Pipedreaming : Northumbrian music from the smallpipes to Alex Glasgow

Judith Murphy

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter explores the role of music in the construction of Northumbrian identity from the late eighteenth century to the present day. It questions whether Northumbrian music is merely the romanticised construct of patrons and quangoes or if the music in practice, as played by people from the Tweed to the Tees, demonstrates sufficient cohesion to be rightly considered an expression of regional particularity. The chapter is an invited contribution to Northumbria: History and Identity, edited by Professor Robert Colls. This is the first scholarly examination of the role of music in the imagining of a wider Northumbria. It draws on the scholarship relating to folk revival while seeking innovative ways to move beyond a simple derogation of ‘invented tradition’ and expropriation into a more nuanced account of the need for heritage, belonging, and authenticity. The research draws on secondary literature, archival and oral sources from several distinctive aspects of regional music, from the rural tradition via the Tyneside music hall to twentieth-century folk revivals. It further examines the role of leading patrons, such as the Northumbrian Pipers’ Society, the Society of Antiquaries’ Ancient Melodies Committee, and the local media, but juxtaposes this with the attitudes and expectations expressed by performers and audiences. The article derives from part of the research undertaken for the author’s AHRC-funded PhD, Folk on Tyne: Tyneside Culture and the Second Folk Revival 1950-1975, awarded by Northumbria University in 2007. This PhD contributed to the exploration of regional identity at the North East England History Institute, which is a collaborative venture between the region’s five universities and the wider community.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationNorthumbria: history and identity: 547-2000
Place of PublicationChichester, UK
Number of pages370
ISBN (Print)978-11860774713
Publication statusPublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Pipedreaming : Northumbrian music from the smallpipes to Alex Glasgow'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this