5 best Instruments that sounds good with the Feadog Irish Whistle
By Joao Ferreira
The most common instruments used in Irish traditional music, whose history goes back several hundred years, are the fiddle, tin whistle, flutes and Uilleann pipes. Instruments such as button accordion and concertina made their appearances in Irish traditional music late in the 19th century. The 4-string tenor banjo, first used by Irish musicians in the US in the 1920s, is now fully accepted.
The guitar was used as far back as the 1930s first appearing on some of the recordings of Michael Coleman and his contemporaries. The bouzouki only entered the traditional Irish music world in the late 1960s. The bodhrán is first mentioned in a translated English document in the 17th century. The saxophone featured in recordings from the early 20th century most notably in Paddy Killoran’s Pride of Erin Orchestra.
Today, we are going to talk about 5 of them. Because they are considered by the most musicians the main instruments to play with a tin whistle.
It is an Irish frame drum ranging from 25 to 65 cm (10–26 in) in diameter, with most drums measuring 35–45 cm (14–18 in). The bodhrán evolved in the mid-19th century from the tambourine, which can be heard on some Irish music recordings dating back to the 1920s and viewed in a pre-Famine painting. The bodhrán itself did not gain wide recognition as a legitimate musical instrument until the Irish traditional music resurgence in the 1960s in which it became known through the music of Seán Ó Riada.
2- Acoustic Guitar
The guitar is not traditional in Irish music but has become widely accepted in modern sessions. The guitarist follows the leading melody player or singer precisely rather than trying to control the rhythm. Most guitar parts take inspiration and direction from the melody, rather than driving the melody as in other acoustic genres.
One of the most important instruments in the traditional repertoire, the fiddle (or violin – there is no physical difference) is played differently in widely varying regional styles. The best-known regional fiddling traditions are from Donegal, Sligo and Clare. The fiddling tradition of Sligo is perhaps most recognisable to outsiders, due to the popularity of American-based performers like Lad O’Beirne, Michael Coleman, John McGrath, James Morrison and Paddy Killoran.
The accordion plays a major part in modern Irish music. The accordion spread to Ireland late in the 19th century. In its ten-key form, it is claimed that it was popular across the island. It was recorded in the US by John Kimmel, The Flanagan Brothers, Eddie Herborn and Peter Conlon. Modern Irish accordion players generally prefer the 2 row button accordion. Unlike similar accordions used in other European and American music traditions, the rows are tuned a semi-tone apart. This allows the instrument to be played chromatically in melody. The piano accordion became highly popular during the 1950s and has flourished to the present day in bands and for old time Irish dance music.
Although not traditional, the Irish bouzouki has found a home in the modern Irish traditional music scene. The Greek bouzouki was introduced to Irish traditional music in the late 1960s by Johnny Moynihan and then popularised by Dónal Lunny, Andy Irvine, and Alec Finn. Today’s Irish bouzouki (usually) has four courses of two strings.
Likely it might come up some controversy on that list, but certainly most of the Irish traditional musicians will agree that most of these instruments sound lovely with a tin whistle.
I believe after these 5 inspiring Irish instruments you`ve got interested to start and learn how to play our Feadog Whistles. Browse our website and look for the one that fits your needs. If you are already a player becomes our fan visiting our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter to be aware of tips and further information.