First published in 1855, George Petrie's The Petrie Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland is widely regarded as one of the most important nineteenth-century collections of traditional Irish music. It contains nearly two hundred melodies collected by Petrie as well as song texts in Irish and English and detailed notes by Petrie about their sources. The collection, which was originally published under the auspices of the Society for the Preservation and Publication of the Melodies of Ireland, has been out of print for many years and the few remaining copies are now extremely rare collector's items.
This new edition contains all of Petrie's original text, the melodies and his introduction. The text is prefaced with an illuminating biographical essay, which positions the collection in the context of Petrie's life and work, and within the broader field of Irish traditional music. The piano accompaniments written by Petrie's daughter, which were included in the original collection have been removed; instead melodies have been restored by reference to Stanford's The Complete Collection of the Ancient Music of Ireland as Noted by George Petrie (1789-1866) and the original manuscripts held in the National Library of Ireland, back to the form in which Petrie originally notated them. Cooper's new edition also contains a completely reset version of the text in which the Irish spelling has been modernised and a standard font adopted. The new edition of this book will form an invaluable addition to the bookshelves of both students and performers of Irish traditional music.
David Cooper is Professor of Music and Technology in the School of Music, and Dean of the Faculty of Performance, Visual Arts and Communications, University of Leeds.