Using the Companion

Linking the site and the book

The ebook version of this publication is likely the most efficient way to find obscure data and names, but this site is designed to be used with both the hard copy book and the ebook. It lists only the articles in the book by name, the writers thereof and an index of referenced people and bands. The lists on these pages will be searchable, making use of the actual book considerably easier and potentially more rewarding. The notes below are suggestions as to how all kinds of readers might negotiate, understand and quote the book's content.

Finding information

Information is substantially A-Z. Exceptions to this are in instrumental music ‘ornamentation’ (under which term all related fingerings are grouped), in ‘song’ (all forms are listed under S, and alphabetically therein), and ‘dance’ (both social and display forms are detailed under many headings). Major categories like ‘instruments’ are identified first as a list under I, then individually under their initial; so too with ‘tune types’. Regional information is given by county, and these are listed together initially under ‘Ireland’. Outside Ireland, countries go under their initial, e.g. E for England. Major cities, where there is a strong Irish element, are listed in the main text under their initial letter rather than county or country, e.g. Belfast, Chicago, London, New York. Supplementary information, such as publications or local personalities, is often tagged on to a region or topic where relevant in order to facilitate location of the article concerned. When in doubt, think back to the major category to which an item or person are likely to belong.


The convention followed in this book is to limit the amount of space given over to repeatedly used organisational and other titles, and to contributors’ names. Hence acronyms may be used.


The actual writer’s initials are placed in square brackets – e.g. [EDI] – at the end of articles written by them, and can be cross-checked against the ‘Contributors’ list (pp. xvi–xxii in the book, or under the ‘Writers’ section of this site). The contribution of a particular named writer ends at the point their initials are inserted. Any subsequent information is attributable to the next indicated writer. Articles with no credit indicated are the work of the editor, but may be the result of paraphrasing or credited reproduction of existing book or web data or interview. All uncredited articles and those signed [EDI] are by the editor.


Where a published work is quoted or extensively drawn from in the writing of an article in the Companion, bibliographic information is provided in abbreviated form; full references to these are given either on pages 20–2 or at the back of the book.

Web addresses

  1. Where they are given, these are not prefixed with ‘www’, this is to be assumed.
  2. They are not provided where they are of undue length – on account of the chance of error in input, and, not least, in the interests of saving space. However, all items and people noted in the book have web references and such links will eventually be embedded in this website.

Place names

All place names are generally in English, and are given in various forms by which they may be known among musicians. Thus ‘Derry’ is used for that city and county which are known on maps as ‘Londonderry’. ‘Daingean’ is used for ‘Phillipstown’, but ‘Draperstown’ and ‘Ballinascreen’ are both used. ‘Ireland’ is used – in the EC’s current terminology – as meaning the former ‘Republic of Ireland’, but also to indicate all of the island where this is appropriate (for instance in references to the years prior to 1921), including its popular usage. ‘Ulster’ is used to indicate the nine counties of historic Ulster; this was valid up until 1921, and, since political change does not obliterate cultural practices, is often the most relevant term.


The A-Z section of this book is in itself an index, but to facilitate the location of the many thousands of references to people and bands, an index is provided at the end of the book. Instruments and places are too numerous to be of meaningful value in this.

Quotation and referencing in articles, essays, books and web

When quoting from this book, it is important that the primary credit should be given to the author of the piece, as identified by initials. For example, to reference a piece on ‘accordion in Ireland’ by Máire O’Keeffe [MAO], the formula should be: O’Keeffe, Máire, ‘accordion’, p. 3, in Vallely, F. (ed.), Companion to Irish Traditional Music, Cork: Cork University Press, 2011.

  • For a full list of all A-Z entries and word-counts see ENTRIES
  • For a list of major topics see TOPICS
  • For a full its of referenced people and bands see INDEX