You Really Don't Know Irish Song, do you now ?

Most Irish of All ?

Think you know Irish music and song ?

Sean Nós, 'old style', Irish singers and

song have long been hidden. If you don't

know it - maybe you should at least know

a little bit about it. At first glance, here is

what I have picked up about it. Best you

research it for yourself .....

It is the oldest form of Irish singing I know


What Sean Nós is

The best way to find out is to listen to some

real Sean Nós singers. The term was first

used in the 20th century to describe the old

Irish way of singing. That was a song generally

sung solo and in the Irish language, with a

particular style, which varied according to locale

and individual in Ireland.

The Irish Culture

It is a link to the lost culture of the Irish going

back for centuries. Queen Elizabeth must have

been impressed, for she had several of the songs

written down. Of course, that would have been

difficult, as this Irish form of song did not follow

the rules of other forms of musical notation.

17th century loss

As the bards began to disappear in Ireland, and

the Irish language and way of life fell under

increasing attacks, singers of Irish song were

under attack as well. This was the beginning

of the end of the old ways. The art form of

Sean Nós singing still survives, but most do

not know it really. ( myself included ).

What it is not

Here is what I hear said :

It is not English 'ballad' singing in style or form.

It is not like the 'Tin Pan Alley' songs in America.

It often tells a story.

Some describe it as 'saying a song'. (Joe Heaney )

It generally does not use standard increases and

decreases in singers volume level for emphasis.

It is not simply 'solo' singing.

Sean Nós Nua

Today most accept songs sung in the English


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