Sons of Handel Catalogue, The Antient Concerts Society Main Catalogue and The Antient Concerts Society Bound Sets Catalogue. It provides a detailed description of every item in the three collections, including any markings by publishers, local suppliers, binders, the societies themselves, copyists and performers. It also provides a photographic index to accompany the catalogue, illustrating all of the aforementioned markings.

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Current Institution Affiliation: Dublin Institute of Technology
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