Music can take us places. We’re lucky in Scotland to have a wealth of music to draw on, that connects us to the places we love…
Music of Scotland
Scotland’s traditional music in many ways forms the foundation of our national identity and a key element of our culture. Large scale emigration from Scotland over several centuries, resulting in the presence of many more Scots outwith the country than within its borders, means that echoes of Scottish traditional music can be found in many different parts of the world.
The origins of traditional Scottish folk music are lost in the mists of time. There are close links between the roots of much of Scotland’s music and the Gaelic tradition that came from Ireland: and in some ways Scottish and Irish folk music are similar. However, in other ways they have retained identities that are quite distinct, in part because of the influence in Scotland of other traditions, notably those associated with the Old Norse and Scots languages.
It is thought that the music of the Picts was based on the harp, but like their language, all further information has been lost. As a result, the oldest music to which any form can be given was probably the singing and harp playing of the Gaels. Traditional folk ballads probably also date back to the dawn of antiquity, sung in all the various languages once in use across what is now Scotland.
The harp was replaced as the most popular instrument by the Great Highland Bagpipe or A’ Phìob Mhòr during the 1400s. This gained a hold, especially, across the clans of the Highlands and Islands before later being taken up with enthusiasm by the Scottish Regiments of the British Army, and spread by them to all parts of the British Empire.
Traditional Scottish music diminished in popularity during the middle decades of the 1900s: but the 1960s saw a radical roots revival in which young musicians rediscovered and made popular many of the traditional elements of Scottish music. The musicians of the 1970s, and since, built on the renaissance of the 60s and traditional music in Scotland is arguably now more popular than it has ever been.
A country that is renowned the world over for its traditional music, Scotland’s trad scene is diverse and full of surprises. From folk music to Celtic fusion, the 21st century has brought forth a whole new wave of musicians and bands that are experimenting with the very idea of what Scottish trad music is and spoiler; it’s not all about the bagpipes. While guitar bands and indie groups seem to have become the most popular musical exports in the past few decades, the trad scene is fighting back and thriving in the process as artists continue to push the boundaries of what has come to be expected.
Whether navigating the urban haunts of major cities, enjoying genteel market towns or experiencing remote island hideaways, exploratory food-lovers in Scotland will find a culinary scene that majors on bountiful wild harvests and top-notch meats underpinned by a strong cultural identity.
8 works of fiction, 6 non-fiction books and 6 guide books we recommend for our upcoming Scottish sojourn…
The wit, expressive depth and wisdom of the Scottish people is something to be cherished. They know a thing or two about stoicism in the face of poor fortune, and there’s a clear knack for cutting through airs and graces too…
Scotland is famous for its breathtaking scenery and, not surprisingly, has been used as the location for many well-known movies. A land full of culture, mystery (I’m looking at you, Nessie) and some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, Scotland is always at the front of location scouts’ minds.
Majestic scenery, award-winning culinary experiences, Celtic lore and so much more…the magic of this mystical land revealed…
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