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The primary aim of Outreach Ethnomusicology is to share fieldwork research. Below is a list of items that are included for view by members of the community. 

Some of these articles are official documents of research which have been submitted to university departments, so they are set "not viewable" by the public, only registered members of outreach can view them. But, we welcome all sorts of articles within the interests of ethnomusicology, so please get in touch on if you think you would like to contribute.

When we receive documents, we usually will have a full read through, and then reply with a formatted version for the internet, ready to publish. How much exposure or access you want for your work will depend on your own needs, and we will publish or unpublish anything upon request. 

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Research Methods in Ethnomusicology


1. Introduction/Subject of the Fieldwork
2. Field notes
3. Musical Transcription
4. Recording and Transcription of the interview
5. Compilation and editing of a video
6. Compilation and Editing of an audio
7. Biography of Tomas O Canainn

Introduction/The subject of the Fieldwork

While trying to find the subject of my fieldwork, I found myself thinking more towards the accompaniment of the Irish songs; in the English and the Irish language. Part of my fieldwork is connected with the elective composition class I have chosen, as there I deal with the accompaniment of some Irish songs, but only in the English language. My fieldwork also relates to my performance dissertation, as I’m going to accompany Irish songs while singing, in the Irish language this time.

Field Notes

The first person I thought of first to interview was my friend from Cork, Tomas O Canainn; a very famous uilleann pipe player in Ireland. He is a singer except for being a piper and he knows very well how to accompany himself while singing. On the 13th of October, 2006 I sent him an email explaining to him about the whole interview procedure. I had called him as well before the classes were started and we agreed that we would meet before Christmas. That was a perfect opportunity to see him and have fun- because he has perfect sense of humor although being “a little” old- and interview him as well.

He accepted me in his house finally on the 27th of October and that with great joy. He rearranged things that they had to do with his wife, Ellen at their house so that he could meet me; he always calls me : Labrini, a chara, which means Labrini, my friend. I know him since 1996 where I performed with him at a Ceili night which was organized by the Greek- Irish Society where I’m a member since then. Tomas was waiting for me at the Cork train station and he drove me with his car at UCC where we bought me a lunch and had fun. After that we attended a Jazz Concert happening at the University, being part of the Jazz Festival in Cork. After the concert was finished, we went to the Language Center, at the Chinese language section- Tomas is learning Chinese now. He speaks Greek, Japanese, except for the fact that he is a fluent speaker in Gaelic- he signed the form and the interview started!

Musical Transcription

The musical transcription is an excerpt from the interview. I asked from Tomas to sing the lament of the Three Marys ( Caoineadh na dTri Muire), as he had sung it with me in our first concert in Athens. Of course he could not accompany himself while singing the song, this time. He only sang 2 verses of the song. He tried to sing the 3rd, but he forgot the words and he said that it was better to leave it. Then he sang one verse in Spanish; he has translated the song in this language, being a fluent speaker.

I encountered couple of problems while doing the transcription. The first one was the problem with the lyrics. The lyrics that Tomas sang are not exactly the same like the ones that are commonly used in the song. He did some variations of his own. So, I had a friend of mine helping me with this different version. She is a fluent and native speaker; therefore she didn’t have any problem helping me. While typing the lyrics, I found a difficulty using the accents in the Gaelic words, so I had to type them and then add the accents with a pen.

The second problem I had, it was while trying to use the Sibelius program on my lap top to make a score of the transcription. The song is free flowing, therefore I could not use a time signature. While somebody makes a new score in the Sibelius, it is compulsory- according to the program- to have a time signature. So, there was no way that I could make that score in the Sibelius; I decided to use a manuscript book. I wrote the melody to the staves and then I wrote the lyrics underneath. I had to circle the keys that Tomas was sustaining his voice and also use a sign like a spiral above the keys that he was ornamenting.

Recording and Transcription of the Interview

The recording of the interview took place at UCC – University College Cork, Ireland at the Language Center/ Chinese Department . We went to the office of his Chinese tutor, so that it would be more quiet. I could see that he was a bit nervous. We did not have enough time and were also interrupted 2 times from his professor. He spoke and sang in Gaelic many times and I had problem transcribing this in the interview.

Unfortunately we couldn’t meet again after the interview so I could not ask him to clarify for me the Gaelic words he said. So, I had to leave blank in between the words while typing the interview. I haven’t transcribed the whole thing. The questions I did to him weren’t in chronological order, but only related to my fieldwork.

Compilation and editing of a video

This video was shot at the Language Center, UCC during a lecture of Tomas in July. Tomas had been invited to this lecture to speak about Irish music to foreign students who had visited UCC to learn the English language. He asked me to join him in the lecture, as I had been in Cork to visit him and his wife Elen. During the time of the video he was accompanying himself while playing the pipes. I really liked it so I thought of taking a video of him. I must tell, I didn’t know that later I would use this video as part of my fieldwork. Tomas didn’t want to be video recorded while I was taking the interview; He felt very uncomfortable. The video was taken with a Sony Cybershot camera, so the sound wasn’t so good, like a normal camera. It’s not big enough, but only few seconds. Unfortunately, in this Video, nobody can see the friendship between me and Tomas, as he doesn’t address to me, but to the students. Another problem is that we can’t see or hear the audience. I tried to elaborate on this video and make it more beautiful. I used titles and effects using the Windows Movie Maker. I also put a picture of Tomas from the same lecture, at the end of the video. As an introductory music and music at the end, I put the piece “ Midnight Walker” by Davy Spillane. In this piece we can hear the uilleann pipe playing and even better in the same key, as the one that Tomas is performing.

Compilation and Editing of an audio recording

I took 2 excerpts from the interview; 2 songs. One of them, being the Lament of the 3 Marys I transcribed. The other song is again in the Gaelic language and Tomas really wanted to sing that, but I don’t know the title. The problem is that these 2 songs are very small in duration. I had to take them from the interview and make 2 new tracks in the Cubase program; a program for studio recording and editing. When I imported them, I used some effects to the voice of Tomas, such as reverb to make the sound better.

Biography of Tomas O Canainn

Tomas O Canainn, a native from Derry, N.Ireland is an uilleann piper and singer who was a founder member of the traditional music group NA FILN with which he traveled widely in Europe and America. He continues touring and has recently visited Canada, Japan, England, Spain and Greece. Tomas who succeeded Sean O Riada in the music Department of University College Cork, is a much- traveled lecturer. He was also Dean of Engineering in UCC. He has published a number of books and 2 cds with piping and singing. He has also composed music for choirs and he has made arrangements of Irish music.

Other compositions are some orchestral pieces for string and full orchestra, along with 3 masses in the Irish language.

He lives in Glanmire, Co. Cork at the moment with his wife Elen. Tomas and his friends have a session , every Tuesday evening at “O’ Connell’s of Glanmire” pub.

1. accessed 11/12/06

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