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Learn About Irish Fiddle Music for Weddings

Many people enjoy the lively and energetic sound of Irish fiddle music. An interesting fact about traditional Irish fiddle music is that it was meant to be played for joyous occasions like weddings and other special events.

An Irish Wedding

The fiddle is an important instrument in both traditional and modern Irish music. The fiddle is the same instrument as the violin but is played in a different style. For each region in Ireland, there is a different style of fiddling. The most well-known fiddle traditions are from Donegal, Sligo, Sliabh Luachra and Clare.

Most people are familiar with the Sligo tradition of fiddle music, due to it being played by famous fiddlers such as Lad O’Beirne, Michael Coleman, John McGrath, James Morrison and Paddy Killoran, who popularized Irish music in the United States in the 1920′s and 1930′s.

Irish Fiddle

Contemporary fiddle players include Brendan Mulvihill, Paddy Cronin, Peter Horan, James Kelly, Martin Hayes, Caoimhín Ó Raghallaigh, Cathal Hayden, Paul O’Shaughnessy, Matt Cranitch, Frankie Gavin, Paddy Glackin, Mairéad Ní Mhaonaigh, Maire Breatnach and Gerry O’Connor. Notable American fiddlers include Winifred Horan, Liz Carroll and Eileen Ivers.

Not much is known about the composers of traditional Irish folk music, as much of it has been passed down from generation to generation without credit to the original writers. Irish traditional music for dancing was intended to be played at weddings, on saints’ days and for other special occasions.

Traditional Irish fiddle tunes are typically divided into two eight-bar strains, played as many times as the performer desires. Irish dancing is isometric; sixteen measures are known as a “step”, with eight for the right foot of the step and eight for the left. Traditional Irish dances and tunes include reels, hornpipes and jigs.

Music inspired by traditional Irish folk tunes has become very popular in recent decades. Van Morrison, Hothouse Flowers and Sinéad O’Connor have all made music featuring aspects of Irish folk music. The singer Enya has achieved monumental success with her fusion of New Age and Irish music. The Pogues were one of the first punk rock bands to blend Irish folk music into their songs. Their sound inspired American bands such as the Dropkick Murphys and Flogging Molly. Other noteworthy Irish bands include U2, who have also incorporated aspects of Irish fok music into their repetoire, as well as The Radiators From Space, The Boomtown Rats, My Bloody Valentine and the Cranberries.

Whether you are a fan of traditional Irish folk music or modern music with a folk twist, you are sure to enjoy the lively sound of an Irish fiddle. If you are interested in having Irish fiddle music for your wedding or other special event, contact us today.

An Irish Fiddle

( Posted on Saturday, December 13, 2008 at 11:31 pm )

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One Response to “Learn About Irish Fiddle Music for Weddings”

  1. [...] Learn About Irish Fiddle Music for Weddings « Perfect Music for …Dec 13, 2008 … Irish traditional music for dancing was intended to be played at weddings, on saints’ days and for other special occasions. … [...]

“Our wedding musicians did a fantastic job! They were wonderful to work with, and we were so happy with the mood they set for the reception. We did not want a DJ, because we didn’t want the guests to feel like it was prom night... the music was superb. They truly could not have done a better job.”

—Steve & Carmen, married June 14, 2003, Marysville Opera House, Seattle, WA

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