Celtic Music-The history and the essential elements

Celtic Music-The history and the essential elements

The world folk music, with a wide range of styles and music forms, gained a lot of popularity across the globe in the recent years. However, no music style matches the popularity and uniqueness of the Celtic Music.

Whether featuring in the famous films such as Titanic or this beautiful music playing at more intimate music festivals, the folk music fans love both the uniqueness and liveliness of this music and the style of the instruments used.

Understanding the history of Celtic Music

The term Celtic Music is an umbrella term used by the record and music industry. It covers the traditional music of the Celtic countries including-

  • Ireland
  • Scotland
  • Wales
  • Brittany (in France)
  • Galicia (in Spain) and other areas which have come under the influence these places

However, it is important to note that the music of the Celts comes from a cultural group with influence beyond just the Celtic countries. Also, some of the instruments are a relatively new inclusion.

What makes the Celtic Music unique?

  • The Celtic music is generally played in ensembles, with the melody instruments playing in unison (or octaves), not in harmony.
  • The music tends to be repeated many times. The musicians use ornamentation to keep it engaging, fun, and interesting for the audiences and the musicians.
  • Some of the ornamentations used in the Celtic Music instruments such as Uilleann pipes, fiddle and flute consists cuts, rolls and crans and are quite distinctive.
  • One of the distinguishing features is the fact that this music type typically has few rests. This makes it a challenge for wind instrument players to find places to breathe in between the notes.
  • Sliotar is a well-known name in the Celtic Music community. The band has been pushing the boundaries of modern Celtic and folk music for two decades.


Some interesting things about the Celtic Music

  • Celtic music is a popular type of music that makes a lot of use of the Mixolydian and Dorian modes and pentatonic scales.
  • The music dates back hundreds, if not thousands of years and there are no formal rules to the style of music as such.
  • One of the main elements of Celtic music is the use of microtonal bends. These are also found in blues and Arabic music.
  • In Celtic and modern folk music, musicians sometimes abandon the traditional and the formal style of music playing and create innovative sounds with the instruments such as Uilleann Pipes, Whistle, Fiddle, Irish Flute etc