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Early and traditional music in Scotland



Celtic design There's more documentation on music in Scotland back through the centuries than there is in Ireland. (Although compared to France or Italy, there's still not very much.) The Gaidhealtachd (the Gaelic-speaking part of Scotland) was part of the same culture as Gaelic Ireland until about 300 years ago. However, much of the existing information refers to the Galltachd (the Scots-speaking area, i.e. the Lowlands) which had cultural influences from England, the Gaidhealtachd, Scandinavia and France. Politically, Scotland maintained "the Auld Alliance" with France against England, which resulted in a strong French influence at the Scottish court.

The Scottish court went out of existence in 1603 when King James VI of Scotland became King James I of England. Scotland remained nominally independent for about another century, when it was absorbed into the United Kingdom. The story is told in Robert's Burns' well-known song Such a parcel of rogues in a nation, referring to the Scottish lords who took bribes to vote away their country's independence. In a referendum in 1997, which had been promised by the new Labour government led by Tony Blair, Scotland voted overwhelmingly in favour of re-establishing the Scottish Parliament.



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More on Early Scottish Music
Some of the earliest known references to Scottish music.


Medieval Celtic music
Interesting general information from the early music ensemble Altramar at Indiana University.


Scottish Music in the 18th Century
Stories about the time when much of Scottish music as we know it today was developed.


Traditional Gaelic singing
An introductory article by Craig Cockburn.


Niel Gow and the Duchess
An article from The Weekly Scotsman, of Saturday, November 2, 1957, about the noted 18th century Scottish violinist Niel Gow (misspelt Neil in the article).


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