Review: Ancient Irish Airs and Dances

Ancient Irish Airs and Dances by George Petrie (rpt. Dover Publications 2002)


One of the most important collections of traditional Irish tunes was George Petrie's Ancient Music of Ireland, put together in mid-19th century. Petrie's work went through various editions and abridgements, including one giving 201 tunes from Petrie's original book in score arrangements for piano, without lyrics, published in 1877 by F.Hoffman, of which this Dover edition is a reprint. The printing quality is good. It should be noted that this book is probably not of major interest to the folk song fan or performer interested in these songs as songs; it seems to be aimed at the Victorian home "parlor piano" market. Nevertheless, it does include the tunes for a great number of authentic Irish airs, many of them unavailable elsewhere, and if you are seriously interested in traditional Irish music and can play keyboard, you will find this book worth having.

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