What Makes Music Celtic?

Every musical sound 

Has something that makes it distinct from other music genres. Country and Western music is often associated with a southern twang to the vocals and guitar playing. Rock and roll is associated with a lot of repetitive chords, a heavy beat and so on.

Jazz has its musical flavor which keeps it distinct from Rhythm and Blues, while the waltzes of Strauss use different musical techniques to separate it from popular classical music.

Celtic music is no different and it has its own musical composition to keep it distinct from every other musical genre in existence today.

The technical aspect of Celtic music 

They say that if you can play 3 chords, you can play almost all of classical rock tunes. How true that statement is, is still under deliberation. With Celtic music though it is not that simple.

Celtic music uses a 6/8 time and usually the instruments play in unison and not in harmony. While some Celtic musicians do play their instruments without help, most Celtic musicians play in a group.

Some Celtic music also uses mixolydian and dorian modes with some of the pentatonic scales added in. The music does repeat a lot so Celtic musicians depend on ornamentation to make the music sound original and lively.

Celtic jigs and reels can be played in two parts and those parts have a variety of styles that can be applied to the music. Then the role of the musician is not to play a harmonic progression but to add his or her own color to the tune.

It may be folk music and it may not be 

Trying to classify Celtic music into a particular genre is quite difficult. It is a lot like folk music as we understand it but then it is not completely folk music. Celtic music can be labeled traditional music but with the inventiveness and unique contributions artists apply to the music, there is always a modern touch to its sound.

What also makes Celtic music unique is that there are no formal rules to follow that make Celtic music Celtic. From its origins, the music was not written down but passed from one generation to another through oral tradition.

This gave the musicians a lot of leeway in how to play their own traditional music and allowed them the freedom to experiment with other musical influences. Plus, each student is taught to play traditional Celtic instruments by ear.

This style of learning to play allowed for more experimentation and innovation. The common instruments used in traditional Celtic music are the fiddle, harp and flute.

This style of learning to play allowed for more experimentation and innovation. The common instruments used in traditional Celtic music are the fiddle, harp and flute.

Last verse

What makes Celtic music, music? Probably the heart and soul that goes into playing traditional Celtic tunes. Without those elements, Celtic music may come off flat, out of tune and very stale.

The love for their heritage also influences Celtic music elevating it to its own genre and style of playing.