Celtic music facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts
Keltfest 2010 (4610513447)
Performance in 2010

Celtic music is a broad grouping of music genres that evolved out of the folk musical traditions of the Celtic people of Western Europe. It refers to both orally-transmitted traditional music and recorded music and the styles vary considerably to include everything from "trad" (traditional) music to a wide range of hybrids.

Description and definition

Welsh Druid playing the harp 02400
An 18th century depiction of an ancient Druid playing the harp

Celtic music means two things mainly. First, it is the music of the peoples identifying themselves as Celts. Secondly, it refers to whatever qualities may be unique to the musics of the Celtic Nations. Many notable Celtic musicians such as Alan Stivell and Paddy Moloney claim that the different Celtic musics have much in common. These common melodic practices may be used widely across Celtic Music:

Keltfest 2010 (4611116196)
Celtic harp performed at a Celtic festival in 2010
  • It is common for the melodic line to move up and down the primary chords in many Celtic songs. There are a number of possible reasons for this:
    • Melodic variation can be easily introduced. Melodic variation is widely used in Celtic music, especially by the pipes and harp.
    • It is easier to anticipate the direction that the melody will take, so that harmony either composed or improvised can be introduced: cliched cadences that are essential for impromptu harmony are also more easily formed.

Often, the term Celtic music is applied to the music of Ireland and Scotland because both lands have produced well-known distinctive styles which actually have genuine commonality and clear mutual influences. The definition is further complicated by the fact that Irish independence has allowed Ireland to promote 'Celtic' music as a specifically Irish product. However, these are modern geographical references to a people who share a common Celtic ancestry and consequently, a common musical heritage.

Images for kids


Celtic music Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.