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Irish Music

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Ireland, colonized by England for centuries, has successfully protected Irish music traditions from disappearance. Even in the 20th century, Irish folk music remains popular and vibrant. Though a number of popular trends, especially from the U.K. and the U.S.A have made their way into the popular Irish culture, most of the original features of Irish folk music have survived.

Is there anything Like “Irish” Music that Still Survives?

It would be correct to say that Irish music today has a healthy balance of popular genres of music, like jazz and rock, and Irish folk traditions. The song “She Moved through the Fair”, is an example of a traditional Irish song that has been reworked by a number of rock and pop musicians.

In the later decades of the 20th century, fusion of traditional Irish music with the new age genres had become so proliferous that distinguishing between the two was almost impossible. This kind of fusion is evident in the works of musicians like Enya, The Corrs, U2, and Van Morrison. A number of new Irish groups though are consciously attempting to trace Irish music to its roots through their compositions.

Other Genres of Traditional Irish Music

The recognition of the genre of contemporary classical music is also important for the understanding of Irish music. This genre of music has failed to gain popularity within Ireland, though it has made some impression abroad.

Most of the Irish music belonging to the folk tradition has traveled from one generation to generation through word of mouth. It would be surprising to know that most of the music that is considered ancient is actually not more than two hundred years old. Most of the original folk songs are in Irish. The modern adaptations or versions of these songs are in English.

There are a number of musical instruments, which are peculiar to Irish music. Some of them are:

  • Harp
  • Guitar
  • Bouzouki
  • Harmonica
  • Fiddle
  • Flute and whistle

Revivalist attempts in the last couple of decades have done a lot towards keeping Irish music alive. The popularity of musical genres such as rock, blues and jazz have certainly played a major role in keeping Irish music alive to some extent or the other in the minds and tastes of people.