Traditional Irish Music has always been a massive part of Irish culture. It is music that is instantly recognisable all around the world. I’ve yet to meet a person who does not know the chorus to songs such as “I’ll Tell Me Ma” or “The Black Velvet Band”. It has influenced so many artist in Ireland and around the globe. But where did it all start?
It all began as a oral tradition. Irish tunes were passed down from generation to generation, learned by ear or taught by a family member or fellow player. Music was not formally written down until about 1762. It was around this time that music enthusiast’s began to travel the county in search for tunes to add to their collections.
In July 1792, a man by the name of Edward Bunting attended the Belfast Harp Festival. He was commissioned to transcribe airs as they were being played. Bunting would write a rough score of the tune and fill it in accordingly or ask a harpist to play it over and over until he had it written perfectly. These airs formed a major part of his collection of Irish tunes which he published in 1796 entitled “A General Collection Of Ancient Irish Music”
Traditional Irish Music saw a revival around the 1920s when the first tunes were recorded and made available to Irish communities around the world. It became extremely popular in North America, especially in The Untied States. Since then it has continued to influence music and musicians abroad.
Today, Traditional Irish Music remains part of Irish Culture and continues to Influence people all over the world. It has been used in collaboration with all genres (rock, jazz, country) in what is otherwise known as “fusion-music”.