Irish’s pot of gold isn’t just at the end of the rainbow. It’s in their distinct Irish music! In today’s post, we will walk you through Irish traditional music and share with you the right words you can use related to this topic. At the end of the day, Irish music is definitely one of a kind, and the tunes you will hear when you join their biggest music festival will seriously leave you wanting to listen to more. Ready to learn more about this? Then let’s get to the bottom of this topic in the sections below.
Interested to visit Ireland to listen to the magic that traditional Irish music instruments can create? Aside from all the Irish festivals and the drinks, the Emerald Isle is also the home to some of the most impressive classical music that is known across the globe. Their music has a long history from ancient times and there is no surprise why they have attracted a wider audience as compared to the music of their neighboring countries. Their popular music is highly ornamented making it totally different from all their other released songs.
There are many aspects to Irish heritage, and music is a very important one. Irish music is full of life, complex, colorful, and of course very interesting! It started a tradition that has been kept alive since then. It is one of the ways to keep the island people of the Emerald Isle entertained. On cold, dark evenings along with their beer, villagers would crowd together into their local pub to share the warm fire, hear stories, and listen to local music. It is also one of the experiences you wouldn’t want to miss when you visit Ireland. It is something you can witness in rural land.
Many of the unique sounding instruments are born and found in Ireland. Therefore, their music involves a handful of musicians or instrumentalists. Local music ranges from old folk songs to slow, sorrowful singing to a very fast-paced type of music that most people around the world know as “Irish”.
History Of Music In Irish Culture
Poets who were called bards who made many ballads and went to war were the early musicians of Ireland. Their music is related to their past, started as war songs as an influence, and has been popularized as it was first brought to the country by Celts. Researchers of ancient cultures said that the country has the most skilled musicians in comparison with other kingdoms. Testaments show that King Griffith of Wales and the Danes have called Irish musicians to play the harp as they play enthusiastically almost every night.
Harp was the most dominant sound in Ireland and has enjoyed popularity from the 10th right up until the 17th centuries. Over time as these people became more skilled, the instruments became more complex, instruments used in traditional Irish music are fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle, Celtic harp, Uilleann pipes, and Bodhrán. However, during the British colonization, there was a decree to burn the harps and much of Ireland’s music.
In mid-19th– century the Great Famine also contributed to the decline of Irish music, 20% of the population had emigrated. Though the displacement was tragic for Ireland, it was also the birth of Irish music’s influence being carried around the different corners of the world. Irish emigrants celebrated their heritage with music.
Their music was useful for people doing repetitive works and tasks because of its rhythmic nature. It helped a whole lot in works that needed synchronization and boring tasks. Remember the rhythm and tune played while Snow White’s seven dwarves were working in the mine for diamonds? How whistles are tuned in, every dig is synchronized – even the echoes! Irish music has a huge influence too on “work songs”, it morphed from hard work into fun orchestral and promoted teamwork.
Sean Nós (n.) And Caoineadh (n.)
[Type of Irish song]
Sean Nós (pronounced shan nohss) is a famous type of Irish song. Traditionally, are always sung unaccompanied by a single person in the Irish language, but some modern ballads are now in English as well. Their music began as an oral tradition passed on from generation to generation among clans and villages, it is an Irish art of storytelling. It was something to be experienced, rather than heard. Songs are sung with free rhythm; pace slows and speeds up according to words and expression. Musicians are encouraged to learn as they listen.
Emigrants were never left behind when it comes to singing. Caoineadh (pronounced kween-ah) style are sad songs pining for the country they’d left. When you heard someone singing such beautiful music, you can encourage them by saying “Maith Thú” (“well done”) or “Mo Cheol Thú” which means “bravo”.
[A group of dancers who dance in a simple formation that interchanges partners and direction at different intervals]
Ceilidh is present for songs that are far more popular in Irish music. It is similar to a planned barn dance. A cèilidh or céilí is a traditional Gaelic social gathering which involves entertainment. It is almost exclusively instrumental, but there are also songs that include lyrics too. Dancers wear hard shoes as part of the rhythm and sounds. It has to be said – the Irish know how to party! So, get your hard shoes ready while you listen to these popular Irish songs:
- The Green Fields of France
- Dirty Old Town
- The Wild Rover
- The Fields of Athenry
- Whiskey in the Jar
- The Rose of Tralee
- Spancil Hill
- Danny Boy
- The Rare Old Times
Even with the downfall of Irish music, it bounced back and had its revival. As the presence of traditional music as remembering and celebration of their heritage and culture, mixed and blended from different Irish regions – led to a resurgence of Irish music in Ireland and around the world.
Modern Irish Music
As Irish music went a second revival, Seán Ó’Ríada founded and led the band Ceoltóirí Chualann, and brought a classical element to traditional Irish fun folk music. Opening up to a more urban audience, freed from its connotation of poverty, famine, and emigration. The members of Ceoltóirí Chualann founded The Chieftains, which was widely credited for Ireland’s worldwide audience. The band collaborated with different known Irish artists such as Sinead O’Connor, and The Corrs; creating a fusion of contemporary and traditional with a twist of modern music. The Chieftains have won six Grammy awards.
Continuously, Irish Music is still colorful and vibrant from different collections of genres. One of the biggest known bands of the ‘90s is U2 who has achieved a record of 19 number-one singles in Ireland. Globally, won eight (8) Grammy Awards, four (4) MTV Video Music Awards, two (2) MTV Europe Music Awards.
The Script is an Irish pop-rock band known in the early 2000s from Dublin, Ireland; nominated for Brit Awards in years 2011 and 2013, Nickelodeon’s Teen Choice Awards of 2011, and World Music Awards 2012. In 2010, a quarter of everyone’s favorite boy band, Niall Horan of One Direction, and is now a solo artist who won People’s Choice Award is the USA as the Favorite Breakout Artist, New Artist of the Year 2017 for American Music Award.
Music is continuously evolving for all languages, but one thing about Irish Music has stayed the same: It still brings people together and makes them dance!
As we reach this part of the post, we hope that you were able to learn more about the traditional music existing in Ireland as well as the common words related to this topic. If you are a fan of old Celtic movies or TV series, it is possible for you to quickly distinguish the Irish tune that is usually played when the characters are in the classic Irish pubs. There’s something truly unique to it which is why there are still tons of music enthusiasts who want to learn more about it.
If you enjoyed this post and figured that you would love to learn more about the Irish culture, then feel free to read our previous blog posts here and be sure to check out the Ling App by Simya Solutions. The Ling App is a language learning platform built to ensure that you can learn your target language every day without any hassle. Just by using the app for at least seven minutes per day, you can master new words in an instant! So, what are you waiting for? Download it today and start learning on the right foot.