The Instruments
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The "base" instrument in Celtic music is the human voice, and this confirms the fact that folk music stretches naturally towards melody and not towards harmony (1). The musical instruments nearer (from a expressive point of view) to the human voice are the violin (fiddle), the flute, the tin whistle and the pipes (bagpipes in Scotland, uilleann pipes in Ireland). It's impossible to play chords on the flute or the tin whistle, and even if it's possible to play them on the fiddle, they are seldom used this way in Celtic music. The only instrument from the Celtic musical tradition where chords are possible is the Celtic harp; so important is this instrument, that over the centuries the same has become the symbol of Ireland.

The pipes constitute a particular case, because they have a bass system (drone) and the possibility (limited) of playing some chords, but they are used only occasionally, and more for harmonic than rhythmic effects, so it is reasonable to also classify the pipes as a melodic more than harmonic instrument (2). Other instruments used in Celtic music are the button-accordion, the concertina and (very rarely) the harmonica. On these instruments it's possible to play chords but (as for the pipes) they are used more for rhythmic emphasis than for the accompaniment. The typical percussive instrument is the bodhrÓn (3).

The Internet has many web sites dedicated to the use of these instruments (where to acquire them, technical advice, maintenance, etc). Here are the more interesting ones, divided for single instrument:


bulletCˇr Gaeilge Texas about Gaelic singing.
bulletStyles of Irish traditional singing, from the archive of Gaelic Songs.
bullet Bluffer's guide to Sean-Nos singing, from "Living Tradition" magazine.


bulletBibliography of the fiddle, by Richard Mende.
bulletFiddle page, by George Keith.
bulletThe Fiddler's Companion, with an index of approximately 35,000 fiddle tunes.
bulletDonegal style of Larry Sanger. It covers the fiddle techniques in the Irish region of the Donegal.
bulletProfiles of solo techniques of some Irish fiddlers, by Bernie Stocks.

Mandolin - cittern - bouzouki


Han's Irish Bouzouki Homepage

bulletMandolinking another web site about the mandolin.
bulletDan Beimborn's field guide about the various types of mandolins.
bulletBy the same author, mandolins, about Gibson models.
bulletFretted instruments in Celtic music, by Michael Robinson.




BohdrÓn Tutor: The secrets of the BodhrÓn 


The BodhrÓn Page


Concertina - Accordion - Harmonica


bulletAccordion Website by Phoebe Sengers. newsgroup.
bulletConcertina FAQ by Chris Timson.
bulletToby Koosman's concertina resources
bulletConcertina pages concertinas: the details of their construction, and how to repair them, by Don Nichols.
bulletConcertina.Net contains much information about Anglo Concertina and Irish music.
bulletAnglo Concertina site by Dave Glenn.
bulletHarmonica newsgroup
bulletHarmonica  discography in Irish music
bulletIrish Squeezebox page about  button accordions.


Tin whistle


Sessioneer Web Site

bulletCeolas Tin Whistle guide. Text written in 1994 containing much comparative information about several branches of tin whistles.
bulletBill McKenty's whistle site, very interesting.
bulletTin Whistle Online Recordings by David Walker.
bulletHow to construct a Tin Whistle.
bulletMike Simpson's 'Semi-Comprehensive Whistle Guide" a page rich in information.
bulletThe Clarke Tin Whistle homepage.
bulletWhistling Low web site dedicated to the low whistle.
bulletThe Whistler's Page.
bulletWhistler L.E. McCullough's website.
bulletSounds of the Irish Tin Whistle page about tin whistle recordings, with a good links page.
bulletChiff and Fipple


Uillean pipes & Bagpipes


The Uilleann pipes

bulletBagpipe FAQ
bulletBagpipe Web
bulletDavid Daye's Bagpipe site, on bagpipes and uilleann pipes.
bulletBagpipe teachers list of bagpipes teachers.
bulletUilleann Pipe Information
bulletUilleann pipe discography
bulletSpanish gaita bagpipes (about Galitian pipes).
bullet Irish Pipe Band Association.
bulletThe Pipers Corner, contains tunes and technical information for pipers.
bulletMake your own uilleann pipes!
bulletDavid Williams' Accessories for Bagpipe. on the Scottish bagpipes.
bulletEverything about Northumbrian small pipes.
bullet Highlandnet (list of pipes bands). 
bulletThe newsgroup.



bulletCeolas Flute Guide cured by Brad Hurley.
bulletRob Greenway's Irish Flute Pages about styles and techniques of playing; good the links.
bulletThe Flow web site for flute players, focused on the different musical styles.
bulletLark in the Morning: notes on the  Maintenance and Repair of the flute.


Celtic Harp

bullet Harp FAQ
bulletHarp Archive
bulletA short history of the Celtic Harp.
bulletSome information on the story of the Celtic Harp.
bulletThe Enchanted Harp
bulletThe Harp Page everything about the Celtic harp.
bulletDid you find home a Celtic harp, but you don't know how to begin to play it? This web site is what you need: a method for Celtic harp: Locksley's EZ Harp Method!


Hammered Dulcimer

bulletThe 'Official' Hammered Dulcimer Website.
bullet Kitchen Musician web site about the hammered dulcimer. 
bulletCliff Moses' HD workshop summaries, technical councils on the sound techniques for hammered dulcimer.


bulletIntroduction to Irish Banjo by Mick Moloney.
bulletProteus' Irish Tenor Banjo Site.

(1) adapted from Paul De Grae: Traditional Irish Guitar, page 9; (2) adapted from Paul De Grae: Traditional Irish Guitar, page 9; (3) adapted from Paul De Grae: Traditional Irish Guitar, page 9

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