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Colm Tóibín speaking at the US Launch of EMIR, 24 February 2015
Harry White speaking at the US Launch of EMIR, 24 February 2015
Barra Boydell speaking at the US Launch of EMIR, 24 February 2015
Harry White on Today with Sean O'Rourke, 7 October 2013
Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland: RTE Six One: 3 July 2013
Barra Boydell on Talking History, 13 October 2013
Sunday with Gay Byrne (from 1 hour 30 minutes) 17 November 2013
Barra Boydell and Harry White talk to Alan Corr
on RTÉ Ten, 10 October 2013

Barra Boydell on RTÉ Arena (from 27 minutes), 14 October 2013
Barra Boydell on Bowman, 11 May 2014
Harry White on Culture File, November 2013

The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland

Professor Harry White (general editor)
Barra Boydell (general editor)
Publication date:
30th September 2013

Author Biography

Harry White is Professor of Music at UCD and a Fellow of the Royal Irish Academy of Music. In 2003-6 he was inaugural President of the Society for Musicology in Ireland. He has been general editor (with Gerard Gillen) of Irish Musical Studies since 1990 and is perhaps best known as a cultural historian of music in Ireland, on which subject he has published three monographs: The Keeper's Recital: Music and Cultural History in Ireland, 1770-1970 (1998); The Progress of Music in Ireland (2005) and Music and the Irish Literary Imagination (2008). He was elected to the Royal Irish Academy in 2006. Barra Boydell was Professor in the Department of Music at NUI Maynooth until his retirement in 2010. He was a founding member of the Society for Musicology in Ireland (SMI) and served as its first Honorary Secretary. He was elected to honorary life membership of the SMI in 2011. Widely known for his work in organology and musical iconography, he has an international reputation as an historian of music in Ireland in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. His many publications in this area include Music at Christ Church before 1800: Documents and Selected Anthems (1999), A History of Music at Christ Church Cathedral Dublin (2004) and Music, Ireland and the Seventeenth Century (2009), edited with Kerry Houston.


The Encyclopaedia of Music in Ireland (EMIR) is the first comprehensive attempt to chart Irish musical life across recorded history. It also documents Ireland's musical relations with the world at large, notably in Britain, continental Europe and North America, and it seeks to identify the agencies through which music has become an enduring expression of Irish political, social, religious and cultural life. In these respects, EMIR is the collective work of 240 contributors whose research has been marshalled by an editorial and advisory board of specialists in the following domains of Irish musical experience: secular and religious music to 1600; art music, 1600-2010; Roman catholic church music; Protestant church music; popular music; traditional music; organology and iconography; historical musicology; ethnomusicology; the history of recorded sound; music and media; music printing and publishing; and, music in Ireland as trade, industry and profession. EMIR contains some 2,000 individual entries which collectively afford an unprecedented survey of the fabric of music in Ireland.It records and evaluates the work of hundreds of individual musicians, performers, composers, teachers, collectors, scholars, ensembles, societies and institutions throughout Irish musical history, and it comprehends the relationship between music and its political, artistic, religious, educational and social contexts in Ireland from the early middle ages to the present day. In its extensive catalogues, discographies and source materials, EMIR sets in order, often for the first time, the legacy and worklists of performers and composers active in Ireland (or of Irish extraction), notably (but not exclusively) in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. It offers to the general reader a regiment of 'brief lives' of Irish musicians throughout history, and it affords the specialist a detailed retrieval of information on music in Ireland hitherto unavailable or difficult to access. Above all, it is (proverbially) encyclopaedic in its address on the plurality and diversity of Irish musical experience. To this end, EMIR represents the single largest research project on music in Ireland to have been undertaken to date.