This introductory chapter explores the methodologies that have characterised the study of music and politics. It makes the argument that those (such as Shirli Gilbert’s Music in the Holocaust) which take a consciously historical approach are the most successful approaches, employing a range of source material and an appropriate level of scepticism. It argues that this approach is the most effective for the study of nationalism. Taking Ireland as this book’s example, it argues that existing methodologies have paid inadequate attention to the nuances and limitations of music in advancing the cause of nationalism. As background to the main body of the book it also explores the musical cultures that characterised Irish political expression before 1848 (particularly the ‘Young Ireland’ writers) and briefly summarises its content.