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The bagpipe, an instrument usually associated with Celtic music, is in fact of Greek origin, even Egyptian. It then spread to Europe through Roman civilization. It would not have arrived in Scotland until the ninth century. It is also found in other folklores that have nothing Celtic (Gascogne, Auvergne, etc.). On the other hand, it disappeared from Welsh music in the 19th century, and we no longer know any copy of the instrument, as for the Norman bagpipes. Along with the ut kilts for men the bagpipes were used in Scotland also.
- The harp, symbol of Ireland, is very present in Irish and Welsh myths.
- Archaisms, such as the use of pentatonic scales, can give ideas about the Celtic music of antiquity.
The Oldest Traces
The oldest traces of folklore known in Celtic-speaking countries date back to the Middle Ages. The first playable score, the Pennlyn manuscript, dates from the 17th century. At that time, the destruction of clan society in Ireland and Scotland by the English led to the disappearance of court music in favor of popular music. New instruments, such as the violin, are emerging. From the eighteenth century, the fashion for collecting popular tunes by scholars allows us to have a broad overview of traditional music of that time; Edward Bunting in Ireland, George Thompson in Scotland, and Théodore Hersart of La Villemarqué in Brittany have left us a legacy of the repertoire of artists of that time. The first Scottish pipe bands only appeared in the 19th century from a forced encounter with English drums. The Breton bagadoù were born in the late 1940s.
From its distant origins, Celtic music has very few elements that date back to the time of Antiquity. If the archives reveal some elements on the oldest instruments used at the time such as the carnyx, the harp or the flute, other instruments are added to this list even in Roman civilization. Of all the instruments we know of Celtic music, the bagpipes are certainly a good reference since widespread in almost all countries of the world, especially in Europe, from Scotland to Ireland. Later, the English violin and drums gave a more traditional air to this music which comes from far away.
Celtic music in its definition
From its original characters, Celtic music is defined today as popular, learned and even traditional music. This style comes mainly from the Celtic nations and regions of the area of influence including Scotland, Galicia, Ireland, Asturias, the Isle of Man, Brittany, Cornwall and Wales. Now that there are available ukulele types on amazon you can have the smartest options of buying the bests.
Celtic music is better known in certain countries which have welcomed it without reservation, such as Australia, the United States as well as all the countries formerly colonized by the Celts.
- To speak of “Celtic music” (in the singular) is to evoke its ethnomusicological origin or to list its regions of origin and the population concerned. It is therefore essentially Celtic music as it was in its beginnings, with its Breton, Irish characters, etc. In this perspective, Alan Stivell is a good reference.