Paradigms in the compositional practice of Irish singer-songwriters
Toomey, D. M. (2016). Paradigms in the compositional practice of Irish singer-songwriters. In The 9th International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology (SysMus16), Jyväskylän yliopisto, June 8-10 2016 : programme, abstracts & proceedings. Department of Music, University of Jyväskylä & Finnish Centre for Interdisciplinary Music Research. Retrieved from http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-951-39-6708-6
© Toomey & International Conference of Students of Systematic Musicology, 2016
The singer-songwriter has emerged as a significant figure in contemporary Irish culture. Ireland’s monumental history in musical practice has cultivated some of the most internationally respected singersongwriters of recent decades. While much research has been devoted to the songs of Irish artists at large, little attention has been allocated to demystifying their songwriting praxis. The present work critically examines the relationship between the Irish singer-songwriter and wider mediated discourses surrounding their artistry. Independent of genre it interrogates the compositional practices of performing songwriters by way of phenomenological study. Specifically, the lived experience of Irish singersongwriters is explored and evaluated through in-depth interviews, and consideration of artefacts including song texts and recordings. Tracing the most important sources of their creativity it is evident that while some practitioners are largely influenced by indigenous Irish folk music many are predisposed to multicultural traditions. Whilst experiences are unique to individual singer-songwriters many share similar complexities in attempting to migrate from conventional praxis. It is evident that limitations frequently provide artistic definition, thereby safeguarding the practitioner’s aesthetic. Accession of an individual voice presents an interesting conundrum for a twenty first century singer-songwriter as the emphasis of a traditional culture is by nature, not individually focused. It is concluded that while a grounded musical tradition may certainly be viewed as a privilege, much of the Irish singer-songwriter’s labour involves conscious effort in re-encoding their work. ...