The Golden Age of Irish Music: The Cultural Impact of 78 RPM Recordings in Ireland and Irish America 1900--1960

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This dissertation examines the impact that early 78 rpm recordings had on the cultural and ethnic identities of Irish people in both Ireland and Irish America during the first half of the twentieth century. It raises questions about what is considered "Irish" in the context of both the traditional and popular music recorded at the time. The author reviews the history of Irish music before and after mechanical sound reproduction and outlines the technological history concerning the development of phonographs and wax cylinders and gramophones/victrolas and the flat 78 rpm disc. Using an media ecological approach, the author employs Marshall McLuhan's Laws of Media to examine the cultural impact of early recorded media by examining what becomes enhanced, obsolesced, retrieved from the past, and reversed or flipped into when pushed to its limit.