‘The Forgotten Voice’ The Richard Henebry (1863-1916) Collection of Irish Music

MacAuliffe, Christopher and Moloney, Colette (2012) ‘The Forgotten Voice’ The Richard Henebry (1863-1916) Collection of Irish Music. Masters thesis, Waterford Institute of Technology.

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Richard Henebry (1863-1916) was ordained to the priesthood at All Hallows College, Dublin in 1892, but subsequently established a linguistic career for himself centred on the study of the Gaelic language. In 1898 he was appointed Associate Professor of Celtic Studies at the Catholic University of America, Washington DC, where he remained for two years, and in 1909 he was appointed Professor of Irish Language and Literature at University College Cork. Henebry was also a traditional fiddler and made field recordings and transcriptions of Irish music. Indeed, he was one of the first Irish music collectors in Ireland to recognise the potential of the Edison phonograph for the documentation of Irish music. Henebry’s wax cylinder collection of Irish music was one of the first of such aural collections made in Ireland. This thesis will give biographical details on Richard Henebry, explore his theories and analyses of Irish music, and provide a catalogue of the extant Henebry wax cylinder collection. Chapter 1 offers biographical detail on Richard Henebry and chronicles the three main periods in his life: his birth and education; his sojourn in America; and his return to Ireland. Chapter 2 discusses how an antiquarian and political connection with Irish music can be traced through the lineage of antiquarians, and how the antiquarian and political influences may have shaped Henebry as a music collector and analyst. In Chapter 3 Henebry’s analytical approach to Irish music in his publications is examined in detail. The first publication, ‘Gaelic Melody Schemes in Word and Sound’ (published lecture notes 1900), was a somewhat tentative and confused exploration of the structure of Irish music. His second, Irish Music (1903), is a more detailed document describing unique scales and modes in Irish music, and the third, A Handbook of Irish Music (1928), was Henebry’s most definitive, and utilises a scientific, tonometric analysis of music on phonograph recordings to verify his conclusions. Henebry’s wax cylinder recordings are catalogued and discussed in Chapter 4. His wax cylinder collection is preserved in three different locations: University College Cork; University College Dublin; and the Berliner Phonogram-Archiv, with copies in the Irish Traditional Music Archive. Detailed descriptions of the collection in each location and biographies of Henebry’s sources are given in the chapter. Henebry’s music transcriptions have also been catalogued and copies of which are included at the end of the thesis in Appendices A, B, and C.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Additional Information: This was for the final master project This is a placeholder note
Departments or Groups:
Depositing User: Derek Langford
Date Deposited: 05 Oct 2012 11:15
Last Modified: 03 Feb 2023 00:06
URI: https://repository.wit.ie/id/eprint/1755

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