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Acknowledging the source


“For your pleasure, you are asked only for acknowledgement
For your profession, you need to consider ownership and copyright, licence and royalty”

Traditional music is a generous tradition! It is free and accessible to all players, from all generations, with all instruments, and for all occasions. All that is expected is ACKNOWLEDGEMENT.


If you are gifted a present, it would be bad form not to be grateful! With traditional Irish music, you are always expected to acknowledge the composer, the arranger and the source or person from whom you learned the tune. No self-respecting musician would omit to acknowledge the source of their music – and just to shrug off the source with a ‘Here’s a tune I have with no title’… is unacceptable and a cop-out. If a tune was not given a title by the composer, it will be ‘Paddy Fahey’s No.1 Jig’ or ‘Bill Harte’s’… the source has become the title. Some titles are just forgotten or the player can’t remember it. This happens! But, wouldn’t it be hurtful if a tune was performed and the composer in the audience, and it not acknowledged? This too has happened…. But, shouldn’t. If you acquire a tune from someone, ensure they give you all the info they can on it. Here are some typical acknowledgements:


“And, here’s a tune I learned from Kathleen Nesbitt, a great fiddler and teacher from Loughmore, Co.Tipperary”


“The harper Carolan left us a treasury of tunes from the 18th century. Here is one I learned from Edward Bunting’s book, ‘The Ancient Music of Ireland’ published in piano arrangement in the 1790s...”


“I love Michael Rooney’s tune “Land’s End” which he published on his CD of the same title…”


“Janet Harbison’s ‘Walk in Belfast’ has been performed widely and here is her own version from the recording with the Irish Harp Orchestra….”