Maricopa Community Colleges  MHL149   20064-99999 

Official Course Description: MCCCD Approval: 2-28-2006

MHL149  2009 Spring - 9999

LEC  3.0 Credit(s)  3.0 Period(s)  3.0 Load  Acad

Traditional Irish Music

History and culture of traditional Irish music: instruments, styles, training, musical elements, performance venues, related arts and principal proponents of the music. Examines the musical culture of Ireland in the context of contemporary world music issues and the preservation of the tradition.

Prerequisites: None.


Course Attribute(s):

General Education Designation: Global Awareness - [G]

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MCCCD Official Course Competencies:


MHL149  2009 Spring - 9999

Traditional Irish Music



Describe the major characteristics of the music tradition and historical periods of musical development in Ireland. (I)


Explain the major regional styles (e.g., Ulster, Connacht, Munster and Leinster) and styles outside Ireland. (II)


Identify the major instruments used in the Irish musical tradition. (III)


Explain the ways Irish musicians are trained and the methods of passing on the tradition. (IV)


Analyze the context of traditional Irish performances. (V)


Identify the major musical elements (e.g., rhythm, harmony, melody, timbre, form/structure) in traditional Irish music. (VI)


Contrast the roles of music in related arts, such as theater, dance, and storytelling. (VII)


Illustrate the principal historical and contemporary proponents of the Irish musical tradition. (VIII)


Examine the major issues in the world music market and the preservation of the tradition. (IX)


Describe basic performance techniques using standard session repertoire. (X)

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MCCCD Official Course Outline:


MHL149  2009 Spring - 9999

Traditional Irish Music


I. Characteristics and History of Irish Music

A. Traditional music characteristics

1. Oral transmission

2. Cultural and national identity, authenticity

3. Relationship to Irish folk, classical, religious music

B. Historical periods

1. Prehistory and Celtic

2. Christianity, the bardic tradition, and the Gaelic order

3. Colonialism and Anglo-Irish patronage

4. 20th Century to present

II. Styles

A. Regional

1. Connacht--Sligo and Galway styles

2. Munster

3. Leinster

4. Ulster-Donegal style and Protestant music traditions

B. Other music styles

1. Irish classical and art music, religious music

2. America and the diaspora

3. Celtic countries

III. Instruments

A. Vocal

B. Strings: Fiddle and harp

C. Winds: Tin whistle, Irish wood flute, Uillean pipes

D. Percussion: Bodhran, drums, bones, other

E. Other melodic: Button accordion, concertina

F. Accompaniment instruments

1. Piano

2. Bouzoukee

3. Guitar

4. Other

IV. Role of the Musician and Transmission

A. Personal: Family and community

B. Formal: Schools, camps, festivals, competitions

C. Transmission: Recording and mass media

V. Musical Performance Context

A. Performance settings and venues

1. Fleadh and feis

2. Tiered competitions: County, region, province, national

3. Singer's clubs and sessions

4. Home, community center, church, concert hall

B. Instruments and players in performance

C. Guest artists and site visits

1. Role of the audience

2. Etiquette

VI. Basic Musical Elements

A. Melody, improvisation, ornamentation

B. Rhythm

C. Forms and structure

1. Dance: Reel, jig, hornpipe, air, polka, slide, set dance, etc.

2. Harp, classical and listening pieces

3. Vocal

a. Sean nos, the old style

b. Irish Gaelic songs/ballads, airs

c. Irish songs in English

d. Imported English, Scottish songs

D. Harmony

E. Timbre

F. Texture

VII. Related Arts

A. Theater, folklore and storytelling

B. Dance

1. Set dancing, ceili dancing, sean nos

2. Performance dance

VIII. Principal Proponents of Musical Culture

A. Historical

1. O'Carolan and harping tradition pre-1800

2. John McCormack from Athlone

3. Michael Coleman-Sligo

4. Sean O'Riada and the Ceoltoiri Chualann ensemble

5. 1950/60's revival-Makem/Clancy's, Chieftains

B. Contemporary Artists and Hybrid Variations

1. Rock

2. Pop

3. Jazz

4. Punk

5. Other

IX. Contemporary World Music Issues

A. World music markets and intellectual property

B. Traditional vs. modern tensions of commercialization

C. Preservation of traditional culture

X. Performance Techniques

A. Standard session repertoire

B. Instrumentation, vocals, ensembles, arrangements


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