Traditional Irish Music

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Traditional Irish music was once the most popular music in Ireland. New styles of music became more popular during the 20th century.

The -Four Star Trio-
Courtesy Terry Moylan

Some of the earliest Irish music is for the harp. This music is from the 16th century. However, a lot of Irish music was created in the last three hundred years.

Irish music and songs were not usually written down. Instead, adults taught children to play the music by ear. The children learned the songs by heart. Learning the music in this way is called the 'oral tradition'.

Edward Bunting was the first person to write down harp music. This was at the Belfast Harper's Meeting in 1792.

A lot of traditional Irish music comes from European music. For example, the dance tune of the reel came from Scotland. Other European music also became part of the traditional Irish music style. For example polkas and waltzes.

Today, Irish music is very popular around the world.