The Séamus Connolly Collection of Irish Music reflects more than 14 years of collecting and organizing by master fiddle player Séamus Connolly, who began his tenure at Boston College in 1990 and was Sullivan Artist in Residence in Irish Music from 2004 to 2015. The collection links three generations of musicians and pays tribute to those in previous generations who kept the tradition alive. More than 130 contemporary musicians participated in this project by recording tracks.
Originally conceived as a set of ten CDs and accompanying book, a collaboration with the Boston College Libraries led to the creation of this digital collection. The online format allows for wider outreach, enhanced user engagement, and greater preservation opportunities, while the option of accessing the musical content in ten playlists respects the early organization.
The collection consists of over 330 traditional tunes and songs, including both old recordings and contemporary performances, rare tunes and new compositions. Each tune or song comprises:
An audio recording for streaming and downloading,
A music transcription for viewing and downloading,
A brief story from Séamus Connolly that highlights an aspect of the tune or song and presents it in a broader context,
Descriptive metadata, including performer(s), composer(s), VIAF ID (when available), subject heading(s), publisher, rights, collection, links to all items by associated performer(s), and
A citation for use in scholarly research.
Tunes and songs are accessible individually as well as through playlists. The collection also includes song lyrics, a set of essays, and images that reflect the content.
Transcriptions can be opened full-screen in a new tab, downloaded, and printed. Lyrics to songs appear after the musical transcriptions, on one or more additional pages within the document. Please note that while some of the music transcriptions are based on audio available on the site, others are derived from historical source recordings. For a detailed explanation, we invite you to read the brief essay, "New Settings, Old Sources."