Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Beverly Matiko

Second Advisor

Trina Thompson


Music has consistently played a major role in the work of Irish playwright Brian Friel and provides a steady backdrop for Dancing at Lughnasa (1990), a memory play about a family in Northern Ireland struggling to stay together in the August of 1936. This paper examines the function of music within the context of the play to see how it heightens the themes of identity, otherness, and memory. It also examines the history and various genres of selected works from the play to further investigate how Friel's selection of particular songs reflects the emotional states and ideologies of the characters.

Subject Area

Music in literature