The Bodhran is thought to have been introduced to Ireland by the Celts and was originally used during battles. It is made from goat skin stretched over a wooden frame and is played with a double ended stick, called a cipin. Bodhran frames are often decorated with Celtic designs.
Music: From the 10th century onwards the Irish annals list native musicians, though the earliest written music dates from the 1700s. The harp was introduced in the 10th century and became the national instrument of Ireland. In the 12th century harpists were often accompanied by a bodhran. Other traditional folk instruments were developed later, one of the most important being the fiddle. Uileann pipes (similar to Scottish bagpipes) developed in the early 18th century, followed by flutes, whistles and the accordion during the 19th century. Banjos, mandolins and guitars appeared in the 20th century. Traditional Irish music was mainly dance music, the most famous forms being the reel, the hornpipe and the jig - a jig if often written in 6/8, 9/8, or 12/8 time, which gives it its distinctive feel. As well as dance music, Irish folk tunes were written as vocal pieces, many of which had come as stories and rhymes from the older language tradition. There are also the caoineadh, which are laments - the subject matter for many of these songs is often the fate of Irish emigrants.
Many Irish musicians have found success in the modern music world by using traditional Irish techniques with modern rock and pop styles, most notable Van Morrision and Enya. The Pogues famously fused traditional music with punk rock and, more recently, the multi-award winning band 'The Script' has found international success.
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