Irish Music


Irish Music

Course Details:  ETHNMUS 91Z and 161Z, section 1

Director:  Aaron Bittel

The UCLA Irish Music Ensemble plays the traditional dance music of Ireland and the Irish diaspora. Its origins are in music played for dances, celebrations, and home entertainment in rural farming communities in Ireland. Today it’s played around the world, from Cape Town to Tokyo, Moscow to Buenos Aires. We also explore musical traditions closely related to Irish traditional music, such as those from Scotland, Québec, and New England. Each week, students learn instrumental dance tunes that can be linked together into sets, which form the basis of the music played informally in Irish pubs and provide the necessary rhythms for both Irish step-dancing and social dancing. Tunes are learned by ear rather than from sheet music. Instruments include whistle (aka pennywhistle or tinwhistle), flute, fiddle (aka violin), button or piano accordion, concertina, acoustic guitar, tenor (four-string) banjo, mandolin, and harp. No prior musical experience is required.

Sounds of Schoenberg: The Scottish Fiddle
WATCH: Georgia Broughton plays the Scottish fiddle in UCLA Irish Ensemble.
UCLA professor channels tradition and art with the Irish flute
WATCH: Ethnomusicology professor Timothy Taylor illustrates the precise art of playing the Irish flute.
Support the Ensemble and Keep the Music Playing!