Composition/Recording Projects

Publication Date

Spring 4-26-2024


n this research paper, I look at how traditional Irish folk musicians—“Trad” as it is commonly referred to by musicians in the style––approach, think of, and perform accompaniment, specifically the contrapuntal style that is common amongst mandolin and bouzouki players. Trad has evolved greatly over the years. Originally, Trad was performed without any form of accompaniment—no guitar, no piano, no cello. Many solo instruments, such as the flute and the fiddle, would play the same melody with the only harmony occurring at moments where performers would momentarily diverge from the melody with an improvised ornament. Somewhere along its varied history, Trad evolved to incorporate counterpoint provided by an elaborate bassline with ingenious fills, constant reharmonizations, and moving harmony lines, creating a polyphony of three, four, or five independently moving lines. Through my research, I began to theorize that the beginnings of polyphony in Irish music began with the heterophony that takes place during unaccompanied solo performance. Furthermore, I have systematized the sonic requirements of Irish music into three sections: Melody, Center, and Countermelody.

Major Mentor

Dr. Jeff Kirk

Second Mentor

Dr. Peter Lamothe

Third Mentor

Dr. Joel Treybig


Music, School of


Music and Performing Arts, College of

Document Type



Master of Music (MM)

Degree Level


Degree Grantor

Belmont University