Celtic music/Talk

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The term is also rather geographically inaccurate, and is often used to refer to music which originated in regions which can not really be considered to be Celtic.


I'm not averse to the point you're making, but--for example? --LMS


Is there indeed a tradition of Cornish music distinct from English music, that is sometimes considered "Celtic"? I played with a Cornish piano accordion player in Alaska one summer.  :-) He mentioned something about this, but I have totally forgotten what he said. --LMS


There is alas a considerable degree of musical homogeneity in this day and age. But there are musical forms which are traditionally Cornish, not the least of which is the Cornish choral tradition. sjc

But would that count as "Celtic" music? If not (e.g., if it's a very non-Celtic-sounding operatic tradition), you might mention it as a sort of counterexample: "here's a sort of traditional music that comes from a place that is called "Celtic," but the music does not really "fit with" (in what sense?) the traditional music of Ireland and Scotland... --LMS

You ask for examples about geographical inaccuracy. Its obviously hard to be precise since the term "Celtic" is a fairly loose one, especially when used as an ethnicity. If you take Scotland though for example "Celtic" only really applies to the highland populations. In the past Scotland was split into highland and lowland regions. These regions were divided by traditions and language (Gaelic in the highland, Scots, which is a strong dialect of English in the lowlands). And yet "Celtic" music comes from all over Scotland. And of course large parts of England (other than Northumbria and Cornwall which get an explicit mention). In some cases this is tracable to the population moves during the industrial revolution (the "navvies") in others not.

The point is I think that the music spread more widely and more rapidly than many other traditions. Certainly music seems to have had fewer barriers to transfer than language. In the case of music in Britain it has always flowed around the entirety of Britain because of the maritime tradition. The shipping trade was in the past, as now, a very "ethinically" mixed trade, and professional musicians were a normal part of the ships complement.

I guess what I am saying here is that the term "Celtic" in "Celtic music" has become a generic term which covers a certain style of music, and does not actually relate to other uses of the word "celtic", at least not directly. Its similar for instance to the use of the word "Champaign" which has a generic usage beyond what the region of France produces (at least in common usage, and despite what the lawyers say!).

Probably I have not worded it very well in the article. PL


I'm still waiting to learn about the geographic inaccuracies!  :-) Meanwhile, some the above content could be transferred to the article itself! If it's good enough for the /Talk page, isn't it good enough for the main page? --LMS


In the first paragraph. You state Celtic music comes in part from Scotland. Large parts of Scotland (the lowlands) are not "Celtic". Ditto Northumbria, only more so! I am not sure about the main page though. This stuff is perhaps somewhat orthogonal. PL


I see. In other words, there are exceptions to the generalizations. --LMS