Due to a paucity of primary sources, research on music in nineteenth-century Ireland
is largely dependent on newspapers as source material. However, to date, no
comprehensive examination has been conducted into the musical identities of these
newspapers, the bias which influenced their output, or the manner in which they could
or should be utilized for musicological research. Newspapers are unique sources,
providing thorough accounts of everyday life, published commercially for public
consumption, necessarily lacking selectivity or perspective. Their value lies in the
detailed, descriptive level of information which contemporary reporting facilitated,
enabling research on subjects such as musician’s everyday activities, specific areas of
musical life, the relationship between the press and musical institutions and the
commerciality of music.
However, newspapers are written from a particular viewpoint and for a particular
readership, and like any other biased sources, they must be us...