chapter  6
20 Pages

Problematizing Primitivism

Contesting Antiquarianism in Moore’s Irish Melodies
WithSheila Rooney

This chapter explores the degree to which Moore's Irish Melodies challenged disparaging stereotypes of the Irish. It suggests that, though the Irish Melodies capitalize on the contemporary market for Irish and Scottish romantic songs, Moore's use of Irish music, combined with his lyricism, problematized depictions of the Irish as savages. The eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries saw the development of a growing market for national music in both Ireland and England. Moore's "Prefatory Letter" is a fascinating essay that makes several bold claims regarding his intended audience, as well as offering a defence of his own lyrics and of Stevenson's arrangements. Moore's process, of adapting the melodies used and employing musical techniques to render them appropriate for singers, was not synonymous with increasing the ornamentation. Moore's "Come, send round the Wine" is a telling example of a song in which Moore problematizes binaries.