History of Celtic Music

Irish Celtic music is taken for granted because it is the most popular music in Ireland, and the same can be said for Scotland and Wales. The history behind the Irish Celtic music is quite interesting.

What is Celtic Music?

Celtic music is a form of music that is considered to be folk music that relies on specific instruments and lyrics that are traditional for this type of music. The genre of music is named after the Celts, which were the people of these regions. It is music with a long history. It is said that it can be traced back to the 1600s. It is a favourite choice of music to dance to while for listening in its ballad form is something many people enjoy. One of the things that make this music so popular is that it can be lively or soft and soothing.

Celtic Music Instruments

Part of what adds to the long-lasting popularity of Celtic music is the instruments that are normally used which are:

  • Violin
  • Flute
  • Bagpipes
  • Harp

Along with several others

The Beginning

The music can be traced back to the ancient Celtic civilisation, which was highly recognised for their unique culture. Going back many years, the La Tene culture became more recognised. It is believed that music played an important role in society. Most of the information that has come to light regarding ancient Celtic music has been as a result of archaeological findings. It is believed that this form of music back in that time revolved around military conflict and the music made use of the most popular instrument of the time, which was the carnyx. Evidence indicates that other instruments were used as well, which include the Celtic horns and trumpets. Brass instruments were also used.


History indicates that there may be several similarities between Celtic music and Arabic and Middle Eastern music. This is attributed to the strong melodies that these various forms of music posses. Along with the rhythm. It is generally thought that in Celtic music the emphasis comes from the solo parts that normally are included in any of the music pieces. For example, if there are three instruments being used such as the fiddle the flute and the accordion they will each have a solo part to play, but they will all be played at the same time. This is one of the aspects of Celtic music that makes it so intriguing.

Different Forms

There are different forms of Celtic music, such as the dance forms and the ballads. Within these are sub-categories. Celtic Dance Music includes:

  • Jig
  • Slip Jig
  • Reel
  • Hornpipe
  • Slide
  • Set
  • Polka

Then those tunes being performed as a melody can be an air, lament or Peobracht.

Aside from these, there are other forms which include Planxty, Composition by O’Carolan and March.

With the Celtic music being so diversified it is not restricted to just one way of playing it. Those that enter into this field of music do so with respect because of its history and its background. It is a music that is greatly enjoyed by both the performers and their audiences.