ETHNMUS 91 and 161Z, section 1

The UCLA Irish Music Ensemble performs Irish traditional dance tunes (e.g. jigs, reels, etc.) in a highly social group setting. The repertoire performed has its origins in 17th to 19th century Irish rural leisure customs, but is found more frequently today in Irish pubs as well as on stage in such performance showcases as Riverdance.

Each week, students in the course are guided through 1-3 dance pieces or "tunes" that can be linked together throughout the quarter into medleys or "sets." These sets form the basis for what is played informally in Irish pubs in addition to providing the necessary rhythms for Irish step-dancing. Dance tunes are learned by ear in this course rather than through sheet music, as is traditional for Irish music and for many other traditional musics around the world.

The course is divided between "beginner" and "advanced" musicians; however, everyone plays music together for a good deal of the quarter. Irish traditional music is highly suitable to complete beginners to music, but also to advanced instrumentalists who are looking to pick up an additional style while still being highly challenged. The beginning group is given less complex pieces and plays at a slower pace, while advanced musicians are taught more advanced tunes and are given a greater quantity of pieces to learn. Both groups are taught requisite stylistic elements for Irish music, including ornamentation and phrasing.

Director: Aaron M. Bittel

VIDEO: Irish Music Ensemble at UCLA (Daily Bruin)

ARTICLE: "Traditional Irish music connects people in UCLA, throughout the world" (Daily Bruin)