Irish and Celtic music have without a doubt been some of the most important for world music. The beautiful and influential instruments from the region have travelled everywhere. Many Celtic instruments have had major impact on how we know music today. Some instruments from the region have been reimagined as well shaping few of the modern ones.
From the folk happy music to legendary artistic tunes, we have had it all in Celtic history. Legends like the Irish bodhran and Celtic harp are pretty awesome and rightfully credited to the region’s history. Improved through history and all the great musicians, here are some of the leading most influential Celtic music instruments:
The Irish Bodhran
Some say music began with drums. From creating war sounds to their modern more luxurious history, drums have been quite something. The Irish Bodhran has probably one of the most influential frame drums around the world. It also helped shape the tambourine, which is also a great frame drum.
Showing itself as early as the Celtic music goes, the bodhran is one of the most famous Irish instruments. With its roots having it used as a food plate where a stretched goat skin across a round frame was used, the bodhran has underwent many changes.
Bodhran of today is much more modern. You have the fantastic inside and skin tunability features. Different materials are being used for its frame as well. Goat skin or cow skin provides the punchy iconic beats. It is light, compact and very effective helping with many types of music output.
One of history’s best stringed instruments is the fiddle. It is certainly one of the most famous Celtic music instruments with its roots truly from the region. Some say it inspired many great modern stringed instruments like the Violin.
It looks beautiful and sounds great at the same time. The fiddle is truly popular worldwide today and is thought to have originated many centuries ago in Eastern Europe. Famous for its solo playing ability and also with other instruments, it sounds amazing however you play it.
Expert fiddle players can create some of the most soothing music from it. The instrument is also quite manageable in size and fits in with travelling musicians perfectly. It is also relatively easier to play in the stringed instruments class.
Also famous by the name of “Bagpipes of Ireland”, Uilleann Pipers have certainly played a vital role in Irish music. These got adopted by many Irish and Celtic musicians during the 18th century. Many modifications in their designs and styles have been made ever since.
These have another name as well in the English Language, “Union Pipes”. Typically, there is a mechanism that assists inflation of the bag attached to the pipes. A wide range of notes provide all the varying tones that we know these pipes can produce.
These are some of the finest most sophisticated wind blow instruments of the modern day. Some versions have gained quite a bit in size and the resulting sound levels. When done right, these can be smooth and very mesmerizing indeed.
When talking about Irish and Celtic music instruments, the Celtic harp doesn’t need an introduction. Probably the most beautiful and elegant music instrument in the world today is the Irish Harp. A harpist playing the thing looks absolutely elegant as well with the arm movements and all.
The music it creates is nothing short of amazing. Harp has widely been considered instrument of the rich and royals in the past. Famous people from history like Kings, Queens and all other relatable personalities have relaxed on its sublime tunes.
However, today the harp is available at much less prices that what it used to be. It has gotten much better with fusions happening with many other instruments as well. Lute harp and Lyre harp are some of the most famous fused versions offering great potential of their own.
Next on our list is the Irish Bouzouki. It is indeed a modified version of the Greek instrument that had pretty much the same going for it. The bouzouki is often seen and has been seen in Irish music groups and bands. It is just perfect for group play offering a wide array of notes.
Johnny Moynihan, a Dublin-based musician from the group “Sweeney’s Men” is known to have introduced it in Irish music. His efforts and of many that followed after him, have made the bouzouki one of the Irish greats. With how it sounded, it was a matter of time before someone took the mantle.
The major difference Irish bouzouki has from its Greek counterpart is that in tuning (GDAD). However, this change has been rather good for the instrument helping with some of the best music output. It has also become one of the easier to play Irish stringed instruments.
How can a list of great Irish and Celtic instruments be true with featuring the Irish Flute? The wind blow instrument is known to be quite small and offer big whistling output. It bore has holes in it that are controlled by fingers if the player.
What makes is different to any whistle is in its design and materials. Natural woods of different types including rosewood, basswood, ebony and more are traditionally used. The neck and mouth of the flute are quite well crafted in their finish as well.
A good flutist is actually in quite a demand over in Ireland by many bands and groups. Mixed with other instruments or played on its own, the flute sounds absolutely great nevertheless. It is a good starter for people of all ages as well.
The boxy accordions have also been quite influential in Irish and Celtic music. Their famous figure is easy to picture being held by an Irishman as well. These suit best for traditional Irish performances both with high pitched vocals and with other instruments too.
Also known as “the squeezebox”, accordions sound great. Smooth, happy notes accordions are able to hit are pretty much unmatched as no other similar instrument has popped up yet. Sound is truly produced by the squeezing that happens on one end of the accordion.
The squeezing and releasing of the movable end create quite some music. Anyone close by, automatically wants to dance a bit and move their body. However, it isn’t the loudest instrument from the Irish and Celtic history.