Thursday, 4 October 2012

Music of Clare Online Archive at Clare County Library

English: Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland
English: Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The Clare County Library has launched the Music of Clare project, on the library’s website at  http://music.clarelibrary.ie/  A large selection of tunes associated with the county is available in sheet music form, with associated recordings from Clare musicians such as Willie Clancy, Terry Bingham, Micho Russell, Mary Custy and many more. The aim of the project is to present a sample of the musical culture of the county of Clare.   “The library service in Clare offers a wide range of music for lending throughout the county, and we have had a very strong traditional music collection in Miltown Malbay for many years”, says Clare County Librarian Helen Walsh. “This new online project will allow immediate access to all those interested in the music of County Clare, and will greatly enhance the existing historical and cultural resources on the library website itself”, she adds.



This first stage of the project concentrates on the traditional music of the county. “We want you to be able to listen to traditional tunes associated with County Clare, played by musicians who are from the county or who have lived in it for many years”, says the initiator and manager of the project, Senior Executive Librarian Anthony Edwards. Although it is not intended to be definitive or comprehensive, the project does hope to represent the best of a rich tradition.  “We have also included transcriptions of the featured tunes, to help anyone who wishes to learn the basic notes of a tune so as to be able to play it. Links to alternative transcriptions are also provided”, he added. The project also includes a Music Videos feature, a collection of embedded online videos of Clare musicians from YouTube. Historical and biographical articles place the music of Clare in context and provide background and further resources for study and enjoyment. The Traditional Music of Clare Jukebox gathers together all of the tracks featured in the Music of Clare project so that they can be listened to easily and in sequence. The Music of Clare project is based on the same software system that the library has used to publish Foto, its online collection of photographs, so many of the project’s features will be familiar to users of Foto. For example, clicking on a keyword link will bring up all other instances of that keyword in the collection, whether that keyword be the name of a tune, the name of an artist, a type of tune, or a specific instrument. The Quick Search and Advanced Search features enable searching of the collection by artist, name and type of tune, and instrument.

The project would not have been possible without the financial support of the Clare County Arts Office which, with Arts Council funding, sponsored an initial researcher, Paddi O’Connell, for a number of months, and funded the transcription of some of the tunes by Geraldine Cotter.  “The County Arts Office is committed to promoting the wealth of traditional music in Clare and we were delighted to work with Clare Library Service on such an exciting and important project,” said Siobhán Mulcahy, County Arts Officer.

The Music of Clare Project team consisted of Executive Librarian Maureen Comber, Library Staff Officer Jackie Dermody and project manager Anthony Edwards. The project team is very grateful to Geraldine Cotter for providing contact details of many of the featured musicians and for answering many of their queries. Their thanks also go to Mary Custy for her transcriptions of tunes, to Vince Brennan for the sheetmusic from O’Neill’s ‘Music of Ireland’ and Allan’s ‘Irish Fiddler’ on his Old Music Project and to Jeremy Keith for sheetmusic on The Session Website. They’d also like to acknowledge the help of Aisling McMahon, and give special thanks to Michael Kelleher of Ennistymon for his wonderful list of tunes which are commonly played in Clare and which acted as the foundation of this project. Maureen Comber adds that “we have been astounded at the generosity and support we have received from musicians, record companies and authors featured in the project. All those we have been able to contact have responded with enthusiasm and goodwill. To those few we have not been able to contact, despite our best efforts, we give our assurance that we do not take their participation for granted and welcome any response to mailbox@clarelibrary.ie.” The Music of Clare project was officially launched on Friday, September 21st in Glór, Ennis, as part of Culture Night 2012. See the project online now at www.clarelibrary.ie.

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