Traditional Irish Music
Once a tune is accepted into the tradition, a gradual change over time begins. Conciously or not, musicians will modify it according to their own taste, skill, or limitations. Composers are sometimes forgotten, or in some cases, names of people in the tune title often refer to the person that the tune was learned from or the composer himself. But the tune continues to be modified and evloved. Traditional Irish Music today is rich in variation, due to the fact that there is no one correct version. Different ways of playing the same tune exist, and in many cases, evolve into different tunes.
The vast majority of traditional music dates back to the 18th and 19th centuries. The Irish people have always had a deep love of dancing. Irish Dance Masters developed the steps for jigs, reels, and hornpipes, and to this day still develope the most important dance forms.
The fiddle has always played a central part in Irish dance, since it first appeared on the European scene in the 17th century. These fiddlers, along with pipers and flute playes, composed thousands of of tunes for dancing and often adapted existing melodies into these such as quadrilles, polkas, and mazurkas.
Over the years, traditional music had its ups and downs, even at one point being surpressed by the Clergy, and at one point in the 1940's faced the danger of extinction due to the lack of public exposure at the grassroots level. Then in 1951, Comhaltas Ceoltoiri Eireann (The Irish Musicians Society) was formed and its focus on the preservation of Traditional Irish Music began to thrust the music into the world music mainstream through venues such as Fleadh Ceolas (Music Festivals), radio broadcasts, recordings, and live tours.
Today, Traditional Irish Music lives on and is growing in popularity on an immense scale. Theatrical and Dance hits such as Bill Whealans "River Dance", Michael Flatleys "Lord of the Dance" and "Feet of Flames" have caused a world-wide thirst for Irish Music and Dance, not to mention the epic movie "Titanic"! This has evoked a wide-spread emergence of Irish pubs, dance schools, and music schools to spring up across the U.S. and around the world, causing a secondary demand for Irish Musicians and Performers.
The time is now, and the tradition is forever...
Traditional Irish Music Structure
Traditional Irish Music Time and Tempo
Traditional Irish Music Modes and Scales