Musically Consonant, Socially Dissonant: Orange Walks and Catholic Interpretation in West-Central Scotland

Stephen R. Millar

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    Abstract

    This article examines the music used by the Orange Order, in its public parades, more commonly referred to as “Orange Walks.” The Orange Order is an exclusively Protestant fraternal organization, which traces its roots to 1690 and the victory of the Protestant Prince William of Orange over the Catholic King James. Yet, as in Northern Ireland, many consider the group to be sectarian and view its public celebrations as a display of ethno-religious triumphalism. This article explores the extra-musical factors associated with Orangeism’s most iconic song, “The Sash My Father Wore,” how other groups have misappropriated the song, and how this has distorted its meaning and subsequent interpretation.

    Recent statistics have shown that Glasgow hosts more Orange parades each year than in Belfast and Derry/Londonderry combined, yet while there have been many anthropological and ethnomusicological studies of Northern Ireland’s Orange parades, very little research has focused on similar traditions in Scotland. This article seeks to address that gap in the literature and is intended as a preparatory study, laying the groundwork for further analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Number of pages23
    JournalMusic and Politics
    Volume9
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2015

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