Date of Award

Spring 5-5-2016

Degree Type



School of Music

First Reader

Jennifer Parker-Harley

Second Reader

Mike Harley


For my Senior Thesis Project, I learned to play the traditional Irish flute while I was in Ireland for a semester. I initially thought that there would be no better time or place to learn a new instrument than if I was surrounded by its culture for four months. I went in to the project already knowing how to play the classical silver flute, but knew that the traditional Irish flute was different. I found that the biggest differences were between the instruments themselves and how the two final performance goals of each affected the training in almost every step of learning and practicing. In classical flute playing, performers strive to play the music as the composer intended for it to sound and they traditionally perform in settings where they are able to read printed music and where there is a clear divide between audience and performer(s). In Irish flute playing, performers aim to have the traditional feel of Irish music come out of their playing. They also perform in groups most commonly at a pub or a bar where the audience are fellow pub-goers drinking a pint and not worrying about talking during the music. Musicians from both groups learn their instruments and music differently based on these two performance styles, which can be seen in the following paper.

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© 2016, Allison Marjorie Layton

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