The Lambeg Drum in Ulster

  • Fionnuala Scullion

Student thesis: Doctoral ThesisDoctor of Philosophy


The Lambeg drum and its performance technique form a subject about which very little is known. From experience gained by lecturing on the subject it is my impression that a large number of Ulster people know of the instrument by reputation but have never heard it. Those who have are mostly of the opinion that the Lambeg drum was designed specifically to make a very loud and irritating noise and that it has nothing to do with music. This opinion is even held within the Orange Order itself - the body with whom the drum is mainly associated.

Literary references to the drum are scarce. Writers on Irish traditional music have ignored the Lambeg drumming tradition mainly for the reasons outlined above and because of the widely maintained view that 'the tradition' belongs to the ' Gaelic', 'native' and Catholic section of the country. The Lambeg drum is Protestant and therefore alien. It could not be recognised as forming part of 'our musical heritage'. Not only do Irish writers ignore the Lambeg drum but mention of it is also generally omitted from text books on musical instruments and even from specialist works on percussion instruments
Date of AwardJan 1982
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Queen's University Belfast
SupervisorJohn Baily (Supervisor)

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