Fun Facts: Traditional Music

Music is an important part of life, and traditional music is where it all began.

German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche famously said that “Without music, life would be a mistake”, and there is a long, rich history of music all around the world.

In fact, studies have proven that listening to certain types of music – particularly classical music – can increase your brainpower and help you when studying. This is a good tip if you’re learning a new language!

We’d like to tell you about traditional music from some of the countries where you can learn English with Kaplan. Try and listen to some of the styles: not all of them will be helpful for studying, but you can learn a lot about the culture and traditions of each country.

English Morris Dancers
Traditional Morris Dancers with handkerchiefs

Morris Dancing
 Morris dancing is a traditional English folk dance dating back to at least the 15th century. The dance is usually accompanied by simple music played from a fiddle, a drum, or a melodeon (similar to an accordion). The dancers wear bells and wave handkerchiefs, and sometimes hit sticks or wooden swords together. Morris dancers still exist today, and often appear at traditional English events and festivals.

USA: Jazz
Although the United States had a large hand in the development of popular music as well as its own tradition of folk, blues and gospel, jazz (and swing) is one of the most iconic musical traditions. Originating in the southern states, some call New Orleans the birth place of the genre. Jazz is notoriously difficult to define, and there are now hundreds of subtle variations, ranging from swing music to acid jazz.

Scottish bagpipes
A traditional Scottish bagpipe player.

Scotland: Bagpipes
Although thought to be first created in Ancient Egypt (by some), bagpipes are now one of the instantly recognizable symbols of Scotland. They were initially used on the battlefield to scare/intimidate the enemy, creating a continuous, piercing sound.

Australia: Didgeridoos
Aborigines have the oldest culture in the world, and of course this includes music. The most famous aboriginal instrument is the didgeridoo, which creates a long, deep sound when you blow through it – if you do it properly!

Ireland: Folk Music
Ireland is famous for being a very musical country, producing one of the most famous bands of all time, U2. Traditional Irish music is folk music, which usually involves traditional instruments like the fiddle, or involves just singing with no accompaniment. Story telling is an important part of traditional folk music. These could be true stories, or they could be songs with a moral message to pass down through generations.

Let us know your favorite traditional music, whether it’s from these countries or from your own home.

Images are courtesy of wikimedia commons.

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