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Fr Joseph O'Malley, SJ (1832-1910) - Victoria and New South Wales

Joseph O'Malley was a Jesuit educator in Australia during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, teaching mostly in Victoria and New South Wales.  He was born in Dublin in 1830 and, after theological training, sailed to Melbourne in 1870.   O'Malley developed "Sight Singing and Harmony", an approach to sight-singing, which along with two other music articles, "Musical Doings in Elysium" and "The Blending of Tonic Sol-fa System With That of the Fixed Doh" were printed in The Australasian Schoolmaster. O'Malley claimed that his sight singing method was better than both Hullah's and Curwen's methods because his "Sight Singing and Harmony" taught sight singing using standard notation, did not -- in the case of Hulluh's method -- teach only one key to sing in, and was easy to learn by any intelligent person.  In "Sight Singing and Harmony", O'Malley used a different set of names for each note and was able to remove the "fixed" and "movable" doh concepts.  O'Malley was awarded a medal for his unpublished music theory treatise entitled "The Complete Theory of Music" at The International Exhibition of Melbourne in 1875. O'Malley composed vocal music."The Hymn of the Australian Children of Mary" was published in 1879 in Melbourne and two secular pieces that he composed, "The Gondolier" and "Cadet Rouselle" were published in The Australian Schoolmaster. O'Malley believed music was sacred medium as it was able to express what words were unable to do. Contrary to the prevailing view, he sought to have Catholic congregations participate in singing during the Mass and the other Catholic services rather that just listening silently while church choirs sang.  O'Malley died in Norwood, South Australia in 1910. Biographical summary by Stephen James.   Reference: James, S.C., 'Joseph O'Malley, S.J. -- A Nineteenth century Australian Music Educator', MEd research paper, Deakin University, 2000.