Traditional Celtic Instruments

Celtic music is known by its unique instruments, from the airy wooden flute to the fiddle, all these instruments have one thing in common: they all make really good music. Let’s take a look at some of the Celtics musical instruments.


The fiddle is a significant music instrument for most Irish and Scottish music. It looks exactly like the violin but makes more odd sounds. It is a traditional Celtic music instrument and has been around for an extended period.


Flutes have been a primary Celtic music instrument for over a thousand years. The type of music made today in Celtic countries uses the simple flute system that has six holes and about seven keys. The simple flute system became very popular in the 19th century, and lots of classical musicians abandoned the Boehm-system of flute design for this one. Modern flutes are examples of the old traditional pipes, usually made from beautiful wood. Their cylindrical bore gives it that desired airy, soft tone that is hallowed and much smoother than the conventional pipes.

Tin Whistle (pennywhistle)

This is the most popular traditional instrument that is cheap and readily available, yet it is difficult to master. The Tin whistle is from a pure metal tube with six little holes and a mouthpiece; the sound has a range of two octaves. There are very simple and cheap whistles and the highly-crafted versions that are very expensive. However, so of the best players stick to the cheap old whistle because of its unique sound.

Bagpipes & Uilleann Pipes

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There are several types of Bagpipes used by Celtic musicians over the years, but the essential instrument has a bag of air that inflates by blowing through a blowpipe. The pressure on the bag sends air through a finger chanter reed which makes the sound. This instrument has a sound range of about two octaves. The Scots makes the highest pipes regarding sound, quality, and size. Their chanter has eight holes and a distinct pipe scale.


The Bombarde is a small round shaped shawm with a thick, piercing sound that is used widely in making Breton music. It is played like a tin whistle but has an extra hole that allows one note below the stated key. (B flat, D or even C). The Bombarde is played in duet with the binos; this is because the biniou has a chanter that plays an octave above the Bombarde as it’s dronw is one-octave below. The Bombarde plays one part of the tune, while the other player embraces the sound, this gives the Bombarde player to catch his breath from the intense pressure the instrument requires.


The Banjo is initially an American instrument with five strings but transformed by Irish musicians and the instrument lost one string leaving it with four strings. The Banjo became very popular among Celtic bands, and ballad groups such as the Dubliners .the recordings by American based Mick Moloney and Seamus Egan helped increase the instrument’s popularity in America.