University of Limerick
McKeever_20`12_aspects.pdf (19.99 MB)

Aspects of organ-building in Ireland in the nineteenth century, referencing White, Telford, and post-emancipation choral practice

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posted on 2022-09-20, 13:43 authored by Alexis Paul McKeever
This thesis is the first to combine organology, musicology, history and ethnography in a comprehensive study focusing on Irish organ-building. Chapter One commences with an extensive historical survey of Irish organ-building. Chapter Two proposes that there was a thriving indigenous industry in the nineteenth century with two leading families, Telford and White. It describes their family and business history that continued until the early part of the following century. It also exposes evidence of religious prejudice and comments on Irish exports within the British Empire. Chapter Three proposes a relationship between manufactory and functionality, and suggests that Irish organ-builders were following English builders in the use of practical casework designs. A case study of Telford’s work at Trinity College Chapel, Dublin and Durrow (1838, 1842) examples expedient measures in the building of a new organ and adaptation of an old organ. Chapter Four presents analyses of layout, architectural style, and pipe scales of two case studies: Church of the Assumption, Bride Street by Telford (1858) and St Andrew’s, Westland Row, Dublin by White (1870). It reveals that White and Telford integrated Töpfer scale progressions in their work. With regard to a national style of organ-building in Ireland, Chapter Five shows that there was an evolution similar to that happening in England but suggests that there were conservative elements as the twentieth-century beckoned. The use of the one-rank Doublette stop was noted as a particular feature of Irish organ-building mid-nineteenth century. Evidence shows influences on Irish organ-building from Hill, Schulze and Cavaillé-Coll. Chapter Six proposes that there was a relationship between performance practices (the functional use of the organ) and organ-building. It reveals the choral practices in the Roman Catholic church in Ireland after Emancipation and shows how the use of the organ in Ireland was affected by musical practices in the London Embassy chapels, and, in particular, by the editorial style of Novello. The work concludes with a contemporary evaluation of Irish organ-building and offers future recommendations for those involved or interested in this art-form.



  • Doctoral

First supervisor

Phelan, Helen Frances





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