Passing It On represents a pioneering effort to document and interpret the role of education in shaping the quality of musical and cultural life in nineteenth- and twentieth-century Ireland. A nation's musical and cultural life is determined to a significant degree by the manner in which music is passed on to the next generation. That process connects generations by nurturing the dynamic interaction between musical heritage and musical innovation and is central in shaping a nation's cultural identity, spiritual wealth and even policy making. The nature of this interaction is examined here in a variety of contexts that range from traditional music education in community based settings, to the teaching of classical music in public and private schools and academies. Tracing the cultural and academic journey of traditional music from the remotest corners of Irish society to the mainstream of Irish musical culture is one of the significant accomplishments of this book.
Marie Frances McCarthy is Associate Professor, School of Music, University of Maryland. As a national study Passing It On will appeal to those interested in the history of Irish music, culture and education. In the broader context the study contributes to our understanding of how music's transmission is underpinned by the dominant ideologies, values and media of the time.