What *is* Irish music?
First of all, just calm down. :)
I thought this would be a fun experiment:
To *you*, what are the most obvious defining features of Irish music? The sound of it, that is, not the culture or anything like that. What is it that differentiates Irish music from related genres such as Scottish or Cape Breton? What is it you’re missing when classical musicians try to play it? All I’m asking for is personal, subjective, non-technical opinions, though of course more technical or objective opinions, if anyone would like to take a shot at such a thing, would be interesting as well. And of course it may be easier to define what it *isn’t* than what it *is.*
This is actually based on stuff that we got into a bit on the harp thread about the characteristics that define Irish music. Sure, there are a million regional and personal styles, but even with all of the significant differences that there may be between these, what ties them together?
Another way to look at it might be, if a given instrument was to be introduced into Irish music from outside of the tradition, are there some minimum requirements for what the instrument (and the player) would have to be able to do in order for you to recognize the music as definitely and specifically Irish? We all agree that there’s more to it than just playing the notes of an Irish tune, but what?
As I put it in the other thread, it’s possible for different people to approach the same instrument with the goal of playing dance music on it and wind up with different end products, but are there certain minimum standards or characteristics that their playing should have in common if both musicians’ work is to be considered within the realm of Irish traditional music that would be recognized as such by the majority of traditional musicians? If so, what are they? I said in the other thread that what those minimum standards are, who or where they should come from, how they should relate to different instuments, and whether or not they are or should be universal for Irish music is a huge topic on its own, so here it is!