This Scholarcast is an extract from Helen Lawlor’s book, Irish Harping: 1900-2010 (Four Courts Press, 2012). This study provides a musical ethnography and a history of the Irish harp. It gives a socio-cultural and musical analysis of the music and song associated with all Irish harp styles, including traditional style, song to harp accompaniment, art-music style and the early Irish harp revival. At the beginning of the 20th century, the Irish harp had a limited presence in Ireland, but over the course of that century the harp experienced a significant revival with the subsequent emergence of numerous styles. Issues of transmission, gender studies and identity are also examined in this book. The Irish harp is now firmly located in the musical life of Ireland, in art music, traditional music and early music. Its present state is conditioned by its history in the 20th century. This book presents and analyses both of these perspectives in relation to the Irish harping tradition.
Dr Helen Lawlor is a musician and academic, specialising in Irish harping. She lectures ethnomusicology, music education and Irish music at Dundalk Institute of Technology. Helen holds a PhD from UCD, an MA in Musicology (UCD) and a Bachelor in Music Education (TCD). She is contributor to and co-editor with Sandra Joyce of Harp Studies, Perspectives on the Irish Harp (Four Courts Press, 2016). In 2012 Helen published her research on the harp tradition in a monograph entitled Irish Harping 1900-2010 (Four Courts Press). She has also contributed articles to the Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland, The Companion to Irish Traditional Music, Ancestral Imprints and Sonus. She has given guest lectures at Harvard University, the New England Conservatory, the American Irish Historical Society, the Royal Scottish Conservatoire.