Publication Date


Advisor(s) - Committee Chair

Burt Feintuch, Lynwood Montell, Kenneth Clarke

Degree Program

Department of Folk Studies and Anthropology

Degree Type

Master of Arts


Anthropologists, folklorists and popular writers have, in general, neglected to describe. the social contexts in which traditional Irish music is played. Although the dance was probably the most important context for traditional Irish music in Rochester, as elsewhere in the United States and Ireland, interest among Irish-born Americans and Irish- Americans in traditional dancing has waned. At present, the most important social contexts for Irish music in Rochester are the session, the Feis, and various representational contexts. The session is by far the most important, and has developed as interest in the dance has declined. Unlike the dance, it is musician-focused and music-oriented; few members of the community attend. The Feis is an institutionalized dancing competition for young people that many musicians dislike. Representational contexts are events, such as folk festivals, at which the musicians present their national music to people of other ethnic groups. There seems to be sufficient interest in the session and in Irish music in general so that the music will continue its popularity in Rochester.


Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Ethnomusicology | Folklore | Music | Musicology | Social and Behavioral Sciences