Instruments mostly used!!!

Instruments that are used in Ireland!!!

All about the harp!!

The Celtic harp is one of the many instruments. Among the traditional instruments of Ireland is the harp, the symbol of the Irish Republic, and also of that country's most popular beverage - Guiness Stout!

The harp is a ancient instrument, with a history almost as old as 5,000 years. It has been used in Ireland for a little over 1,000 years, surviving periodic doldrums of persecution and social upheaval. Queen Elizabeth the first, who saw harpers as foci of local resistance to her rule, bid Lord Barrymore "hang the harpers wherever found and destroy their instruments". The queen was a tough critic.

The modern Irish harp stands about 4 feet high, and has 34 strings, as opposed to 47 strings on the modern orchestral harp. The so-called Neo-Irish harp, strung with gut or nylon, is the most popular. It's tone is soft, like water dripping into a crystal bowl. Contrast this with the penetrating, fuzzily resonant, bell-like tones of the wire-strung harp.

Uilleann Pipe

Bagpipes, while not quite as ancient as the harp, have been played in Ireland three or four hundred years longer. The bagpipe features a bladder made of leather that is inflated through a pipe by the breath of the musician. The inflated bag is held under the arm and pressed with the elbow to force air through several reeded pipes that are attached to the bag. The musician plays by alternately covering the various holes on one of the pipes, called the chanter, producing the melody. The remaining pipes are drones, each tuned to a single note, that provide a continuous background tone. Bagpipes were used mostly in armies to provide marching music.


Despite Bierce's rather puckish definition, most fiddles these days are strung with steel instead of gut or nylon. This difference, along with variations in technique, is all that really distinguishes the fiddle from the violin. It was first used in Irish music in the 17th century and has remained a popular fixture of Irish music ever since. Many distinctive regional styles have cropped up over the centuries, the most popular today being the quick-paced bowing of Donegal, although the music of other counties have also made their mark.

Tin Whistle & Flute

The high, shrill notes of the tin whistle have long been a fixture of traditional Irish music. It is cheap to make and simple to play, and produces a wonderful music that is by turns lively or plaintive. Most tin whistles, or "penny whistles", as they are sometimes called, are metal cylinders, sometimes tapered, with a mouthpiece and six holes, or "stops". They've been used in Irish music since at least the 18th century, replacing the bone whistles that had been used from time immemorial.


In the early 19th century, Charles Wheatstone invented the symphonium, a brass-reeded instrument that was a precursor of the harmonica. In 1844 he modified it so that the air that powered the instrument was provided by a bellows, and the concertina was born. It was a generally popular instrument in the 19th century, and was even used in orchestras from time to time, but has been pretty much defined as a folk music instrument ever since. The concertina and the accordion, an instrument that works on a similar principle, are often used in Irish folk music.

Bodhrán & Bones

The bodhrán (pronounced bow-rahn) is a member of a class of percussion instruments known as "frame drums". The best are made from a sheet of treated goatskin stretched over a wooden frame. The older models had frames made of green wood and were liable to warp, so a crossbrace was added. Modern versions are often made of laminated woods that are less prone to this fault, although the crossbrace is often included to provide a handle for beginners. The instrument is held in one hand and played with a beater in the other. Styles of beaters vary, but it is commonly a wooden rod about 7 inches long, held in the center so that the player can strike the drum with either end. A decorative design of some sort will often be painted on the drum-head.