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James Goodman Collection of Irish Music

In these circumstances we must be especially thankful for the work of Canon James Goodman (1828-1896), Professor of Irish at Trinity College Dublin. In his youth Goodman, a native Irish speaker and uilleann piper, collected tunes directly from local musicians performing in Cork and Kerry. In the 1860s he transcribed them into a set of four notebooks which came to the Library of Trinity College Dublin after his death. Two volumes containing the words for some of the tunes, long thought lost, were rediscovered by Goodman's descendants a century later and reunited with the collection.

Present-day traditional musicians are fascinated by this seminal collection and so the Library has collaborated with the Irish Traditional Music Archive (ITMA) on several projects to make it more easily accessible to a worldwide audience. Many of the tunes were published by ITMA in the two-volume Tunes of the Munster pipers (1998; 2013) and as interactive online scores. Goodman's notebooks have been digitised and uploaded to the Library's Digital Collections and are also available through a dedicated website. By facilitating performances and recordings, these resources ensure that Goodman's efforts to 'preserve the music of my native province' are actively fulfilled.

Shelfmark: TCD MSS 3194 and 11320

Roy Stanley

Roy Stanley has been Music Librarian since 1990, and has responsibility for both modern and legacy music collections. He is particularly keen to promote the Library's unique and historic music holdings for study, research and performance.