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Beautiful Celtic Music for St. Patrick's Day

Updated on June 25, 2014
Beautiful Celtic Music for Irish Lovers
Beautiful Celtic Music for Irish Lovers | Source

St. Patrick's Day is Just Around the Corner

Many people are already preparing their St. Patrick's Day parties. Whether you're planning on having some green beer or dressing up as a leprechaun this St. Patrick's Day, you'll want to add some Irish or Celtic music to your party to add ambiance and flare to the occasion.

Celtic Woman is one of the most amazing choirs you'll have an opportunity to hear, and this page highlights their music so that you can choose to purchase their CDs (or mp3s) as background music for your party or as a highlight.

You will also find information about traditional Irish instruments (and where to purchase them) throughout this hub in order to allow you to play your own music for St. Patrick's Day (or any occasion when you desire to have Irish or Celtic music being played).

This hub is also filled with beautiful photographs of Ireland for those who are visually inclined. Enjoy the videos, the photos, and the music!

Sally Gap, Wicklow Ireland
Sally Gap, Wicklow Ireland | Source

Choosing Music for Your St. Patrick's Day Party

As it is celebrated in the American Tradition, St. Patrick's Day is an upbeat celebration of the Irish in America. Most people dress in green to honor the saint and some even choose to dress up as leprechauns or as St. Patrick himself!

This is a day for parades and spending time in the pub with your Irish friends and family. Even non-Irish folks get to celebrate Ireland on this day!

The music is an important part of establishing an atmosphere for your St. Patrick's Day party, and you want to choose music that represents the emotions you're attempting to evoke at your party.

From downbeat flute or harp music to upbeat fiddle music, you have choices that will affect the mood of your party.

The streets of Dun Laoghaire
The streets of Dun Laoghaire | Source

Have you seen a Celtic Woman concert in person or on television?

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Celtic Woman: An Irish Choir

If you've never heard Celtic Woman perform, you're missing out on something special. The next time that one of their concerts comes available on the television, spend some time watching, if you enjoy Irish music and the beautiful Celtic backdrop they commonly use. Nothing compares to Celtic Woman, and even if you don't enjoy their music, there's sure to be a woman in your life who does!

Much of the music performed by Celtic woman is performed in the original Gaelic, making it all that much more special. Even if you can't understand the Irish language, these songs are beautiful, and one must confess that the language itself is enchanting.

Hit play on the video below to listen to music by Celtic Woman. This is a full album, and plenty of music to keep you occupied while you read the rest of this page. Of course you'll have to stop it to listen to any of the other sample music on this page, but it's worth it.

You can purchase the same album on Amazon from the link below the video.

Celtic Woman: Songs From The Heart
Celtic Woman: Songs From The Heart

This is the live version of the Songs from the Heart concert by Celtic Woman. If you've heard and enjoyed their music but have never heard them sing, you should seriously consider purchasing this DVD so that you can watch them perform. They are beautiful and so vivacious!

 
Mairead Nesbitt, Celtic Woman
Mairead Nesbitt, Celtic Woman | Source
Mairead Nesbitt on the Fiddle
Mairead Nesbitt on the Fiddle | Source

Celtic Instrument: Fiddle

If you've listened to the music above (or if you're currently listening to it), at some point you're going to hear fiddle music in the background. Fiddle, Harp, Banjo and Flute are probably the most recognizable musical instruments in Irish music. For those looking to play (or learn to play) one of these instruments, the fiddle is perhaps one of the most difficult to learn, but also one of the most impressive.

The fiddle produces an up-beat music that is excellent for spirited parties but is also very traditionally Irish. It makes a great instrument for Irish performances and for your party. You can listen to a sound sample below (including a banjo as well) and decide if fiddle music is right for your party.

(I still recommend Celtic Woman.)

Pro 4/4 Full Size Advanced Model Violin Fiddle W/ Bow Case
Pro 4/4 Full Size Advanced Model Violin Fiddle W/ Bow Case

This student violin (fiddle) is the most highly-rated violin on Amazon, and is hand-made and allowed to air dry for four years. An excellent instrument for advanced students!

 
Mel Bay Complete Irish Fiddle Player Book/Cd Pckg
Mel Bay Complete Irish Fiddle Player Book/Cd Pckg

80 traditional tunes for those wishing to play Irish fiddle for St. Patrick's Day. Lots to learn, but a very extensive collection. Includes a book and CD.

 

Fiddle and Banjo Music

Celtic Banjo Player
Celtic Banjo Player | Source

You can hear a sample of banjo music being played in the sample above with the fiddle.

Celtic Instrument: Banjo

The banjo is another highly upbeat instrument that produces traditional Celtic music. It is a relatively easy instrument to learn to play and produces amazing results in the experienced hands of someone who has training on the strings.

If you're looking for a good, up-beat instrument to play at your St. Patrick's Day party, the Banjo is an excellent choice of instruments, and it does pair beautifully with the fiddle (as evidenced in the video above).

A sample banjo has been illustrated below on Amazon, and you can purchase your banjo there, or by looking at Guitar Center or another stringed instruments store.

Deering Goodtime 2 19-Fret Tenor Banjo
Deering Goodtime 2 19-Fret Tenor Banjo

The reviews on this banjo are fantastic -- out of this world! I'm tempted to purchase one for myself, as my hands struggle with guitar due to the width of the neck. This is a four-stringed instrument, and very Irish. If you're looking or a banjo and want to purchase on Amazon (perhaps for their return policies, as one reviewer states), then this is the banjo to buy!

 
Celtic Harp Player
Celtic Harp Player | Source

Harp Music

Celtic Instrument: Harp

Harps come in a number of sizes and are almost invariably beautiful instruments both to view and to listen to. Their sound most closely resembles that of the piano (another stringed instrument, though many think of it as percussion).

Large floor harps are the tradition, and you can listen to a sample from one of these instruments to the right. If you're looking to learn the harp, you'll probably learn on one of these larger models, though types of harp that fit on the table or in your lap are also available for those who prefer something smaller.

Minstrel Harp (Vine Engraving) - Case & 2 FREE Play Books
Minstrel Harp (Vine Engraving) - Case & 2 FREE Play Books

This is a large harp, standing roughly 38" high. You can find smaller harps on Amazon, but this harp is highly rated and in a traditional size. It comes with a Celtic design on its body and with a storage case.

 

Accordion Music Sample

Accordion Music is very Celtic
Accordion Music is very Celtic | Source

Celtic Instrument: Accordion

The Accordion, and also the Concertina, are Celtic instruments. The music sample above is a great illustration of how the accordion sounds with Irish-style music. It's not an easy instrument to learn to play, however, and it's particularly expensive. If you're looking to learn to play the accordion, you're strongly recommended to check out your local music store.

Accordion (and Concertina) music is different from most of what you'll hear on this page, so get to know the sound before deciding that you want to have accordion music at your party. Its sound is unique, but doesn't necessarily mesh well with the other traditional Irish sounds.

Traditional Irish Flute
Traditional Irish Flute | Source

Celtic Instruments: Flute, Fife, Penny Whistle, Pan Pipes and Ocarina

While each of these four instruments makes a different sound, they are all, in essence, flutes. They are played similarly to one another, though each takes different skills to learn. If you've been listening to the Irish Woman soundtrack for this page, you'll have heard the flutes in the background.

My personal favorite of these instruments is the Ocarina, but I also play the traditional flute and can play a penny whistle. Their sound is sharp, clear, and high-pitched (even the tenor and bass instruments are generally higher than other instruments), and they make an excellent background to your Irish St. Patrick's Day music.

The instrument (which should be) shown to the right is a traditional Irish wood flute, or fife (fyfe). It produces a very clear note which is very different from the traditional flute many people are used to hearing and playing. If you already play flute, you should pick this instrument up quickly, but it will take some practice as it operates differently.

Alternatively, you may prefer the traditional flute. This is not an easy instrument to learn to play at first, and you must have the physical stamina to hold the flute at a particular angle with good posture, but it is a highly rewarding instrument (and one which I personally play). The Yamaha and Gemeinhardt brands are recommended.

The instrument displayed to the right should be a Yamaha flute, as this is my preference in instrument brands. Be sure to shop around a bit, and consider attending a music store for help from a professional when choosing your instrument. There's no shame in purchasing pre-played either!

Final Words for Playing Your Own Music on St. Patrick's Day

If you choose to play your own music for your St. Patrick's Day, make sure that you're in good practice before you stand up on stage. All of these instruments require a lot of work to learn to play well and the last thing you want to do is to embarrass yourself while standing in front of an audience.

My recommendation is to hire a professional or to play music available on CD or mp3. This way you can enjoy mingling and drinking at your party without risking embarrassing yourself. If, on the other hand, you really want to learn to play one of these instruments, I highly recommend any of the listed flutes: Fife, Flute, Penny Whistle, Ocarina or Pan Pipes. They are my favorites!

Guitar is also a classically Celtic instrument, and one you're probably already familiar with, so if you can play, consider choosing guitar!

© 2014 Becki Rizzuti

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      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      The Aria is a Lovely instrument. I have a Fairy Ring Mushroom Company rectangle 11 hole wooden ocarina that is Alto C and I have a Soloist Plastic Triple. My latest addition is a tiny Focalink Pendant Soprano 6 hole that I wear almost everyday. I'm having to learn the different English fingerings of the pendant now. And am working on playing the easy hymns with the second octave on my triple instead of the lowest easy notes like the basic 12-hole. If you are on Facebook you can find me there and there are Facebook groups that you can be involved with and learn much from them. Ocarinists are some of the friendliest people on the planet, you will find. Welcome also to the ocarina community as well. Bob.

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      I am also learning the Ocarina. Mine's an Aria Tenor C.

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      Robert E Smith 3 years ago from Rochester, New York

      Welcome to the writing community here at HP. I think you summed up the instruments well and made me wish to at least try them all. I don't think anything will ever touch my heart like the sound of the ocarina. Such an ancient instrument with such a long and varied history. My introduction was to the 12 hole alto C. Before I had the instrument in my hand I had looked up the fingerings of it online. I could "play" the instrument by the time it arrived in the mail. I found myself taken to the place that was my "safe place" as a child. It was heavenly. Now I am being brave and venturing forth from my safe place to learn the 6 hole fingering system of the English ocarina and the expanded range models. I have a triple octave ocarina that will take me a moment to learn. I am convinced that the ocarina is the most beautiful sounding instrument ever created. That is not a musician talking. It is just the praises of an old man that has had a dream fulfilled of singing to God with a beautiful "voice." Thank you. Bob.

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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you so much everybody!

    • oceansnsunsets profile image

      Paula 3 years ago from The Midwest, USA

      Wonderful hub, and so timely too! Happy St. Patricks Day! How great to explore the music of the Irish. Thank you for sharing.

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 3 years ago from the short journey

      Congrats on your Hub of the Day award highlighting Celtic music--a neat gift on this holiday for you and for the rest of us.

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Darn tootin!

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      retief2000 3 years ago

      Mairead Nesbitt is a little elfin heart thief, I know she stole mine the first time I saw her play.

    • beckisgiftguides profile image
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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you everybody!

    • swilliams profile image

      Emunah La Paz 3 years ago from Arizona

      Very interesting article I love Celtic music. I recall the artist Sting singing fields of Gold as well, I love that song! Great article! Voted up.

    • vandynegl profile image

      vandynegl 3 years ago from Ohio Valley

      This is great information! I have heart of some Celtic music and have been interested in listening, but have never got around to it! Maybe this hub should get me going! Thanks for sharing!

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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you both so much! Hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick's Day!

    • lmoyer92 profile image

      Leon Moyer 3 years ago

      Congrats on the Hub of the day! Of all the music you have on here, I'd actually have to say I found the fiddle and banjo video the most interesting.

      I think being able to play either of those instruments would increase anyone's popularity by about 300% ;D

    • Thelma Alberts profile image

      Thelma Alberts 3 years ago from Germany

      Congratulations on the HOTD. Happy St. Patricks Day! I love Celtic music. Thanks for sharing this article to us and this awesome music, too. A pint of Guinness for you. Sláinte!

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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you so much for stopping by, Beth! I'm glad that you were able to enjoy it. I love classical Irish tunes, particularly if there's a lot of fiddle and banjo!

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      Beth Perry 3 years ago from Tennesee

      Great article on Irish music and instruments. I like Celtic Woman, and often listen to them. But I think my favorite band/groups to listen to on St. Paddy's Day are Clannad and Steeleye Span.

      Voted up and enjoyed.

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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Thank you Jess! Make sure that you check out a live performance of Celtic Woman, even if you can only do it on television or video. They are so fantastic, I can't even tell you. Visually amazing as well as aurally wondrous.

    • JessBraz profile image

      JessBraz 3 years ago from Canada

      Awesome hub. I was browsing through the recent hubs posted and this one caught my eye. I love Celtic music. :) I've never heard of Celtic Women before. Thanks for including the video, made it much easier for me to check out their music. :)

      I love anything with a fiddle, banjo or bagpipes in it. Some people seem to find Celtic music too sad, but I personally find it very upbeat. It always puts a smile on my face. :D

      One of my favourite bands is the Barra-McNeils from the east coast of Canada. I took my mom to see their Christmas concert last year and they were awesome. I'm also partial to the "punk" style of Celtic music (i.e The Dropkick Murphys, Flogging Molly, The Real MacKenzies.. Though some people don't consider that "true" Celtic music)

      This is a very lovely hub. Lots of great info and great photos/videos. Lovely job! Voted up!

      Cheers,

      Jess.

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      Becki Rizzuti 3 years ago from Indianapolis, Indiana

      Suzanne, I used to have the most beautiful CD of instrumental Celtic music. One of my all-time favorites. I miss it, but it was stolen several years ago. I'd love to find it again. If I can figure out which CD it was, I'm going to add it to this page so that others can enjoy it.

      I don't know about you, but Celtic music is probably my all-time favorite. I'm hoping to learn to play some Celtic instruments here soon. I already play flute (as I mentioned in the hub) but I want to learn to play the music I love the most, you know?

      Happy St. Patrick's Day! (In a month haha)

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 3 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Useful and timely hub for St Patrick's Day! To get into the spirit of it all, I'm going to put on The Davidson Brothers - "1000 miles" which is instrumental Celtic Music and so beautiful! I do like having Irish music around me. Voted awesome. x