Edward Bunting

b.County Armagh 1773, d.Dublin 21 December 1843.

Edward Bunting was one of the best known piano teachers and organists of his time and the first systematic collector of Irish folk-songs, Until 1819 he lived and worked in Belfast and held a prominent position in the city’s musical life. He was the inspiration for the Belfast Music Festival of 1813, and founded the Belfast Harp Society and the Irish Harp Society.

In 1819 he married and moved to Dublin where he held the post of organist in St. Stephen’s Church and was for a time a partner in a music warehouse.

The meeting of harpists in Belfast in 1792 was an event of great importance in his career and there he notated the performances of traditional Irish players. He was able to preserve melodies which were otherwise certainly destined for extinction.

Bunting’s work suffered from the expectation of the public for words and piano arrangements to be added to the ancient melodies, usually inappropriately. There can be no doubt, however, that to the scholar of music Bunting’s works are of value and interest, innovative but hampered by lack of knowledge and the demands of his own society.

General collection of the ancient music of Ireland, arranged for the pianoforte:

Some of the melodies adapted for the voice to poetry chiefly translated from the original Irish songs by Thomas Campbell and other poets (including the compositions of O’Caghan, Conolan, and Carolan), with a dissertation on the Egyptian, British, and Irish harp.

Vol. 1.(Pirated) Published 1809?

Microfiche available.

General collection of the ancient Irish music:

Containing a variety of admired airs never before published, and also the compositions of Conolan and Carolan, collected from the harpers, etc., in the different provinces of Ireland, and adapted for the pianoforte, with aprefatory introduction.

Vol 1 New edn.(Pirated) Published 1817?

Microfiche available.

The Ancient Music of Ireland:

An edition comprising the three collections by Edward Bunting, originally published in 1796, 1809 and 1840. Published 1969

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