History of Irish Music And Instruments

When peoples come to Ireland, the first thing that comes to their mind is Irish music and Irish musical instruments. Because Ireland is known as an atavistic land of musical instruments with a rich history. Ireland obviously has been able to maintain a clasp on the native music and therefore much better than other European countries.

Even Ireland has a vast heritage of folk music that boasts its traditions and values all over the world. And it has strongly integrated with Irish culture as well as maintains its cultural identity.  Irish music is grown from the unique culture which is a drive from many influences.

The history of Irish traditional music is very large, influenced by waves of departure and from other music genres. The traditions of Irish music began almost 2,000 years ago in oral and aural forms. People listen and learn them and then passed them to a later generation.

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The traditions start when the first Celts arrived in the land of Ireland. The ancient Celts established in Eastern Europe about 2,000 years ago. The earliest musicians were a professional harpist, Irish harp is emanated from Egypt.

Different musical styles are created with the passage of time and similarly, the first collection of Irish tunes was appeared in around 1762. It contains 49 breaths of air and was published by Neale brother in Dublin. These scripts are still survived and available today infect these are considered the most essential in the Irish traditions as well as Irish heritage. Traditional Irish music consists of the different forms of music such as music for dancing, jigs, polkas, fiddle, Celtic harp, Irish flute, penny whistles and bodhran. Let’s start with the several traditional Irish musical instruments used in Irish music.

Instruments Used In Irish Traditional Music

The more recently instruments that are found into the playing of traditional music are Irish bouzouki, mandolin, acoustic guitar and tenor banjo. Others traditional instruments such as Celtic Harp, bodhran, and Famines with the deepest connection to Irish history, which are as mentioned earlier.

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The Celtic Harps

After huge research archeologists and researchers have found that instruments with triangular shapes and wire strings are as far back as the tenth century. These harps are smaller than the modern harps that you can see today. Harps musician plays harps by set then on their legs and rested on their left shoulders. The melodious sound is created by plucking the strings with fingers or nails. Infect the early example of the Celtic harp is exist today at Trinity College which is situated in Dublin.


Bodhran is another instrument used in traditional music and pronounced as ‘bow-rawn’. Bodhran is an ancient instrument called a frame drum, the body of bodhran is made by the skin of the animal. They hit bodhran with the two stick which is named as “tippers”.

Tippers are used to create a melodious sound by striking the parallel surface of bodhran. The tone of bodhran depends on its size. It has been used in Ireland for many centuries and might have a role in some battles.

Uilleann pipes

This traditional musical instrument contains the characteristics national bagpipe of Ireland. Uilleann pipes are one of the difficult instruments to play. The name means ‘pipe of the elbow’ it refers that the pipes are attached with the bellows and pump. There is no other name used for uilleann pipes. These instruments were flourishing around the fifth century. The sound of uilleann pipes is mellower. To play this or to create its melodious sound the musicians pump the air into its bag with the bellows. And then they use a mouthpiece to play its sound through continued support of breath. This musical instrument takes many years to master.



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