Friday, March 26, 2010

Traditional Irish Music

The Rocky Road to Dublin
Performed by The Chieftains and Kelly Family in an Irish pub. Note the use of traditional Irish folk instruments: the bodhrán (hand-held goat skin drum played with a stick), uillean pipes (a variant of bagpipes), flutes and fiddles.
The opening narration of this video is spoken in German (not Irish!).

The uilleann pipes sound softer and sweeter than Scottish bagpipes, are often played indoors, and are almost always played sitting down. “Uuilleann” means elbow in Irish, a reference to the use of the elbow to work the bellows, which are strapped to the waist.

The Gaelic (Irish) harp is a triangular, wire-strung harp known as a clàrsach. The use of wires strings, as opposed to gut or nylon, gives the Irish harp a more penetrating sound. Harps have been played in Ireland since the 10th century. Note that Irish harps are played over the left shoulder, distinct from modern pedal concert harps. Smaller ones can be played while being held in the lap.

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