Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

I read phrases on the internet which don’t match up with what comes up in conversations I have with musicians. I hear "Irish music, Scottish music, Celtic music & Breton" frequently though I rarely (if ever) hear "trad, ITM or Irish traditional music."

Granted this is only my limited experience. Does anyone else hear these phrases used in spoken conversation on a regular basis?

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Internet terminology, methinks. Maybe other parts of the world are different.

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Ben, your second list is very inside stuff. I don’t even see trad or ITM anywhere but here. When I first got into this music in 1983, I was a devoted listener to The Thistle & Shamrock on Public Radio. Host Fiona Ritchie referred to the music as "Music of the Celtic Lands." It amazes me the chip-on-the-shoulder attitude so many have (not necessarily you) on what we call this. By whatever name, I know it when I hear it. I don’t put my foot down until someone says Seltic. That definitely rates a groan and roll of the eyes (I leave violence to the low and unrefined).

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In Ireland at least, "trad" (short for "traditional music") is the widely accepted term. I guess anywhere outside of that you have to differentiate what kind of tradition you’re talking about, so it gets a bit hairier. Kind of like how in China, people don’t call it "Chinese food," it’s just "food."

The problem with Celtic is that it supposes some sort of millenium-old connection between musics of very different regions. Really, the music we play dates to the 18th and 19th centuries primarily, with roots a few hundred years before. Moreover, these forms were widespread throughout Europe. They held on in areas that did not industrialize and urbanize as quickly, and in areas like Ireland and Scotland where nationalism plays a large role in culture. So the music itself has very little to do with the Celtic languages spoken by the inhabitants (and in fact, much of Scottish music is from areas that would have been Scots, not Gaelic speaking).

"Celtic-ness" is commercially advantageous, however, which means that it starts to creep around to very disparate areas. Along with Ireland, Scotland, Wales, Cornwall, the Isle of Man, and Brittany (traditionally known as Celtic nations due to the region languages), regions like Galicia and Iceland have somewhat dubiously claimed a Celtic identity. Really, if you go back far enough, much of Western and Central Europe was occupied by people who spoke a Celtic language.

All that being said, call it what you want, and for most people, "Irish" or "Celtic" gets the point across. They might think you mean Danny Boy or Enya, but if you’re holding a fiddle they’ll get what you mean.

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Forgive me, but I’m going to ask here about the "Seltic" thing. I assume you mean the sound difference, not spelling! But I seem to remember being told (long time ago) that the "real" pronunciation was a soft "C" although I never went with that and have always heard the hard "C. "

Not at all to annoy Ailin - and incur any wild eye rolling … ;) but can someone put this to rest for me?? TY!

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For most Irish people the soft C is ok if you’re talking about a Glasgow footie team. Otherwise it sounds weird. In parts of Ulster, Scotland and England it gets used as the normal pronounciation.

As for the terms I think bigsciota has it right. If you’re in the place then it’s just ‘trad’ or traditional music. As for Celtic Music it’s a bit if a weird one that seems to include lots of non-folk and non-traditional music too. Yet in Scottish traditional music there are close ties and tunes played from Scandinavian music. So I tend to avoid using the term for what I do and just be specific if possible. If I want to be generic I just say I play trad music & use any questions as a chance to engage people in it.

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"I seem to remember being told (long time ago) that the "real" pronunciation was a soft "C""

Perhaps that was somebody attempting to enforce a rule of English pronunciation* (one that is very rarely broken), that a ‘C’ followed by ‘E’, ‘I’ or ‘Y’ is softened. Modern Romance languages adhere strictly to this rule - even in words containing ‘Celt-’ (although the actual pronunciation of ‘soft C’ varies from one language to another). But this is English and we look at things a bit differently. It is a compelling idea that the /k/ in the E ‘Celt’ owes something to the fact that, in Welsh, Irish and Scots Gaelic, ‘C’ always represents a /k/ sound (although, in the latter two, the sound is modified by ‘E’ and ‘I’). But it is most likely to do with the fact that the Greek word from which ‘Celt’ is derived, is spelled with a ‘Κ’ (kappa) - and the British establishment likes nothing more than to flaunt its erudition by making classical references.

*It’s not really pronunciation that has rules - it’s orthography. It’s just that English borrows historical orthographies from various sources, so it ends up with a lot of contradictions.

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bigscotia: "The problem with Celtic is that it supposes some sort of millenium-old connection between musics of very different regions. "

I don’t think that is the supposed connection at all. Even back a millennium ago these were all separate cultures with different languages and cultures. The connection isn’t that they all share a common root, it is that their languages and cultures all survived into modern times without being superseded. So Celtic music is music that has its roots in styles (plural) that pre-date mainstream popular music.

Here in Scotland I find ‘Celtic music’ easier to deal with than ‘Scottish traditional music’. If you mention ‘Celtic’ most people understand that you are talking about West coast styles, with their clear link to Gaelic singing, but ‘Scottish traditional music’ is seen as including the classically influenced East coast fiddlers like Marshall and Scott-Skinner, pipe bands, dance bands and anything else that wears a kilt, regardless of its roots and influences.

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‘Traditional Music of the British Isles’ is a handy all inclusive phrase. Irish, Scottish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, English traditional musics all included.

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Well you could certainly light a few bonfires with that one.

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Trad or ‘a few tunes’

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As has been pointed out already, ‘trad’ is a commonly-used term here in Ireland among both among musicians/enthusiasts and people who have no real interest in it at all. ‘A few tunes’ is definitely used among people who play the music.

I have only ever seen ‘ITM’ used online and in a few academic papers.

‘Irish music’ usually gets the point across outside of Ireland, although sometimes you might need to clarify that you’re talking about flutes and fiddles and things, and not reverb-laden new-age floofery with lyrics about faeries and druids and things.

‘Celtic’ music (ALWAYS with a hard C) will almost always conjure up the aforementioned new-age floofery.

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"Floofery"- I like that term. Nice one, Sir 🙂

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"Does anyone else hear these phrases used in spoken conversation on a regular basis?" No. Why would one? For the reasons given in the posts above.

In written language people are often more specific to avoid having to remind the reader of the context all the time.

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If I’m chatting to people who I don’t know, and/or who don’t seem particularly into their music, I just say I play folk music on fiddle and banjo. I might say I play traditional folk music, if it becomes clear they think what I do is Ed Sheeran or Mumford & Sons. If they’re really interested then I’ll say mostly Irish and English traditional tunes and songs…

So, to answer the original question: yes, I hear people say "trad" and "traditional" and "Irish traditional music", but generally only in conversations with people who know their music. Never "ITM" – I’d feel pretty stupid and geeky saying that out loud – but I do find "ITM" a useful shorthand in posts on this website, for instance.

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The word Celt comes from Latin and Greek. It referred to the people who came from the Pillars of Hercules(?) It is used as a description of the family of languages spoken in ancient Ireland, Scotland, the Isle of Man, Wales, Britany, Cornwall and (longer ago) England and the ancient cultures (and most particularly the lovely stylised art) of the people who spoke those languages. Music contains the rhythms of language and rhythm is very important in traditional music so it would be reasonable to call the music of these people "Celtic" but the word doesn’t seem to be working well and I don’t use it. My mother and her ancestors spoke a Celtic language but I cannot speak more than the odd word and I don’t know the location of the Pillars of Hercules.

I tend to talk about my music as "traditional folk" to distinguish it from "Folk Music" which now usually means a man with a guitar singing doom-laden, self-penned or commercially recorded songs in a modern popular style. Traditional British music is almost the opposite: rhythmic, melodic, sociable and unemotional but basically cheerful.

The styles of English, Scottish, Irish, Welsh, French, German, Flemish, Swedish and other traditional musics of our area of Europe are different but they are identifiably dialects of the same musical language. They have influenced each other and their function is the same: cheer yourself up when you are alone; cheer yourself and everyone else up when you are together. There are tunes to provide social cohesion, recruit you to a cause, speed your march, give rhythm to work, lull you to sleep or stop you from feeling the pain of your wounds - but most are essentially social dance tunes. Traditional sessions generally welcome all of them and every dialect.

I don’t shorten traditional to Trad because when I was young "Trad" referred to a kind of soft jazz which I particularly hated - but it probably had a similar function.

In the Manchester down to Stoke-on-Trent area where I now live an "Irish" session would be likely to contain almost nothing but heavily ornamented reels and a few of the tricky slower tunes which have been recorded by certain fashionable Irish players.It is not my dialect though I can play quietly in a session like that and even enjoy the speed. I think Irish music in our part of England has defined itself as "not English" and so the social cohesion function has taken precedence over all others and restricted the scope of the music. In Scottish traditional sessions Irish music is not regarded as different and when we have visited Ireland we have found that the music there was more similar to what we play. It seemed just to be called "The Music".

I have never come on the abbreviation ITM anywhere outside the session website. People don’t usually talk in abbreviations. They are a convenience to people writing.

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I always say (and write) Irish Traditional Music or any of its abbreviations (usually "Trad" or "Irish music" in conversation) because I won’t use the work "folk" to describe Irish or any traditional music… it’s been appropriated by either fans of Dylan or anyone singing with an acoustic guitar - even if it is an acoustic rendition of "Feels Like Teen Spirit".

Folk has too many negative connotations.

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Worse than "Folk" is "Acoustic", which to me means anything not amplified, but often you get there and find microphones - so what the word "Acoustic" means now is anyone’s guess! Words change their meaning all the time. As you get older the language shifts under you like sand and you find yourself talking what purports to be the same language to younger people or people in different social groupings who are often on the other side of a great comprehension gap.

This is a good thing about groups like The Session. You get to talk to people of different ages and in different places and learn what their words mean and what your words signify to them. You try to fill that gap. What is meant by "Live" in a world of "Live recording"? When people started talking about "Gigging" I had no idea what it meant (in older English the g would be soft and it would mean jigging - dancing) and I learnt from the Session. Scandic is a word which has arrived recently. I think I know what it means.

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I don’t, so … whatzzit mean?

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Mr Dedic playing Norwegian tunes on his squeezebox?

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A warning.
If you play in the session I play in and say you play "celtic music" you will be laughed up and down the street.
The tunes come from real places or real people, they are not all ancient and they might be sourced from a cd rather than more traditional sources. Why use a general term when specific ones are appropriate?

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If someone laughed at me for using Celtic, which as it happens, I don’t, I would not waste my time trying to play with him or her. I am morally certain it would waste my time and annoy the pig.

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"‘Traditional Music of the British Isles’ is a handy all inclusive phrase. Irish, Scottish, Manx, Welsh, Cornish, English traditional musics all included."

Sanjay, just as an FYI, there are many Irish people who really do not like the term "British Isles," mainly due to the history between Britain and Ireland. They feel that the name denotes some kind of ownership over the entirety of the archipelago. Up until about 100 years ago, they were all part of the same country, but after Irish independence there have been numerous proposed names for the group of islands instead of "British Isles."

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Does my opinion count? Apart from the members of this site, I haven’t personally spoken with anyone who knows Irish/Celtic/etc. music.

As a handy tool for myself, however, when considering Irish/Scotch/Welsh/English/etc. music as a whole, I use the informal and unofficial (and self-penned) term "insular music." British or not, the aforesaid countries are islands, and because I don’t speak with anyone else using such a term, no one gets confused about which islands I mean!

Although the fact that it is convenient only among oneself, probably renders my suggestion completely fatuous and ineffectual. Which is why from the start I asked you whether my opinion counted.

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"Up until about 100 years ago, they were all part of the same country…"

Only in Cromwellian dreams.

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As some random, anonymous guy on an internet discussion board, I think I read elsewhere on the internet (so this MUST be true) that ‘celtic’ entered the English language, or at least was heavily influenced early on, by the French ‘celtique’ which uses an initial ‘s’ sound. So there is some reasonable precedent for pronouncing it ‘seltic.’ Hope that’s definitive enough for everyone.

But as Gallopede mentions above, language is constantly changing. These days, the proper pronunciation when talking about the language group is Kel-tick. I would argue that if one is talking about This Music but wants to use the word Celtic to describe it, they should use the soft initial s sound, just to underscore what clueless dorks they are. In fact, I think I’LL start using the convention, as a kind of anti-cool cool. Which makes me a trying-too-hard-to-be-cool dork.

Seriously, I hardly ever even try to talk to people about this music to people who don’t already know what it is. So I rarely need another word other than ‘tunes.’

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@ CMO: "It is a compelling idea that the /k/ in the E ‘Celt’ owes something to the fact that, in Welsh, Irish and Scots Gaelic, ‘C’ always represents a /k/ sound …"

Reminds me of Tolkien. Being heavily influenced by Celtic languages, he spelled his names such as Celebrimbor or Cirith Ungol with a C but intended for them to be pronounced with a K, even though English norm would dictate that the aforesaid C’s would be pronounced softly like S, being succeeded by E and I respectively.

The reason we know this, is that Tolkien aptly provided a pronuncation guide at the back of his major works, knowing, of course, that his fellow Englishmen would pronounce the names incorrectly.

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Thanks for all the reponses and discussion. I appreciate this.

Ben

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if it isn’t diddley dee or ceol, it was prob lost in the translation?

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"Scandic" might mean pan-Scandinavian music - but different Scandinavian countries have quite different music so this seems unlikely and maybe the person who translated it for me as "Going over to the Dark Side" was closer to the truth.

Is it well cool then to say I play a Few Tunes of a sort regarded as traditional amongst a small elite scattered across The Insulae Pluviae and some of its offshoots elsewhere? It’s not very snappy, is it? Perhaps I’ll go Scandic.

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So if I have this right, unless I’m rooting for a Glasgow footie team or speaking Koine Greek, Kel-tik it is.

Another baffling word, (where is Tolkien when we need him?)

Chunes.

;)

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Not all who wander are lost?

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You people don’t have any tunes to play?

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If someone said they played celtic music I would be obliged to ask whereabouts in celticland they found the tunes.

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Fair question. I imagine the answer would be mainly Ireland or Scotland, but of course there are others.

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I think "Celtic" are a crap team anyway 🙂

I think describing the music you play with an umbrella term like "Celtic" doesn’t really mean a lot.

It’s a bit like saying Bruce Lee was an exponent of Kung-Fu …

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Yeah, Chinese martial arts analogy on this board! :D

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Bigsciota: I’m quite aware of the history thank you.
The ‘British’ in British Isles is a simple geographical description. Nothing to do with politics, ownership or such nonsense! Suggest a more suitable name!!

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@Sanjay Krishna: We know that the origins of the name ‘British’ go back long before any Normans, Danes, Jutes, Angles or Saxons ever set foot on the islands - but that is academic. The fact is that the more recent associations of the name - the ruthless injustices of a power-crazy, land-hungry empire - still stir up deep emotions in many people. Even knowing that ‘Britannia’ was what the Romans (that other ruthless, power-crazy, land-hungry empire) called it, associations with the last 300 years of history are much stronger.

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I find it interesting that the Irish diaspora established a football team and a basketball team, both using the "s" sound for the "c", both using a four-leaf clover rather than the shamrock.

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I don’t know how the four-leaved clover came about, but I suspect that the teams were just named at a time when the /s/ pronunciation of ‘Celtic’ was more popular.

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Joe, I often talk to people who are not familiar with the music I play. Frankly I appreciate their interest. At best we each learn a bit. I get what you’re saying though, talking about music doesn’t always lead to better understanding.

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Here’s what my dictionary says:
Celtic |ˈkɛltɪk, ˈs-|
adjective
relating to the Celts or their languages, which constitute a branch of the Indo-European family and include Irish, Scottish Gaelic, Welsh, Breton, Manx, Cornish, and several extinct pre-Roman languages such as Gaulish.
noun [ mass noun ]
the Celtic language group. See also P-Celtic, Q-Celtic.
DERIVATIVES
Celticism |-sɪz(ə)m|noun,
Celticist noun
ORIGIN late 16th cent.: from Latin Celticus (from Celtae ‘Celts’), or from French Celtique (from Celte ‘Breton’).
usage: Celt and Celtic can be pronounced either with an initial k- or s-, but in standard English the normal pronunciation is with a k-, except in the name of the Glaswegian football club.

Perhaps the funny (at least to my ears) pronunciation with an [s] sound comes from the French. We’re lucky it isn’t pronounced with a ‘ch’ like my name: castra (Latin for field, military encampment) > chester (as in Win-) > Chet. Should I say ‘ket’?

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Gung Fu actually means acquired skill/ expertise , so while its commonly used to refer to martial arts it actually applies to any deep skill.
For example who hasn’t seen the incredible clip of Bruce Lee playing table tennis with nunchuk against 2 opponents. Quite incredible, serious Gung Fu , the term would also apply to his dancing abilities.
WU Shu is a more accurate term for martial arts .
Gung fu applies to skill in music as well so when I’m asked to demonstrate gung fu i just play a tune! 🙂

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"so when I’m asked to demonstrate gung fu i just play a tune! 🙂"

Does that happen often, grashopper? 🙂

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I went to a session last night. There were only three of us. We played a few tunes. I’m quite happy call the British Isles something else if it makes people happy. The ancient Greeks thought we were The Isles of the Dead. If the cap fits…

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Well, it would make most people in Ireland quite happy to not call Ireland a part of the "British Isles". Unless you’re taking to some fervent Orangeman/woman up north, you’d probably be quietly judged and dismissed if you called or considered Ireland/the Irish to be in any way British. Some people are understanding of foreigner’s unawareness, many are not… Just a heads up 🙂

As for the OP, trad is what I use/hear 90% of the time… The rest it’s generally Irish music, tunes or folk although rarely

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Will - yep, that table tennis clip of Bruce with the nunchaku is amazing! As is his 1" punch.

A lady friend did me a little business card with a small pic of bare-chested Bruce from "Enter The Dragon", with the logo, above and below :

"Bruce Lee - Wee Chinese Hard Man"
"My Kung-Fu Will Fuk Yu"

🙂

If he was alive and liked Irish trad, what instrument would he play?

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Banjo

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Bruce Lee would almost certainly be a fiddler … hairing his bow with that he’d rendered from the chest of "foe" Chuck Norris. ; )

(For the record, the clip of table tennis is fake - in case it’s not known)

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Just noticed Jeremy (thesession’s webmaster) includes a graph of the OP’s discussion submissions
at the top of the page.

Has this been a feature for a long time & I never caught on until a few seconds ago?
😀

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Slightly off-topic, I played at a jazz concert a few months and the head of the activity hated "smooth jazz" (which is what I write and play) so much that he insisted on calling it "folk" music. There are times that you simply cannot win. FWIW, when I play guitar - I play everything except Trad, when I play any other instrument, it’s Trad for the most part.

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As far as language and the pronunciation of "Celtic" goes, it’s a borrowed word in English anyhow, so it’s anything goes more or less. You could follow the Greek Keltoi or the French Celtique, what does it matter?

There are loads of examples of various dialects/accents of English pronouncing the same borrowed word differently, a common example is "vase" where I hear both the original French pronunciation "vahz" (to rhyme with "Oz") and the Anglicised "vaice" (to rhyme with "face") every day.

Here in the USA we tend to stay closer to the original with a number of French borrowings such as garage, ballet, buffet, etc which in England have been nativised/Anglicised to a greater extent.

My guess with "Celtic" is that it was borrowed from French originally and we followed the French pronunciation, but later switched to a more scholarly (Latin/Greek) pronunciation. (All c’s in Latin were pronounced like k’s, originally, hence Caesar/Kaiser etc.)

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"You could follow the Greek Keltoi or the French Celtique, what does it matter?"

Listen: do you wanna be one of the cool kids or don’t you??!

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In relation to using ‘seltic’ for the Glasgow football club, the following might be of interest.

"Like Edinburgh’s Hibernian, Celtic FC came into being during the late 1880s, in celebration of Scotland’s ancient Irish roots. In order to remove any Anglo-Saxon allusions, the team’s founders insisted on employing the French pronunciation les Celtes."
https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2015/sep/20/julian-cope-on-celts-british-museum-exhibition

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My favorite English/American story: Americans often get Spanish pronunciations right. Not always, but we are pretty good with names since people who have those names are all around. My daughter spent six months in England and a British teacher attempted to "correct" her pronunciations of Hispanic names.

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So true Mike. After all, our national anthem (music courtesy of the British) starts with "Jose can you see…"

Apologies to Francis… at least…

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I heard this story years ago from an aquaintance whose aunt was Parisian born and bred. One year she decided to vacation in Quebec. Arriving at the hotel she told the desk clerk, in her best Parisian French, that she had a reservation. He replied, in English, "Lady, if you can’t speak proper French, speak English!"

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Lest anyone infer any prejudice on my part towards my neighbors to the north, allow me to share this clip of the wonderful Quebecois trio De Temps Antan. I had the great pleasure of hearing them last week-end at the Fiddlers! festival in Roxbury NY. Hope you enjoy them as much as I did. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GNnOJZBdjUY

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@Mike, perhaps your daughter was pronouncing them as they would be pronounced in Mexican (or maybe Puerto Rican) Spanish, and her British teacher thought they should be pronounced as in Spanish Spanish 😀

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5string … great clip! Thank you, their music is so joyful! One of my sessions is more of a contradance (Portland Dance Books) Irish/Scottish - and Quebecois group. It is probably where I first heard the dance tunes from our northern neighbors. I can even pronounce Keh-beh-kwah. ;) But however it’s spoken, the tunes we all do are just glorious, aren’t they?

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"Americans often get Spanish pronunciations right. Not always, but we are pretty good with names since people who have those names are all around."

Well here in Southern California we hear Spanish spoken every day, but what’s odd is that we pronounce some Spanish words fairly well, others not so much. It’s a case-by-case thing. San Jacinto, San Joaquin, San Francisquito etc are pretty good except for the "San" part. Tejon and Cajon we got.

The names that non-locals have the most trouble with are the Native American names which, due to this being part of Spain (and never part of Britain) are rendered in Spanish orthography such as Hueneme, Hualpi, Huatabampo, Tujunga, Cahuenga etc. (Hint: Huayno sounds like "wino".)

In any case yes it’s stunning to hear the English Premiership presenters mangle the names of Spanish players and managers, because there are so many of them around one would think the pronunciation would be known.

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"Like Edinburgh’s Hibernian, Celtic FC came into being during the late 1880s, in celebration of Scotland’s ancient Irish roots. In order to remove any Anglo-Saxon allusions, the team’s founders insisted on employing the French pronunciation les Celtes."

Is there any provenance to that claim? I wouldn’t take that goofy newspaper article at face value.

The team isn’t named "les Celtes" and the hard "c" doesn’t have anything to do with Anglo-Saxon-ness because "Celtic" is a borrowed word not an English word. (Native English words that start with the "k" sound are rare, see Grimm’s Law).

I just think that the "s" in Celtic was the common English pronunciation due to the French influence in English dictating that "c" before "e" and "i" be pronounced like "s". Classical scholars would go with the original "k" sound of Greek and early Latin. Anyhow that Glasgow Celtic story doesn’t explain how the American teams of the same name used the same pronunciation (before there was a Boston Celtics there was the New York Celtics, back in the 19th century).

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How should we pronounce ‘música celta’ Richard?

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That’s castillian so soft c.

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OK then ‘celtica’ ?

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However, I am just stirring. Regarding the English, CreadurMawnOrganig gave the simple answer above. The Concise OED (pre WW2) gives the soft c as the standard and has the variant ‘keltic’ listed under ‘K’.

I suspect there is an element of ‘sociolinguistic pressure’ here.

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Thanks for all the responses. Unfortunately I’m still not sure how frequently the term trad is used (spoken) nor in what context. But I am getting a faint impression of where (geographically) it is used in conversation. Would I be correct in thinking it is commonly said at sessions in England & Scotland? I still cannot tell if it is a term widely used in or about sessions *in* Ireland.

Ben

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Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Interesting that the homonym ‘celt’ meaning a prehistoric hand axe, usually stone but sometimes copper or bronze, is pronounced ‘selt.’ It has a completely different etymology than the language term though.

Etymology: Trad

I’m beginning to think posting this on the mustard was a poor decision. At the very least I should not have used the c-word; which may have been the k-word, possibly the c-{pronounced}s- word.

I was anticipating a bit more discussion of trad. My point is I have never heard it used locally & was hoping from others to learn what terms you use in your session, which ones’ best describe the music you play, what works when discussing your music?

Thanks though. I appreciate the whole experience.

Ben

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Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

"…which ones’ best describe the music you play, what works when discussing your music?"

In our session… terms that work well for identification and reference…

Trad/Irish/Scottish/English/OT/BG/Qebekwah/SQUIRREL!
jig/reel/polka/hornpipe/hornpipy-ish/Strathespey(-ish)/March, sort of
A(D)Mix/minor/modal/diminished/whatever!
Too fast?
Too slow!
Wassat?
Sweet!
Train wreck!
Awesome tune/set!
Mashup
Gan Amin again?
dah dah dah dah dah dah
Aw…last one?

Just off the top of my head. 🙂

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

"Would I be correct in thinking it is commonly said at sessions in England & Scotland? I still cannot tell if it is a term widely used in or about sessions *in* Ireland."

@Ben - there is something a tad bizarre about your question, because if you’re in a session playing the music, you’re not generally talking about it, and if you are talking about it, it would be weird to be continually using nomenclature

("That was a lovely Irish trad tune you played just there, what was that particular Irish traditional tune called? I’ve never heard that ITM tune played with that B-part before! My, what a pretty trad jig that was!")

Like someone said, in Brazil, Brazil nuts are just nuts

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Do you play trad?
Are you into trad?
What’s that tune?
Do you know this one?* demonstrates a few bars*
Do you know *insert name*
Is it a trad session?
Though session by itself indicates it’s trad, occasionally there are anything goes sessions.
It’s just trad trad trad here in Ireland to refer to trad. 🙂
though we have the odd session focused on Scottish tunes in my kitchen it’s still trad cos were trad musicians who play trad . 😎

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Here on Skye, all the musicians I know (who hail from local to Glasgow to Shetland) call it simply ‘tunes’. As in, there will be tunes in the pub tonight, anyone know where I can get tunes in Edinburgh, join us for tunes etc etc. Some call it ‘diddle’, but this is always done somewhat tongue in cheek. Those who play the tunes call each other ‘folkies’ but I have never heard the music itself called folk, and have definitely never heard any hint of the C word, Celtic. Non-musician locals call it ‘teuchy tunes’ (from teuchter, mildly offensive Scots term for a highlander country bumpkin).

Under duress to call it something more specific, it is known as Traditional Scottish and Irish Music.

Interesting question though! I’ve often struggled to accurately describe the genre to confused English types 🙂

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Days late but thought I’d drop-in one last time.

Diane, great ‘top of the head’ list.
I like the way you nestled "Sweet!" between "Wassat?" & "Train wreck!"
We do that too. ;)

Cheers, Matt! I really appreciate the bit, "…and if you are talking about it, it would be weird to be continually using nomenclature…"

Will Evans, your post reflects how musicians converse. Thank you for providing that significant context/perspective. 😀

The Latecomer, I do tend to think of the instrumental melodies I play as "tunes", probably more likely than would I go to the term trad. Again though, it’s just my cultural/geographic experience speaking. Cheers!

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Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

Right, I’m sorry for my late reaction. It’s indeed not alway’s easy. I’ve heared trad, irish music, irish trad, irish folkmusic and sessionmusic for the tunes here on thesession.org. Never ITM, yet some very deep past someone said that the band was playing Irish traditionals.
It depends on who you’re talking to, I guess.

I like to know what you would call the BBC transatlantic session. Is that trad, bluegrass, poptunes, contemperary trad or something else?
I’m struckling to describe to non musicians what where playing as often we perform as a band playing session tunes.

Re: Etymology: Trad, ITM & Irish traditional music

People use ITM when discussing trad in an international context, as a clarifier and to differentiate between other forms of trad such as trad jazz. In Ireland it’s generally referred to as trad.