Irish Traditional Music - Accordion
The Accordion was invented by Friedrich Buschmann in 1822 in Berlin, Germany and was called the Handäoline. Cyrill Demian (1772–1847) of Vienna created another version of the accordion with buttons in 1829. His patent of the name 'Accordion' was officially granted in May 1829 and many credit Cyril Demian with the invention of the accordion while others give credit to Friedrich Buschmann's invention. Today there are many variations of the accordion, some with buttons and others with keyboards, essentially they are all constructed in a similar manner, two boxes separated by a bellows.
It is a very popular instrument in modern Irish folk and traditional music and is available in different forms. The two row button accordion as shown in the picture below is popular with traditional Irish accordion players. There are several types of accordions available, for example the Melodeon and Concertina versions are also popular in Irish traditional music as well as the piano accordion which is often played by marching bands popular all across Ireland. Traditionally the accordion was popular with the lower classes as opposed to the harp which was played more by the upper classes. The accordion comprises three components, these are:
The Bellows. These are squeezed which in turn pushes air through to the reeds
The Keys or Buttons. These are pressed producing the notes
The Reeds. The reeds vibrate inside the body of the accordion and make the sound
Irish Traditional Music - Bodhrán
The Bodhrán is a traditional Irish musical instrument and consists of a frame drum covered in either synthetic material or goatskin. The inside of the drum is open and the player holds the drum by grasping the cross bars on the inside of the drum as shown as shown in the picture above. The drum is hit with a small wooden bone which is also known as a tipper, beater or cipín. Occasionally the Bodhrán is played by hand
Traditional Irish and Celtic Music
Singing, performing and dancing is a huge part of Irish culture, it is the land of music and dance! Ireland has produced some amazing singers and musicians; U2, and Enya are both perfect examples! Riverdance and Lord of The Dance are examples of the way that traditional Irish music and dance has been brought into the 21st century. Both are world famous shows enjoyed by the Irish diaspora and those who wish they were!
Traditional Irish Music - Facts
Henry VIII of England was believed to be a great lover of Irish harp music and when he took control of Ireland he had a harp embossed on the currency
Shakespeare refers to eleven Irish tunes including the famous 'Callino Casturame'
Queen Elizabeth was particularly fond of Harp music and kept the Irish harpist Donogh in her court
The Clairseach is a large Irish harp and was known as "the festive or heroic harp of the chiefs and ladies, as also of the bards"
Ireland is the only country to have a musical instrument as their national emblem
Harp music was often played to accompany 'bards' reciting poetry
The Celtic Triangular Harp was known as the instrument of the Bards!
The Harp was associated with the more affluent Irish whereas the accordion was played more by the lower classes
During the 9th century it is reported that twelve different musical instruments were used by the people of Ireland
The music school in the Swiss city of San Gallen was established by the Irish monk Gallus (ca 550–620 or 640) later known as St Gall
The tin whistle is often referred to as a beginners flute