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Music, Emotion and Identity in Ulster Marching Bands

Flutes, Drums and Loyal Sons

Gordon Ramsey

Ulster’s marching bands form perhaps the most vibrant participatory folk music tradition in contemporary Europe, and are one of the most significant and visible elements of working-class loyalist culture in the divided society of Northern Ireland. Their significance springs largely from the central place they have assumed in the lives of their members.
This book presents an ethnography of three County Antrim flute bands from the very different genres of ‘part-music’, ‘melody’ and ‘blood and thunder’. The author explores the emotional rewards of communal music-making and the way that identities are formed through the acquisition of tastes, competences and skills within specific communal contexts, paying particular attention to the impact of class position. These issues are examined in the context of the competitions, concerts and street parades that are central to the social lives of thousands of band members and supporters in Northern Ireland.

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Appendix B - Band Repertoires - 263

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Appendix B Band Repertoires The purpose of this appendix is to provide an understanding of the types of music being played by each of the three bands studied. It does not seek to provide detailed analysis of the history or structure of individual tunes. Repertoires are constantly changing, so I include all the tunes that were played during the time I have spent with each band. Probably about 70 per cent of these repertoires is being played at any one time. I will set out the repertoires of each of the three bands in turn, with tunes categorised first as the band classifies them, and then in a simple musicological classification. I will conclude with some comments on what the statistics reveal. Bands often play tunes in sets of two or three, treating them as one piece. In setting out the bands’ classificatory systems, I will adhere to this convention. Since the tunes in a set may not fit into the same musicological category, however, I will treat each tune individually in the musicological classifications. The following types of music will be identified: Art, Popular, Military, Sacred and Traditional. This scheme is clearly somewhat arbitrary, and many tunes could fit more than one category. When in doubt, I have tried to use the way the bands think about the tune as a guide. For instance, I have classified the themes from love films as ‘popular’, and the themes from war films as ‘military’, since the latter are usually styled on...

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