Parfitt, Richard. “Great men and straight men?”. In Musical culture and the spirit of Irish nationalism, 1848–1972. 59-79. Routledge, 2019.

Thursday 18 May 2023

In this chapter, Richard Parfitt examines the use of music by different nationalist factions in Ireland during a period of intense revolutionary activity and civil unrest between 1913 and 1921. He analyses music’s power to inspire nationalist activities, challenging popular discourse as well as cultural memory on the subject. In evaluating music’s use as a tool in political propaganda, he comments on the power of participatory musical experiences in strengthening the sense of group identity of those involved in nationalist activities. Participatory musical experiences continue to function as an important part of social life in modern Ireland, and many of the songs and melodies which came into being during this period still have a place in the modern repertoire, most notably the adaption of the ‘Soldier’s Song’ as the national anthem of Ireland. Understanding the origns of this music provides important cultural and political background for these melodies, contextualizing them as a type of ‘conflict hangover’, or manifestation of revolutionary and early post-colonial ideals in the modern day.  

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