Gaelic music before the beginning of the 19th century was passed on by ear, through playing or "port a beul". Written notation became a tool for learning tunes but was seldom used during a performance. After 1800 playing styles in Highland Scotland changed to this so called "correct note" form but in turn the soul was stripped from the music. In Ireland and dispora areas like Cape Breton the older Gaelic styles survived.
There have indeed been studies done of the Gaelic influence on the music of Scotland, Ireland, and Cape Breton. People such as Dr. John Shaw of the University of Edinburgh continue to do so.