Essay 1: The Session in Gleeson’s Pub
1. Read Chapter 1, “Invitation to a Session”, in “Music in Ireland”
2. Provide written responses to the following questions below (1 page
* One page is equivalent to one page written in a word
document, double spaced, 12 pt. font, New Times Roman
The Irish (Gaelic) word for a session is seisiún. Colin Hamilton writes that a
session is “a loose association of musicians who meet, generally, but not
always, in a pub to play an unpredetermined selection, mainly of dance
music, but sometimes with solo pieces such as slow airs or songs.” There
are usually one or more ‘core’ musicians, and others who are less regular.
Although a session may appear to be a random event, there are factors
that control the proceedings, e.g. ability, reputation, and age of
musicians, as well as the instrument they play. Many publicans (those who
run a pub) are keen to have their bars known as centers of good
Source: Colin Hamilton, “Session”, in The Companion to Irish Traditional
Music, ed. Fintan Vallely (Cork: Cork University Press, 1999), pp. 345-46.
Answer the following questions about the session in Gleeson’s pub on that
1. Who was the publican and how did he develop his pub as a center of
good traditional music?
2. Who were the core musicians at the session? Were there other
musicians present who attended less regularly?
3. Who was the audience for this music?
4. Name all the musical instruments that the authors saw or heard at the
5. The authors say that a session brings together all the strands of Irish
traditional culture (p. 15). Show how this is true for the session in Gleeson’s
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