University of Leeds - Harmony and discord

September 3, 2009

The traditional music of Northern Ireland is often thought to be linked with longstanding religious divisions in the country, but a new study suggests that the "politicisation" of the country's music is a postwar phenomenon. David Cooper, professor of music and technology at the University of Leeds, argues in his book The Musical Traditions of Northern Ireland and its Diaspora: Community and Conflict that music was used by communities to distinguish themselves from each other only in the latter half of the 20th century. He says that tunes on either side of the divide have an "underlying, shared vernacular that is neither Protestant nor Catholic".

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