Traditional Irish Music

Traditional Irish Music
Irish music has grown on the island of Ireland since ancient times, sometimes influenced by political or religious context of the time. Following the mass emigration of Irish in the nineteenth century, it spread to the United States in particular, but also throughout the United Kingdom. It has been included in other styles and many Irish jigs and reels were taken, among others, bluegrass and traditional music in Canada, including Quebec.

The music is the oldest known in Ireland is that of harpists clans gaéliques dating from the ninth century. The harp appears as an emblem of the country for at least the thirteenth century. Nothing is known of non-professional musicians or dance performed at the time but the harpist accompanying a poet who proclaimed the praises of the head of the clan to which he belonged.

Over time, the musicians gradually became itinerant musicians, reflecting the decline of society gaélique between the twelfth century and the seventeenth century, one of the last witnesses was the harpist Turlough O'Carolan died on the eighteenth century.

In the seventeenth century the dances became very popular, as in the rest of Europe. Irish dancing reached its apogee in the nineteenth century, and many stories of travelers in Ireland proved its importance.

Due to fear of loss of Irish music and its instruments, many nationalists believe regrouped from the late eighteenth century to try to revive the various associations.

There since the 1970s, and successive waves, a strong interest in Irish music in the world, particularly the United States where there is a strong community of Irish descent, and a very strong development of its marketing (records, concerts, etc..). If the actual music, harmonized according to modern guns and worked in the studio, has little in common with the original interpretations, she has acquired in exchange for an outstanding international reputation. Today, the term "Celtic music" often refers to the traditional Irish music present, but we must not forget that Celtic music also includes Scottish, Breton and Galician (Spain), traditional or not. Some publishers even have a music catalog of World celtic music.

Traditional Music
Mainly originating in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries as presently known, traditional music is divided into a vocal and instrumental music from the other. But the voice which forms the basis, because of a pervasive feature of this music essentially melodic ornamentation. There are:
* the sean-nos (literally "old style") singing a cappella gaelique, inaccessible at first, comes from the Middle Ages.
* Dance music is purely instrumental, which in recent decades have also played in the pubs (socializing);
* Melodic music, with ballads, slow songs (melody instrumental slow and quiet) and laments (chants telling a sad story, close Gwerziou Breton);
* The ballads, songs militant compound and magnify the spirit of national action, especially from the nineteenth century, which are from the "protest songs" to Northern Ireland in the twentieth century.

Today, we meet mostly interpretations of dance music, which has attracted most of the compositions and ballads in English. Some interpreters and / or groups (Altan, La Lugh, Danu, Teada) gaelique sing nonetheless. The general themes are, as everywhere, love, death, war, work, heroism, humor plus two recurring themes in Irish history: the exaltation of national feeling and the mass emigration to the United States.

From the perspective of harmony, traditional music is diatonic, but may comprise alterations, and is played mostly in tones of soil, and D major. The major mode largely dominates; rare in minor tunes are played in E, or if the. There is also an appropriate musical literature for violin (and derivatives, mandolin, banjo ...) in C, F, and so on ♭ (A minor, D minor and G minor). The flutists mastering the keys can still adapt.

Dance music
The first source revealing the name of an Irish dancing dates back to 1590. Ten years later, Fynes Moryson, secretary to Lord Mountjoy, wrote that the Irish "dance very happy, did not use the art of slow action or bawdy, but only country dances. A quatrain written in 1670 mentions four names of dances. Arthur Young, in his Tour of Ireland (1776-79), wrote that "dance is a common thing for poor people. The dancing masters traveling in the countryside, hut to hut, with a piper or fiddler blind, and the price is six d. and fourth. It is a comprehensive education system. A written testimony attests to the fact that the invading Anglo-Norman dances introduced in Ireland in 1410. It is certain that there were dances or religious war among Celts.

Dance music is a huge repertoire (more than 6000 songs or tunes) divided into several types which are the three main jig (the French "jitter", cf. Geige German, violin), the reel and the hornpipe.

There are three types of jig:

1. double jig in 6 / 8 rhythmic unit which consists of two groups of three quavers. His other feature is the latter measure includes three eighths and one black, the latter reproducing the same note as the 2nd and 3rd quavers;
2. the single jig in 6 / 8 or 12 / 8, has a rhythmic unity of two groups of black-eighth. This jig is characterized by the latter measure includes a dotted crotchet and a quaver;
3. the slip jig and hop jig adopts measure 9 / 8 groups of 3 quavers (3 / 8 3 / 8 3 / 8). This type of jig is further distinguished by its structure of four bars twice, the other jigs always counted twice eight measures.

The slide is a kind of jig in 12 / 8, which is characterized by its gliding steps, hence its name (in English, means slide to slide).

The rhythm of the reel unit consists of two groups of four quavers (measure 2 / 2 C or erased). Fast - or very fast - in most cases, this dance can sometimes be interpreted in a slow tempo, then taking the name of slow reel.

The hornpipe adopts measure 4 / 4 and is played on a moderate tempo. It accentuates an eighth principle two, not as the "unequal quavers" French Baroque, but more or less as if the first was worth the last two quavers of the triplet.

In general, whatever the dance, the structure adopts the usual form or AABB (A) is called tune and (B) turn. With four or eight bars each, they form a "question-answer". Each part is repeated, but the end of the recovery is sometimes slightly modified (AA 'BB') to allow the dancers to know when they must prepare to a different pace.

We sometimes meet a third (C) and even more rarely a fourth part (D) entering the dance, in most cases, composed by an interpreter, they are changes that are introduced in the directory over time.

Aside from polkas - popular in the region of Sliabh Luachra (straddling the counties of Cork and Kerry) - waltzes and a few other dances (Fling, barn-dance in the north), there is still Following Irish dance peculiar set-dance (the French "dance suite"). Invented by dancing masters in the eighteenth century, she received a special name because of its structure which required different steps of each melody. The most famous set-dancing is probably the Blackbird which both parties have respectively 8 and 15 measurements. It also included the Knights of St. Patrick.

See also Celtic Harp Music


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