Irish music is a living tradition which includes dance music, songs and
airs. Until recent times it was passed on aurally and had a strong
does it come from?
It has evolved over a long period of time. Much of the repertory is
known to have been current in the 18th and 19th centuries. Some is
earlier in origin, and it is likely that some very old melodies and
lyrics survive, adapted to modern forms. Apart from Scottish music,
with which it shares Gaelic roots, Irish music is easy to distinguish
from other European music.
What is Celtic music?
Celtic music is a recent term used by people outside Ireland to
describe music from countries or regions with a Celtic background.
What is Irish dance
Instrumental music for reels, jigs and hornpipes in the main, but also
for polkas, slides and highlands. (In poorer times, this music was
lilted ie, port a' béal or mouth music).
It was mostly unaccompanied until the 1960s. Traditionally the songs
were in Irish, but since the collapse of the Gaelic order around 1600,
the store of English language songs has expanded. Sean-nós
(old style) singing is a unique feature and its highly-ornamented style
is still heard in Gaeltacht districts.
How is Irish music
Traditionally it was a solo form, but duet and group performance have
become dominant in the past 60 years.
Fiddle, uilleann pipes, whistle, flute, concertina and accordion - with
guitar, Irish bouzouki, banjo and bodhran playing a support role.
It is played and sung in the home, in the public house and at other
social gatherings - parties, weddings, dances, festivals - and latterly
at concerts, and on radio, television and record.
What is Irish dancing?
Like the music, it has absorbed European forms at will. The two main
forms today are step dancing and set dancing. Riverdance
is more closely associated with the formal step dance, while set
dancing borrows from the French and Scots. Children dressed in
Celtic-style dresses are step dancers. Older people engage in the set
or social dance. The musical rhythm increases in tempo from the
relatively slow hornpipe to the faster jig and the much faster reel.
on Irish Music
Notes From the Heart, by PJ Curtis.
£7.00 (stg or Irl, includes P+P) to PJ Curtis, The Old Forge,
Kilnaboy, Co Clare, Ireland, or email: firstname.lastname@example.org
A Pocket History of Irish Traditional Music,
Gearóid O hAllmhuráin, O'Brien (Dublin).
Folk Music and Dances of Ireland,
Breandán Breathnach. Mercier Press.
if you have any further questions