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Celtic music

Nerd 29 Jan 05 - 07:01 PM
Goose Gander 29 Jan 05 - 03:26 PM
Goose Gander 29 Jan 05 - 03:06 PM
Nerd 29 Jan 05 - 01:08 PM
GUEST,Chanteyranger 29 Jan 05 - 12:57 PM
GUEST 29 Jan 05 - 09:43 AM
Goose Gander 29 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM
Nerd 29 Jan 05 - 02:04 AM
Nerd 29 Jan 05 - 01:53 AM
GUEST,Michael Morris 29 Jan 05 - 12:21 AM
GUEST 28 Jan 05 - 11:43 PM
Nerd 28 Jan 05 - 11:36 PM
GUEST,Michael Morris 28 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM
Nerd 18 Jan 05 - 11:00 AM
Boab 18 Jan 05 - 02:19 AM
chris nightbird childs 17 Jan 05 - 10:14 AM
belfast 17 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM
Peter Kasin 17 Jan 05 - 03:54 AM
Beer 16 Jan 05 - 09:11 PM
Nerd 16 Jan 05 - 06:10 PM
Peter Kasin 16 Jan 05 - 12:56 PM
Nerd 16 Jan 05 - 12:41 PM
GUEST,confused, and crap at history 16 Jan 05 - 01:30 AM
Malcolm Douglas 16 Jan 05 - 01:23 AM
Kaleea 16 Jan 05 - 12:48 AM
GUEST,shite at history 16 Jan 05 - 12:34 AM
Nerd 16 Jan 05 - 12:25 AM
GUEST 15 Jan 05 - 03:37 PM
chris nightbird childs 14 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM
Peter Kasin 14 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM
chris nightbird childs 14 Jan 05 - 12:54 AM
Peter Kasin 14 Jan 05 - 12:50 AM
chris nightbird childs 14 Jan 05 - 12:37 AM
number 6 13 Jan 05 - 09:55 PM
belfast 13 Jan 05 - 08:46 PM
GUEST 13 Jan 05 - 05:58 PM
shepherdlass 13 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM
Peter Kasin 13 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM
greg stephens 13 Jan 05 - 01:24 PM
Nerd 13 Jan 05 - 01:10 PM
GUEST 13 Jan 05 - 06:26 AM
chris nightbird childs 12 Jan 05 - 11:07 PM
McGrath of Harlow 12 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM
Bert 12 Jan 05 - 07:55 PM
chris nightbird childs 12 Jan 05 - 07:45 PM
Bert 12 Jan 05 - 07:17 PM
mooman 12 Jan 05 - 07:02 PM
michaelr 12 Jan 05 - 06:57 PM
Eric the Viking 12 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM
shepherdlass 12 Jan 05 - 04:17 PM
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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 07:01 PM

Michael,

I am mostly aware of the Pennsylvania German songs (aka PA Dutch--but they are really Germans and Swiss-Germans, not Dutch from the Netherlands), through my teacher Don Yoder, who collected two books of PA German folk songs, Songs Along the Mahantongo and Pennsylvania Spirituals.

Other collections include Henry L. Fisher's 's alt Marik-Haus mittes in d'r Schtadt and Kurzweil und Zeitfertreib odder Pennsylfanisch-deutsche Folkslieder.

Most of the collectors who worked in Pennsylvania, including George Korson and Alan Lomax, recorded at least some songs and music from the PA Germans.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Goose Gander
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:26 PM

By the way, I was probably oversimplified Bayard's comments. He simply meant that German fiddlers in Pennsylvania absorbed a great deal of Scottish / Irish music. When he studied the instrumental music of the region, he found those elements predominated among musicians of varied ethnic and cultural backgrounds. He did acknowledge stylistic elements and some tunes traceable to German forms and styles. To my knowledge he did not look at vocal music, so that's another area to look at.

That being said, I would argue that specically German influences in Pennsylvania remained regional and do not show up much in the wider American musical tradition. But maybe it's there and I'm too ignorant or tone-deaf to hear it.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Goose Gander
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 03:06 PM

That's an interesting suggestion. Could you give some examples? I'll have to plead ignorance on this point because I really don't know much of anything about that music.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 01:08 PM

We don't fundamentally disagree, Michael. I did say that "the panpies or quills seem to have been independently invented by Native Americans and continental Europeans," for example. So I don't see how you construe that I suggest the Irish got them from the Native Americans. The panpipes are an ancient instrument, as you say, and were developed in continental Europe before the Celts left there, so if the Irish have them no doubt they were brought from Europe. That said, I have never seen an Irish musician playing them.

When you say "no substantial German-American folk music heritage to speak of" you hedge twice, with "substantial" and "to speak of." One cannot know precisely what this means, because it depends on what the individual considers substantial and what he considers worth speaking about. Debby McClatchy did not want to leave out the importance of German-derived tunes from her brief article on Appalachian music; apparently she found it substantial and worth speaking of. If you look at Alan Jabbour's collections of fiddle tunes at the Library of Congress, he mostly cites British and Irish sources for fiddle tunes, but there are French examples, and there are types of tunes like the Schottische that are fairly common and obviously German-influenced.

In most parts of America the British and Irish music was indeed very influential. But the evidence you give is the following: "Go back and listen to early 20th century recordings of mountain music, dust bowl music, etc. and you will notice how much of it is strictly vocal. Regardless of what instruments they employ, the melodies and lyrics draw first from British sources and then from North American derivations of that tradition."

Okay, I'm listening. I don't disagree that the direct source of many of these songs is British. But many of the ballads (for example) entered English as translations of older Scandinavian, French, or German songs. So if you hear Lee Monroe Presnell singing "The Two Sisters" as I am doing now, you must consider that he is influenced by Britain but also ultimately by Scandinavia. Is it an "anglo-Celtic" song? In one sense yes, in another sense no. Child would not have called it that, but would instead have pointed out its long European history, its anglo-saxon language, and would have left it at that. For him it was anglo-saxon first, indo-european second, and the Celts be damned! (He was, of course, first and foremost an English scholar, then a Germanist who studied with the brothers Grimm, then primarily influenced by the Dane Svend Grundtvig...so his own biases were involved too!)

Speaking of biases, much of our understanding of Appalachian music comes from the early collectors like Sharp. We must remember that they were English and wanted to see Appalachian people as transplanted English peasants. In his book "Blue Ridge Folklife," Ted Olson specifically states that Sharp's claims "ignored the other cultural influences in the region," and mentions Germans specifically; another folklorist who finds the German contribution worth mentioning.

When we talk about songs composed in America, like "Crawdad song" or "Groundhog," how does one arrive at the conclusion that this is an "American derivation of that [British] tradition"? It is in fact an American combination of many traditions, and I don't think any ethnomusicologist today would presume to claim they knew how "British" or "German" an American tune like "Groundhog" is in character.

By the way, I have lived for fifteen years in Pennsylvania, where there was subsantial German influence on the folk music, whatever Samuel Bayard said. The vocal music in large swaths of the state was expressed in German, not English, and based on German, not English melodies too. Bayard may not have been a Germanist, but German scholars like my own teacher Don Yoder, found plenty of German folk music alive and well in the twentieth century.

Again, I think our disagreements are minor. "Anglo-Celtic" works for me to describe some of the most important roots of American folk music in the appalachians. To be more thorough, one would have to call the music "Anglo-Afro-Celtic"; to be even more thorough, "Indo-Euro-Afro-Algonquin." This is the point our GUEST was humorously making a few posts back: there is theoretically no limit to how tightly one can bound off a segment of the continuum, or how loosely one can do so. If you want to say "anglo-Celtic," that's fine and may be useful. But it is also not the whole story, and could theoretically obscure other important influences. As long as we keep the continuum in mind, it doesn't matter that much how we label its regional subsets, and any of these labels is valid as long as

1) it serves its purpose and

2) it does not become reified and thus lead us astray, so that we think "anglo-celtic music" is a separate thing from, for example, "Scandinavian music."


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST,Chanteyranger
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:57 PM

The reason why I'm so insistent on the "Irish" sound in Irish music, whether from Donegal, or other counties, is that I hear melodic patterns in Irish jigs and reels that mark them with the quality that makes them Irish. The Celtic music world is indeed mixed with various musical influences, but one can hear the "core" of what makes music from one country different than another. Being a fiddler, I can also experience the feel of these differences in how the tunes are bowed and, and of the left hand embellishments that give these tunes their national flavor. As for the Shetland Islands a good point, that Shetland is not a nation. It still, though, has the qualities that differentiate it from its neighbors, though heavily influenced by its neighbors. It is like it is musically a nation, with its own distinctive sound.


Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 09:43 AM

Hi Michael Morris
..just maybe under estimating the influence of 19th Eastern European,
and European Jewish immigrant music on the evolving North American
folk culture ?


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Goose Gander
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 05:26 AM

First of all, I apologize for misquoting you and misunderstanding your basic point. But the phrase "tune types" is vague. I would have to say that reels, jigs, hornpipes, etc. in the forms most understood by musicians and fans did develop in the British Isles, and the forms and styles they have taken in North America are directly related to British forms and not continental forms. My argument about diffusion was based on my misreading of your comment. Again, I apologize. And I am not interested in racial/ethnic theories of music; my argument is based on culture and, specifically, regional cultures. So I return to my original point that the European antecedents of American music are primarily British in origin. Go back and listen to early 20th century recordings of mountain music, dust bowl music, etc. and you will notice how much of it is strictly vocal. Regardless of what instruments they employ, the melodies and lyrics draw first from British sources and then from North American derivations of that tradition. To that, add the substantial contributions of African-American musicians and you have the rudiments of American music. Yes, there were a lot Germans in the backcountry- millions of German immigrants came to North America in the 18th and 19th century- but there is very little in the American folk tradition that can be traced to Germany. Samuel Bayard wrote of hearing German musicians in German-speaking areas of Pennsylvania playing Irish and Scottish material. I honestly cannot explain this, but it stands as a fact: Despite a heritage of folk and art music, German-Americans adopted British and native North American forms in North America. There is no substantial German-American folk music heritage to speak of.

One last thing: Pan pipes are found in number of folk traditions; if you're suggesting that Irish musicians borrowed the instrument from Native Americans, that seems far-fetched. I do think there are parallels between Native American music and the older forms of British folk music; I think this is an example of parallel development


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 02:04 AM

By the way, Michael, I generally agree with you. In the proper context, "Anglo-Celtic" is comprehensible and useful. I was just pointing out that the same people who find "Celtic" incomprehensible and/or useless will have the same problem with "Anglo-Celtic." As you can see from earlier on in the thread, I am not one of them.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 01:53 AM

I said "most of the tune types," not "most of the tunes."

In other words, Jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, mazurkas, etc., do not seem to have originated with "Celtic" peoples.

I would agree with you that most of the individual tunes played in Ireland (for example) originated in Ireland, England, Scotland, etc.

I also never said anything about "linear" or "uni-directional"; as far as I can tell you made that up as some kind of straw man to attack. Sure, the English and Celtic traditions influenced everyone else too. This would only increase some people's annoyance with the idea of "Anglo-Celtic" music as a distinct category. If there is a continuum of interrelated musics which influenced each other, why draw a line around one part of the continuum and not another? That seems to be what is at stake with the use of "Celtic" music, (besides the misleading racial overtones of "Celtic," which offend some people, and which are also not solved by adding "Anglo-").

As for elements of Appalachian music that come from outside the British/Irish sphere, perhaps you can dismiss every single instrument with a facile "few transplanted instruments," but I can't. Not a single instrument played in the Appalachian tradition has its origin in Britain or Ireland. The violin in its current form is Italian, the Guitar is Spanish, the Dulcimer is Swiss or German, the Banjo is African, the panpies or quills seem to have been independently invented by Native Americans and continental Europeans, the harmonica is German/Austrian, the mouthbow/diddly bow African, etc., etc.   So these cultures obviously influenced the music, even if you can't say "this tune is Swiss."

As to individual tunes, I quote from a nice article by Debby McClatchy in the online magazine Musical Traditions. Note the part in boldface:

"There were other ethnic pockets in the southern mountains - mostly Czech, German, and Polish - but their music, as well as other cultural aspects, was generally assimilated in an effort to become more 'Americanized'. Still, many songs and tunes - for example, Fischer's Hornpipe - were of German ancestry and became anglicized over time."


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST,Michael Morris
Date: 29 Jan 05 - 12:21 AM

"Most of the tunes played in the 'Anglo-Celtic' tradition have their origins in countries neither Anglo nor Celtic"

Most of the tunes?
I have to seriously question you on this and ask for a whole lot of examples. There is an identifiable musical tradition (or set of overlapping traditions) in the British Isles that has strongly influenced American folk and popular music. As for French and German influences, I have to ask you to give examples as well. And I don't mean a few tunes or transplanted instruments, but a substantial body of material clearly traceable to continental Europe or elsewhere (and no trans-galactic theories, please). At the same time, you'll have to explain why these influences you argue for are linear and uni-directional. Everything I know about music tells me that musical diffusion between cultures and regions involves give and take.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:43 PM

Euro-Celtic ????

Celto-European????

World-Celtic ???

Celto-Calafragilisticexpialidocious ???????


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 11:36 PM

Not to mention German and other ethnicities in the Appalachians!

The only problem with the "Anglo-Celtic" designation is that even this is not a well-bounded tradition. Most of the tune types played in "Anglo-Celtic" music have their origins in other countries neither Anglo nor Celtic, and the French tradition (as a single example) has been a major influence on both Anglo and Celtic. So certainly "Anglo-Celtic" can be as useful a term as "Celtic" when you're talking about a group that plays English and Irish and Scottish music, but it doesn't solve the problems already inherent in "Celtic" (or "Anglo"). I say go ahead and use it, but the same people who get annoyed by "Celtic" will likely be annoyed by "Anglo-Celtic!"


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST,Michael Morris
Date: 28 Jan 05 - 07:37 PM

Would it be too simplistic to speak of an Anglo-Celtic musical tradition that takes into account the cross-fertilization and musical sharing / borrowing that obviously has taken place over national boundaries and across time and space? ('across time and space'- how's that for corny?) Coming from an American perspective, I was personally annoyed to read stuff by Cecil Sharp and others about 'English Folk Songs in the Southern Appalachians' and crap about pure-blooded anglo-saxons when musically the Appalachian tradition is a mess of Scots-Irish, English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, etc. influences and styles blending into something that has elements of all, but clearly is not one to the exclusion of the others. Something like this debate has gone on regarding the black / white origins and evolution of American musical forms and styles. As if it's one or the other....

Michael Morris


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 11:00 AM

Where Fintan's comment doesn't apply 100% to our discussion is in his statement that "few players would describe themselves as playing anything other than 'traditional' or 'Irish' music." He means, of course, few players of traditional Irish music. That's what his book is about, but we're talking about a broader community. There are plenty of players who might describe their playing differently. Take folks like Pat Kilbride, an Irishman in a primarily Scottish band. Scottish, Welsh, Breton players, etc, would describe their music differently, obviously. And there are many people in Canada, the US, Australia, etc, who play in bands that combine all these musics together. Those people definitely describe their own music as Celtic.

It may be that "Celtic" now denotes an unease with "Irishness," as Fintan claims, but as I said before, it did not initially. Initially, when you had ceilidh bands using the word "Celtic" in their names, it was an expression of Irish pride. Now it is often an acknowledgement that one's music is not strictly Irish or traditional, both of which are healthy admissions to make.

Another imprecision in Fintan's remarks is his claim that while Breton music is "different to" Irish music, Welsh, Manx, English and Scottish are "connected to" Irish music. In fact, Breton music strongly connected to Irish music as well, particularly since the 1960s but very much so before that as well.

Chanteyranger, we may indeed be fated to disagree. C'est la vie! It's a fun discussion nonetheless.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Boab
Date: 18 Jan 05 - 02:19 AM

To add a little to Malcolm's remarks re. Norman names---some of the prominent clans of Scotland are Norman in origin. Menzies [still pronounced "Mingus" by many Scots]Farquhar, Gordon, Fraser, Colquhoun are all "Norman" clans. My own surname [which remains a secret!!] is Norman, having been first recorded in Scotland in the 11th-12th century in the counties of Angus and Aberdeen [no ---I;m NOT an "Aberdeen Angus!!]


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 10:14 AM

Well, I think our Oakley described my music best as "Steeped in the tradition, while making new ground for the future"... I call it "Celtic Blues". That puts it in somewhat of a category, if you can even put a stamp on it.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: belfast
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 10:09 AM

This is what Fintan Valleley has to say on the subject. . .

Celtic music. Fanciful term which expresses a world-view or record-shelf category rather than actual links between music genres.
1. Indicates 'Irish' or 'Scottish' musics, but is increasingly used in Britain and the US to denote 'Irish', this suggesting discomfort with 'Irishness'. In Europe it may denote Breton or Galician music in addition to Irish, Scottish and Welsh. The music of Brittany is different to Irish music, but is within the playing and listening experience of many Irish traditional musicians. Isle of Man, England and Wales are connected cultures, but Scotland has particularly strong linguistic and music links with Ireland, as has the Scots-Irish diaspora in Canada (Cape Breton, Newfoundland, etc.)
2. More superficially the term 'Celtic' has come to apply to an easy-listening, 'mood' music with dreamy, non-specific but Irish/Scots flavour, marketed as 'relaxing', 'evocative', etc. Such albums are legion, and enjoy a large sale in the US where the Narada company produces many compilation and re-licensed collections—including the playing of such as Máire Ní Chathasaigh, John Whelan and Joanie Madden—while the Mercury label's 'Secret Garden' features Davy Spillane. Traditional players sometimes use the term also, probably to appeal to the pre-formed audience. (Seán O'Driscoll's solo album is titled Celtic Music, Shanachie's 90 per cent Irish song collection is Celtic Love Songs, Green Linnet's, with similar composition, is Celtic Women in Music and Song), but few players would describe themselves as playing anything other than 'traditional' or 'Irish' music.
Fintan Vallely, ed.
The Companion to Irish Traditional Music
New York University Press, 1999
pp. 64-65


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 17 Jan 05 - 03:54 AM

Nerd, I think we're just fated to disagree on this point, but I am glad for the level and tone of the whole discussion.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Beer
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 09:11 PM

What a great topic. Makes me think of the discussions that take place when asked the same question on "What is Folk Music?" The two words Celtic and Folk in terms of music will always have it's meanings argued. But what great music both have given us.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 06:10 PM

But Shetland is not a nation, which is kind of my point. Sometimes, regional distinctions within nations are what matters, so that Shetland music sounds distinct from Scottish music as a whole. Other times you can tell it's from a certain area but not what "nation" it comes from, as with the borders example I gave above.

That two styles as disparate as Donegal and Kerry fiddling both sound Irish to you is simply because you are accustomed to thinking of them that way. To most people, Irish music and Scottish music both sound like "Celtic music," which makes Celtic music a viable category by the same intuitive reasoning. But this is a habit of thought, not necessarily a feature of the music.

Still, there's nothing wrong with that...your logic for considering both styles "Irish" is precisely the general public's logic for considering Irish and Scottish and Welsh and Breton music to be "Celtic." I for one say you're both right...or as "right" as one can be in cases like this.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 12:56 PM

I do understand your point on the example of the Donegal and Kerry examples, Nerd, as they are both geographically and musically at opposite ends of the spectrum, as Kerry fiddle bowing tends to be more legato than the staccato, aggressive Donegal bowing, and that polkas and slides are not types of tunes native to Donegal, and germans, highlands, and lancers are not tune types native to any other part of Ireland except for a few Northwest counties. They are very distinct styles with little in common, but I still hear both styles as being very "Irish." The Donegal/Scottish connection seems a little like the Scottish/Appalachian connection, how Scottish tunes became "Irishized" in the hands of Donegal fiddlers (taking strathspeys, for example, and changing the rhythm), and how they became "Americanized" when they crossed the ocean. Another example that tells my ear that two separate styles are both very much part of a national music, is the West highlad/Eastern styles in Scottish music. The highland styles, strongly influenced by pipe music and "rougher" sounding, and the more refined, classical-influenced Eastern styles, are, like the Donegal/Kerry example, very disparate, but still, they both have those qualities that make both styles very much Scottish; very much a part of their national music.
   One more example that comes to mind is Shetland fiddling. Even with Irish influence, not to mention it's norwegian and Scottish roots, and, in the 20th century, swing jazz influence in accompaniment, the music makes one prick up the ears and say "that sounds like Shetland music."
So, this is a long way of saying that, taking into account all the different influences that shaped these countries music, whether over many years or in ecent times, and some very disparate styles within these countries, I think the "national" character of this music; what makes it "sound Scottish," etc. still holds true.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 12:41 PM

Malcolm,

I'll admit that there's more to it than amusing irony. But, I am easily amused! And, as an outsider, none of the negative effects alluded to by greg and other affects me. Those who are affected by the ill-feeling that sometimes surrounds the use of these terms may of course feel differently about the irony.

From a more academic perspective, it's a rather ridiculous argument anyway, as Malcolm and I have both noted; all of these western European folk music traditions are similar to begin with, and have influenced one another to boot, so that in the folk revival arena we might as well call all of it--or none of it--Celtic!


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST,confused, and crap at history
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 01:30 AM

@ Malcolm Douglas.. thanks.. excellent explaination..


but what about the chinese celts on tv documentaray.!!??


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Malcolm Douglas
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 01:23 AM

Norman French was never the language of the ordinary people; just that of the new aristocratic elite. The Normans were small in number. Essentially, they established themselves as a separate caste, which soon had the thrones of not only England, but also Scotland (Robert Bruce, for example, was Norman-French, not Scottish, by descent) and Wales.

It would seem that much the same had happened with the earlier Germanic immigration into Britain, though in that case the existing population had embraced the "new" language (though retaining a good bit of "Celtic" vocabulary -particularly placenames- and some structural elements). The "displacement" theory is some centuries old and now largely discredited, both on linguistic and (more recently) genetic grounds.

The main function of Norman French was in its mutating influence on "Anglo-Saxon", vastly widening its vocabulary and accelerating its development from an inflected to a non-inflected language. From Chaucer's time English in its "new" form replaced French as the Court language in both England and Scotland.

The term "Celtic", as applied to nationality as opposed to language or archaelogy, is relatively recent, gaining currency during the 18th and 19th centuries largely as a by-product of Romantic Nationalism. It is essentially meaningless as applied to music (and many other things): as has been suggested, a song or a person doesn't become "celtic" because they are found a few yards on the Scottish side of the (flexible) border, any more than they might cease to be if found a few yards on the English side. Lines on a map are not hermetic seals.

The whole idea of "separateness" is ridiculous. We live, and have lived for a thousand years and more, in a constantly evolving cultural continuum where national boundaries (including those with Ireland, I might add) have been geographical and political, but decreasingly (except where different languages have been involved, and much of the time not even then) cultural.

I'd disagree with "Nerd" on some of his comments (particularly where "irony" is concerned; there is a lot more to it than that), but that would be for another time.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Kaleea
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 12:48 AM

I didn't go into all those other instruments, as I just wanted to mainly address the ones he mentioned. I also play bouzouki (a variation of the lute) and bodhran, & feadog, & etc.
There will always be those who insist upon putting a label on things as abstract as Music or any other Art. I always hear "Irish" & "Scottish" & other "labeled" tunes in "Bluegrass" circles. The media decided that Music could be divided up into types and that was the end of when I could listen to Johnny Cash, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, Peter Paul & Mary, & lots more all on the same radio station. It's sad that we can't just enjoy Music as Music.
   I heard "The Unfortunate Rake" (and old Irish tune) with different lyrics the other day on an old Western movie. I sang an Irish Air in the form of a Hymn at church not too long ago. Just the other day, I saw some "Irish" musicians who were playing a well known jig which was from an "English" street play a couple centuries or so back. Then a friend asked to borrow my CD of a well known "Irish" Music group and the title song is an old "English" child's song/game. Come to think of it, that same group did a "Scottish" song, too.
    Oh well. If you're happy & you know it, yell out "Celtic!"


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST,shite at history
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 12:34 AM

i'm confused..

so how come we english aren't still speaking French [Norman conquest] ?

..and what about the ancient red haired tartan wearing mummies
discovered in China ?
[ swear blind i saw a TV documentary about them a few years ago ]


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 16 Jan 05 - 12:25 AM

Chanteyranger,

The case of Ireland may be a little different because it's an island, and hence has no borders with anyone else. But even so, an Irish fiddler from Donegal may well have more in common with a Scottish fiddler than with a Kerry fiddler, as I said above. Therefore, using their nationality to define the two Irish players as one type of musician and the Scot as a different type of musician has nothing to do with the music; it's an arbitrary shorthand.

This becomes more pronounced along political borders.   So a fiddle player from just one side of the English-Scottish border is likely to sound much the same as one from just the other side, hence people talk about music from "the borders." If you go into Europe, it's the same. Flemish and Dutch music aren't pronouncedly different, nor are Francophone Belgian music and French music. This is why I said that nationalities are not the best way to define music.

Greg, I'm not sure "Celtic" music was ever used specifically to exclude English music. When Irish groups started to use it, it was simply a synonym for "Irish," like the various sports teams called "Celtics" in both the UK and the US. Later it was used by musicians who purposely wished to play music from more than one country, like Stivell, who from the outset played Irish and Scottish and Welsh tunes along with his Breton ones. Because they were playing more than one country's music, they couldn't easily call their music "Breton" or "Irish."

Whether the term once excluded English music or not, it is definitely true that the term today is often used to INCLUDE English music, with groups like The House Band and Kathryn Tickell's group frequently referred to this way. This is defensible on a couple of levels. For one, although the Anglo-Saxons replaced British language with English language, there is no evidence that they had much effect on music (I should say no evidence one way or the other). GUEST's discussion of the Anglo-Saxon invasion is necessarily silent on the question of music, and merely claims that the "Culture" ceased to be Celtic. Well, the language did...but who knows which people's music had a stronger influence on what survived? There may in fact be an underlying Celtic stratum to English folk music.

Also, I think it's a nice irony that the countries that have acted as colonial powers oppressing the Celts historically (England and France) are now upstaged in the folk music world by their victims, so that English music gets called "Celtic" and Breton music is by far the best-known regional French style. Don't get me wrong: I'm both and Anglophile and a Francophile, as well as a Celtophile, but I do think the irony is sweet.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST
Date: 15 Jan 05 - 03:37 PM

History Fact Check
"The Romans invaded lowland Britain in AD 43 and conquered it over the next few decades. As imperialist's, the Roman Governor's chief concern was to exploit the conquered land. The mass of the native British workforce who spoke Celtic language(Celtic Britons) worked for their new masters as 'free', tied or enslaved in the villas, farms and villages which covered southern Britain. By AD 300 the population may have reached as much as four million.When groups of Anglo-Saxon immigrants-who spoke the Germanic ancestor of today's English language- settled in southern and eastern Britain they imposed themselves as masters on the native population."
Although the above may not be an academic definition of Celtic tribal displacement by the invading Anglo-Saxons, it sure was a major fracture in Celtic culture; one that never recovered. This differs from the Norman invasion of England in 1066 where it took three centuries to absorb that cultural genocidal shock but by about 1400 England got back to being English.   DHL


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 01:24 AM

; ) no problem


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 01:08 AM

Sorry, chris. After I pressed "submit" I realized I was being to touchy, and that there are others you might have meant anyway. It was a cross-mudcatization. Thanks.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 12:54 AM

Not talking about you Chantey. Your cross-fertilization theory is quite sustinct...


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 12:50 AM

How was I too quick to argue, and not discuss? I believe my post was part of a discussion, after Nerd's post was carefully considered.

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 14 Jan 05 - 12:37 AM

I agree with nerd, and if that was posted elsewhere it would have gotten a "rational" assessment...
Too many people here are too quick too argue, and not discuss.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: number 6
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 09:55 PM

Bravo Nerd !!

Well said indeed.

sIx


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: belfast
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 08:46 PM

I found Nerd's comments on this subject so rational that I had to check that I was still at mudcat. Then there's greg stephens' point that 'celtic' is simply a way of excluding or disrespecting English folk music. I hadn't considered this and indeed can see no evidence for it but it's worth thinking about.

Fintan Vallely,on the other hand, suggests somewhere that it's simply a way to avoid saying 'Irish'. I must see if I can find that reference. For myself I thought it referred to rather soupy and gooey (not very precise adjectives, I know) new-age type stuff. Imagine 'Danny Boy' played on panpipes.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 05:58 PM

who cares


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: shepherdlass
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 05:47 PM

Music and territory - it's a tricky bu**er, in't it?


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Peter Kasin
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 04:15 PM

I agree with alot of what you're saying, Nerd, except for your assertion that nationalities are not a good way to categorize music. Yes, there is more musical cross-fertilization than probably ever before, but still wouldn't you agree there are very pronounced distinctions made between, for example, Irish and Scottish music ,both in tunes and in the styles in which they are played, even with the melding of regional styles? Just thinking of fiddle music alone, one can see and hear distinct differences in how a tune is played. Thus, a "Scottish fiddler" is not necessarily a person from Scotland, but one who plays Scottish music, has learned from soaking in what Scotland's musicians have passed down, and presumably pays attention to Scottish style; the bowing patterns and embellishments that make the music "Scottish." Unless I misunderstood you, you see my point?

Chanteyranger


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: greg stephens
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 01:24 PM

Nerd: the complication is that you are defending the use of the term "Celtic music", but you are saying that the category includes English music. The trouble is, most people who started using this term didn't include English: they meant Irish, Scottish, Welsh, plus assorted others Breton/Cornish/ Galician etc. But specifically not English. The whole point of the term Celtic was to differentiate yourself from the English. Anyway, I think the term is useless and merely a provoker of ethnic/national hostility when applied to music as it has been in the past. Best kept for linguistic purposes, wjhen it has a precise and definable meaning and is not loaded with prejudice.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Nerd
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 01:10 PM

Wow, we've had this conversation on a number of occasions. Technically nowadays "Celtic" is a linguistic distinction, so "Celtic Music" is a misnomer. But it's at least as good as most of the other descriptions I've seen.

Whether one can talk about "Celtic" music or not is a subjective judgment, but some of the factual claims being made above are just not true. For example, labeling music "Celtic" did not begin as a marketing ploy to make money in the twentieth century, but as a statement of Irish pride among Irish people in both Britain and America at least as early as the 19th. The use of "Celtic" to express true ethnic pride is found today in Irish-American music (Celtic Thunder), Atlantic Canadian music (Celtitude), Scottish music (The Keltz), Breton Music (Heritage des Celtes), etc. These people aren't just cashing in, they're serious about what they do.

On an academic level, calling music "Celtic" is more or less meaningless...but so is calling music "Irish." After all, Irish music shares tunes with England and Scotland. More to the point, a Donegal fiddler may have more in common with a Scottish fiddler than with a Kerry fiddler. So either we just say "it's all music," or we try to come up with useful categories. Nationalities are NOT good ways to categorize music; you find the same songs, tunes, and instruments on both sides of most national borders in Europe.

To get to the specifically Celtic case, one of the things that happened in the 1960s and 70s was a certain blending of English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Breton, music traditions. Luke Kelly and Christy Moore spent considerable time in the English folk club scene; Andy Irvine sang "Willie O' Winsbury" with a Scottish accent; Ar Log listened heavily to the Chieftains; Alan Stivell played Scottish bagpipes while his father built a "Breton" harp on Irish plans; etc., etc. They did not do this merely to market themselves...I believe these people had a genuine love of music. In some cases, they were also acting out of a sense of Celtic ethnicity.

So what we end up with is a hybrid music. Sure, you could just say, "if the singer is from Ireland, it's Irish music," but that would be just as misleading. If a Scottish person is singing a linguistically Anglo-Saxon ballad to a Breton tune (like, say, Ray Fisher singing "Willie's Lady" to the tune of "Son Ar Chistr,") is it English? Scottish? Breton? If a Breton person is singing an Irish Gaelic song and playing the Scottish pipes with a French guitarist and an ethnically Dutch fiddler (as was the case in some of Stivell's bands), then what is it? Why NOT call it "Celtic?"


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: GUEST
Date: 13 Jan 05 - 06:26 AM

DHL,

The Anglo-Saxons did not displace the Celts in England but the culture did become Germanic. Look at the founders of the Anglo-Saxon dynasties and see how Celtic the names are.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 11:07 PM

As a matter of fact, there's a guy in that "King Arthur" film that LOOKS like Oaklet...


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: McGrath of Harlow
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 08:09 PM

They'd be Welsh in that case (or Cornish).


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Bert
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 07:55 PM

You're probably right Chris, although I was hoping someone would come up with half a dozeen songs that predate the influx of Saxons .


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: chris nightbird childs
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 07:45 PM

Probably about as much American as there is in Bluegrass music.
Wonder what Oakley thinks of all this...........


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Bert
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 07:17 PM

How much British (as opposed to Saxon) influence is there in English music?


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: mooman
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 07:02 PM

Nor the grandaddy of them all, the Festival Interceltique in Lorient!

Not being a purist but just having grown up playing Irish music, I don't really care what term is used...only about the music itself.

Peace

moo


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: michaelr
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 06:57 PM

It should be pointed out that two of the world's greatest music festivals - Celtic Connections in Glasgow, getting under way as we speak, and Celtic Colors in Cape Breton - have no problem using the term. Neither, one assumes, do the many world-class musicians performing there.

If it's good enough for them, who am I to quibble?

Cheers,
Michael


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: Eric the Viking
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 05:42 PM

Bloody right-bollox to the Normans, Norse rules here!! (I know the Normans were an off shoot from the earlier Norse tribes-but that don't matter!) Surely "Celtic" music, though I doubt anyone living has ever heard the true music of the ancient celts, is that which, for marketing purposes and also to give it a tag to deliniate it from "English" music, (Though what that is I'm sure would take a long debate)is derived from the songs and tunes of Irish/Scottish and Welsh countries? Or indeeed now written and played by people from these countries and copied by others. There is a certain quality about much Celtic music which is different to the English music of the folk genre. The use of Bodhran, pipes, mandola etc. It has got to be very dfficult to define exactly what "Celtic" music is, given so many external influences on the different countries.When I first started buying folk music in the sixties, there was never a label saying "Celtic" You were lucky if there was a label saying Folk.


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Subject: RE: Celtic music
From: shepherdlass
Date: 12 Jan 05 - 04:17 PM

Once upon a time, I sat down with my synth and decided to see how long it would take to cynically program a standardized, aromatherapy-shop "Celtic" track - laid down a couple of swooshy sounds and loads of synth-drones and in half-an-hour I had a version of "Danny Boy" that appealed to a lot of people in the commercial venues I was playing - and, yes, I put TONS OF REVERB on the live flute at said venues. Sad to say, I used it for years because it went down so well.

But then again ... There are LOADS of fantastic, real, gifted musicians out there who sometimes play under the banner of Celtic music, perhaps because they know the hype will help sell their perfectly valid and otherwise uncynical recordings, perhaps because they actually feel it's a reasonable description for music that comes from the fringes of Europe where the Celts settled (Brittany, Scotland, Ireland, Wales, Cornwall ...). Pierre Bensusan springs to mind as one of the more prominent examples. Surely in this case, it's a perfectly reasonable definition of music that touches on the traditions of all these areas?

I'd suggest that a modicum of common sense is called for. Listen to it. If it's called "Celtic" and is swooshy hyped rubbish, don't bother with it. If it's called "Celtic" and it's great music that speaks to you, then enjoy it.


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