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Sixty Irish Songs for High Voice.

This volume is an unabridged reprint of the original volume published in The Musicians Library Series by Oliver Ditson Company, Boston, in 1915. The tunes are traditional Irish, and the texts are by modern Irish poets. While preparing the original edition, the editor collected hundreds of Irish traditional tunes and about 2,000 modern Irish poems with lyric potential. To create each song in the collection, a traditional melody was carefully selected for each poem chosen in the final draft. Then, the editor composed accompaniments that would not overwhelm the melodies, but on the other hand, would be artistically satisfying.

The procedure of combining new poems with old traditional tunes is not unique to this volume. It is a common practice in the folk music of the British Isles; whereas, in the United States, folk songs tend to retain the traditional words with which they have become associated. In fact, in this volume some of the melodies were actually instrumental in origin.

In the preface to the original edition of 1915, the editor dairies that the poems come largely from the Celtic Revival period (late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries). Indeed, Irish poets only began to use English commonly as their language in the late eighteenth century. The songs of this volume, therefore, combine elements of traditional Irish culture, but with an English bent.

The reprint volume is printed on bright white paper, and the printed music is clear and dark, so the music is easier to read than many reprint editions. The majority of the tunes have a range of one octave plus an extension of a third or a fourth. While the volume is labeled for "high voice," most of the vocal parts lie on the staff with only occasional melodic excursions to F5 and beyond. This is helpful for making the sung words intelligible to a potential audience and certainly brings all the songs in the volume into the repertoire of advanced beginning students. The songs all are strophic, but the accompaniments, which are of medium difficulty, provide a varied strophic texture.

The attractiveness of the tunes and the texts make this collection a nice fit for any singer and pianist ready for some fun with songs that communicate directly to the heart. Reviewed by Margaret Kennedy-Dygas, Holland, Michigan.
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Title Annotation:Voice
Author:Kennedy-Dygas, Margaret
Publication:American Music Teacher
Date:Dec 1, 2003
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