Education for Kids

The Music Podcast for Kids is a fun and educational podcast where we learn about the best subject ever….MUSIC!

March 4, 2021

The Music of Ireland Part 2

The Music of Ireland Part 2 

In part 2 of The Music of Ireland series, Mr. Henry and Mr. Fite finally get to Ireland! They enjoy the beautiful scenery and learn about some really cool Irish musical instruments. They also discuss some traditional Irish song forms which are also great for dancing. Oh, and who’s that? Mr. Hairylegs?! How did he get to Ireland? Find out in today’s episode! We also got to chat with Marc Gunn, an Irish/Celtic music podcaster and musician.

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Listening Challenge Answers:

  1. 2nd instrument
  2. 1st instrument
  3. 2nd instrument
  4. 2nd instrument

(Theme Song): Let the music begin in 3, 2, 1... Learning music, having fun. That’s what we’re gonna do. Mr. Henry, Mr. Fite, exploring along with you. Learning music, having fun. That’s what we’re gonna do. Mr. Henry, Mr. Fite love hanging out with you. The Music Podcast for Kids!


Hello and welcome to The Music Podcast for Kids we're your hosts Mr. Henry and Mr. Fite - Music educators extraordinaire! The Music Podcast for Kids is a fun and educational podcast where we learn and explore the best subject ever -  music!  


On today’s episode, we are learning about Music of Ireland Part 2. In this episode we continue our journey and even get to interview an Irish music specialist to learn more about music of Ireland.


And now, the music joke of the day. We love jokes, so if you have a joke, please visit our website to submit your joke. And guess what? It doesn't even have to be a music joke; it can be any joke. We will read and enjoy your joke on the podcast and also let everyone know who it came from and where you are in this great big wonderful music world. 


Our joke of the day is... Well first we just wanted to say that we have been getting your jokes, which is awesome. So keep them coming. Here are a couple from our listeners. This joke today comes from Niko. Okay what is Beethoven's favorite fruit? Banana banana. Great joke, Niko. This joke comes from Emma. What is the mountain that sleeps forever? Mount Ever-rest. 

Make sure to send in your jokes by visiting our website: A link to the website can be found in the show notes. 

And now, the music word of the day. In part one of the Music of Ireland adventure we discussed meter as the music word of the day. We further discuss the meter of music from Ireland in our continuation of the journey today so wanted to recap the word meter. There are many sides to meter, but the one angle to recap on is the combination of how music sounds and its relation to meter. If you hear music that has a marching feel to it, it’s using in meter of 2. If you can hear music that makes you sway back and forth, it can be in a meter of three or a compound meter which we discuss further in today's episode. And music that makes you want to bop your head while you dance is in the most common meter of Western music...meter of 4. 

Another word to discuss today is the drone...and not like a drone that flies around and also not like when someone keeps droning on and on and on about their life story- like that one time when I was riding my bike on the fresh new pavement that the pavement guy just put down, such a nice smooth ride on my super sweet bike, so excited to get out on the fresh new, hot blacktop, I didn't even put my shoes on, and of course I had to stop to see something, so as I stopped I hopped off with my bear feet right on the fresh new Hot blacktoooooaaah.


Mr. Q: Hey Mr. Henry! 


Me: Oh hey there Mr Quarter, well you scared me.


Mr. Q: Well Mr Henry, you keep droning on and on about your life story while we are trying to learn the music word of the day...drone. 


Me: Oh right I got a little carried away with that story...  


Mr. Q: Yeah, so about that story Mr. Henry 


Me: oh yeah...that…


Mr. Q: Sooooo, you walked on hot blacktop...with no shoes...didn't you Mr. Henry 


Me: Ummm well… uhhh..yeah let's get back to the music world of the day: Drone. In music a drone is a note or couple of notes that is held out for a long period of time. The note sustains. Let's take a listen to this drone…. We will learn about this instrument from Ireland today, that has a bottom end note that sustains or is held continuously, as the other notes are played over top  Awesome! And that’s the: “Music Word of the Day!”


Thank you so much for listening. We hope you are enjoying the show so far. Please subscribe to the podcast to receive the latest episodes and leave a review through iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts. Also get updates on what we are up to Facebook and Instagram by finding us at Music Podcast for Kids. Links will be found in the show notes. On to the show!


And now, the main subject of the day. 

Bill: Alrighty then, got some food and ready to roll. 


Bruce: Ah great, I'm starving. Well we best get on our way Mr. Hairylegs. 


Hairy: Have a great trip! 


Bruce: Thanks! 


Bill: Yeah thanks Mr. Hairy Legs, oh and sorry again for smacking ya with the sand anchor… whoops...yeah...


Bruce: So how many more days until we reach Ireland…


Bill: Well let me look at the hot air balloon app I downloaded...looks like… hmmm it says no map available for this long of a trip…? 


Bruce: What? Oh boy...


Bill: Oh, I’m sure my signal is just weak is all..once we get back up there it’ll kick back worries… here we go!!! 


(in a goofy voice) Two Hundred, twenty five days, 4 hours, twenty five minutes, and 32 second…later... 33 seconds...ummm 34 seconds… and… there's..


Bruce: (annoyed) Ok...Mr. Henry….maybe we put the penny whistle away…..phew are we there yet? I’m kinda getting sick of these granola bars. 


Bill: Wait a tick! I think I see it….IRELAND


Bruce: Wow...IRELAND. Look at those cliffs?  


Bill: Yeah those are the cliffs of moher. See I knew we would make it. 


Bruce: Yeah I guess you were right. 


Bill: Ok, let's make sure we land this thing nicely…. Lift this thing up... And throw out the sand anchor and…. (throws and hits


Bruce: Look out! (smash)


Bill: . Mr. Harylegs? 


Bruce: Yeah Mr. Hairylegs? How did you get to Ireland? 


Hariy: Well, when you said you were going to Ireland, I decided to get on a plane to check it out. Been here for almost 6 months now. I love it! 


Bruce: 6 months?? You mean we have been in the hot air balloon for 6 months? Mr. Henry!  


Bill: Oh yeah, it went by fast though Mr. Fite...time flies when…. your having….fun..hey what's that sound? 


Bruce: Wow cool. Those are the uilleann pipes. They are just like bagpipes.  


Bill: A yeah bagpipes...that's when you have a bunch of little pipes in a big bag and you shake it around like a percussion instrumen…? Why are you looking at me that way Mr. Fite? 


Bruce: Oh boy Mr. bagpipes sound like this….. (bagpipe sound) play bagpipes you use your air to fill up a bag, then you press the bag with your arm as you place your fingers on different holes to create different notes and sounds.


Bill: Oh cool….I hear a droning sound too. 


Bruce: Yeah, exactly. We learned about the drone sound when learning about Music of India, in episode number 7.  


Bill: Right! The droning sound is when you have a continuous note or set of notes that constantly play while the melody or tune is performed.  


Bruce: Right! We hear a drone in the bagpipes as well. 


Bill: The bagpipes and uillena pipes are a little different. To play the bagpipes the musician uses their air to fill up the bag, but the uilleann pipes do not require the musician to blow into the bags, rather there are bellows that are pressed by the arm to generate the air into the instrument. 


Bruce: Bellows?  


Hairy: Elbows? 


Bill: No Mr. Hairylegs….not elbows. Bellows. A bellow is a device that you press together to create a large amount of air. Bellows are found in the uilleann pipes to pump air into the instrument making that cool sound. 


Bruce: Pretty cool stuff. 


Bill: Oh I hear more music coming from that restaurant over there...let's go check it out.  


Bruce: Yeah, lets get some food too! 


Bill:  Oh yeah I am starving. (music plays) Boy that music sounds great. Traditional Irish music is known for its storytelling. 


Bruce: Yeah for sure and a traditional music session or play along is known in Irish as a seisiun (sheh-shun). 


Bill: Sweet looks like there is a violin, acoustic guitar, bodhran and that little box thing with buttons on it? 


Bruce: Ahh yes, that's the concertina. The concertina became more popular in a revival of traditional irish music. The concertina is also called a button accordion. There are a bunch of buttons that you press while squeezing the instrument back and forth to make a sound. 


Hairy: Makes me want to get up and do a little jig-a roonie


Bruce: Yeah Mr. Hairylegs! Actually a jig is a type of music that has a certain feel, that in “total musical nerd” talk is in compound meter. 


Bill (nerd voice): Yes, compound meter or also known as compound time consists of a beat in a measure that is broken up into three separate parts.  The numbers typically associated with compound meter include 6, 9, 12, 15 and more. Theoretically, compound meter could be translated into simple time but the use of….


Bruce: Ok..ok Mr. Henry, that probably went (phew) straight over our heads. 


Bill: . ah, yes sorry about that. Maybe we just focus on how compound meter sounds and feels. 


Bruce: Yeah, good thinking. We talked about meter as the music word of the day today. Compound meter has a sound like this….. When you hear music in compound time it usually has us swaying back and forth within our movement or dancing. 


Bill: Exactly, and the jig was a popular feel in Irish music that allowed people to dance and feel a certain way. Music is pretty powerful in its ability to get people to move and feel great while doing it!  


Hairy: Oh yes, I’m feeling happier and happier with this here jig! 


Bruce: Nice moves Mr. Hairylegs! 


Bill: Oh yeah get it going Mr. Hairylegs! Some of the most popular traditional irish bands are the Dubliners, Chieftains and Clancy Brothers. 


Bruce: Yuppers! So if you're ever in the mood for some great music, check out those cats. 


Bill: Cats? Ummm. they are not cats Mr. Fite


Bruce: Oh, that's just a figure of speech...back in the day in jazz music they would call a cool musician “cats” which… oh boy...that confused look again...ok forget it. 


Bill: Yeah, Well, this has been a pretty cool adventure. So much cool music in Ireland. Let's sit and enjoy the music and food. Then! We will get back home in our hot air balloon.


Bruce: The hot air balloon? Yeah right Mr. Henry, you won't drag me on that thing again. 


Bill: Oh come on we can play “What instrument does that cloud look like” the whole way’ll be great, i ‘m getting pretty good at that penny whistle, oh  then we can stop too see Paris, and Italy, and Greenland..oh and I always wanted to see Egypt and…. 


Bruce: And that's the...Together: Music of Ireland! 


The music podcast for kids is brought to you by Mr. Henry's Music World YouTube channel. If you are interested in learning how to play the piano with a fun and engaging curriculum geared towards kids please subscribe to Mr. Henry's YouTube channel called mr. Henry's Music World. Links will be found in the show notes. Again we thank you so much for tuning in. Time for the super duper music challenge. Time to test your ears. Test your ears? I don't think you can really give your ears a test Mr. Henry I mean how do your ears hold a pencil without bleeding? Oh no Mr. Fite, when I say test your ears I mean listening to something and trying to figure it out through hearing it. Oh right of course. Time to play the music podcast for kids super duper music listening challenge. A little bit long of a title? We’ll have to work it out okay onto the challenge. In today’s episode we learned all about the music of Ireland and got to hear some cool instruments that are a part of traditional Irish music, so we wanted to test your listening skills. I'm going to play two examples and you have to guess which instrument is from Ireland. One.  Here is the first instrument. Here is the second instrument. Two. Here is the first instrument Here is the second instrument. Three. Here is the first instrument. Here is the second instrument. Four here is the first instrument.  Here is the second instrument. Check your answers by going to the show notes we hope you did a great job.


Marc Gunn is an American musician and podcaster and known for his performances on an instrument called the autoharp. Marc has and continues his amazing, award-winning podcast called Irish and Celtic Music podcast. It was great to talk with Marc about the music of Ireland, so let's get to the chat!  


Hello Marc Gunn, and welcome to the Music Podcast for Kids! 


So Mark we always like to start out by asking our special guests about their music background as a child. So what experiences did you have as a child in the school setting and maybe outside of school as well? I didn't do much in school. Most of mine was outside of it. My family both my mom and dad, both played musical instruments so I played the piano. Got lessons for about a year. It didn't take very well, I didn't like to practice nearly enough, but it was a lot of fun. In high school I picked up the guitar and got lessons again outside of school and that cooked a little bit more aside from the problems with my guitar which was it was a really big instrument and cut off the circulation in my arm. So it wasn’t until college I think I really really started nailing down playing the guitar. So as a guitarist who were some of your big inspirations as you began your guitar career. It wasn't so much about playing guitar as it was being Elvis Presley. He was my idol growing up and so I wanted to be a songwriter like him. It wasn't much later that I realized that he didn't write any songs but I fell in love with this music and I I did it. The first thing I started learning was how to play songs by Elvis Presley. And it just went from there. Awesome. So the guitar you were performing in high school you were performing in college, but the instrument that you perform now is the autoharp. So yeah super interested in this instrument and kind of how it works and giving our listeners a little more idea of you know what it looks like and how it's played and things like that. So could you tell us more about the autoharp? Alright yeah the autoharp is a sort of triangular instrument. You usually find it like you know grade school but it's basically a very simple instrument because it's you press a button and it creates a chord and all you do is strum and it creates this gorgeous sound. It's got this very full body. It’s  got five octaves. It’s based on the zither which is a much older instrument and about a thousand years old. But the modern adaptation started the late eighteen-hundreds 1890s. And it's just got  a beautiful sound. And it's so simple to play. And again all you have to be able to do is press a button and strum and that strum will be everything in the cord. And it's just, it just sounds fantastic, it’s gorgeous. And having it being an instrument that is a little easier to play it would be a great instrument for kids to get just to start experimenting with things so yeah yeah that's cool. And actually Bruce I don't know if this was the deal for you, but when I so we're both Marc we’re both Elementary music teachers. Right and so I've been teaching for 15 years. When I first came there autoharps what must have been the rage. Like in elementary school for kids. Well they were like the ukuleles of today. The toughest part of the autoharp is the tuning. There are 36 strings and they go out of tune fairly easily. I spend at least a good 15 minutes making sure that the instrument is in tune before I even start playing. And once it's in tune you know it'll usually last at least a good solid 30 minutes if I’m  not playing it too hard. But sometimes it'll go for the full hour or whatever before I have to sit back down and make sure all the strings are in tune. And you start hearing little notes out of tune in the process. So you went from being Elvis or wanting to be Elvis to Irish and Celtic music. So could you give us some insight on what instruments you might see in a traditional Irish Celtic band? Yeah, so the autoharp is not one. The autoharp is an American folk instrument created in the late 1800s. It’s based on a German design. Popularized through Sears catalog. And it’s not one of the instruments but it is a great singer's instrument, a great folk instrument. If you like to sing its a wonderful instrument to have. Now in the Irish music world typically, you're going to have one of my favorites which is the fiddle, the flute or the Penny Whistle, the Irish the octave mandolin and the mandolin, a derivative of the fiddle. You have also have uilleann pipes which are a form of bagpipes for the Irish. There's the Irish drum which is called the bodhran and those are the types of instruments you usually find in an Irish session. And you’ll also find a guitar. Guitar has become very popular as well. Although there’s usually a slightly different tuning from most guitars. Yeah that's cool. Something that I saw it with I was lucky enough to travel to Ireland and it was like an acoustic Duo and and I guess you could you know this could be all across the world but it was the first time I'd seen it. They had put a microphone inside the case of their guitar and they used that as the like and they would stomp on it. like oh nice yeah. I was like oh that's so cool like I never even thought to do that but it just fit that driving music so well that we find. In the musical styles that are most common in Ireland, you have the Reel and The Jig. and and when that sounds like a very much great tactic for a reel because reels are a  driving four four beats you know. It’s got this really great driving sound. Whereas the Irish jig which has this lilting.  Yeah that's cool. 


So, in jazz music players in other following types of form which for listeners that's basically a way of saying like the way the music's organized. Like when you're in that situation as a jazz musician everyone that you can understand where you are in the music and there's a lot of improvisation and even though it may not seem like to a listener watching that it might not seem like you're communicating but there's a high level of communication. Is there something similar in traditional Irish music? New Orleans was interesting to me, was one of the top three immigration spots for the Irish during the potato blight in the 1800s and a huge Irish influence in New Orleans. Which of course New Orleans is also where the place is considered the birthplace of jazz. I have a friend who actually wants to do a research paper on the idea that Irish music was one of the big influencers of jazz because musically yes Jazz has it definitely has a you know a solid form and such. Irish music has a very solid form as well. You know you have  the reels in the Jigs and what not but there is less of the Improv aspect that you find in Irish music than Jazz. Usually what you'll have is a tune and the tune is a Melody that fits into a certain form again reels, jigs, polkas, mazurkas or whatever. They might be you're going to have all these very specific formats and then during the set you might change to a different tune and it might be the same key, might be a different key but it's very different. But at the same time if you know them once you know the melody you know it's very easy to follow along because all the sudden you're in that same format which is again it very much like the Jazz sessions where they might include a little bit more improv and variations and whatnot. In the Irish session you might have a little bit less of that but it's there still the same structure that the Jazz session will have so it's a really interesting comparison between the two I find. 


So you have a podcast called Irish and Celtic music podcast. So can you tell us more about the podcast and the mission that it has? So I started the podcast in 2005 in the early early early days of podcasting. Yeah I think it was you know less than a year into podcasting when the podcast started. And the show is a music podcast, it’s like a radio show and it features an hour-long show of music by Celtic musicians. And the idea is to celebrate Celtic culture through music. So now not all of the music is traditional Irish music like I was describing these reels & Jigs and such as a lot of songs is a lot of fun sing alongs which is one of the other big things about Irish music is the ballads and such. And a lot more fusions of traditional Irish songs and tunes with a contemporary music the Celtic Rock genre. And the various many different fusions of that. And so my podcast is centered around again celebrating all of these fusions and making them readily available no matter where you are in the world and no matter what style of Celtic music you have around the world because again there. When the Irish I put out a CD called how America saved Irish music and the idea is basically that did you know all this traditional Irish music came out of Ireland and went to the United States and Australia went to Germany and Italy went to Russia and Japan.


 And all these fusions came back and created an almost new style of traditional Celtic music. And such that the you know songs like Danny Boy one of the most famous quote unquote Irish songs is actually a song that was as an Irish Melody but it was written by an English lawyer. But it's become an essential part of Irish music world. And so it's fascinating again, the fusion of these cultures and by bringing them all together we are able to more greatly be able to appreciate and celebrate these different cultures with all the influences that have merged together and the diversity of Celtic music. Yeah that's something. Well Marc Gunn thanks so much for being on the show and that we wish you all the best in the future with your music with your podcast. So thank you so much. Thank you very much. You take care. 


Time to wrap it up folks! Thank you so much for tuning in to the Music Podcast for Kids. We hope you enjoy the show, and most importantly, learned something cool today about music. Remember to send in your jokes or even a topic in music you would like us to discuss by visiting our website If you are interested in awesome educational and fun songs for kids to listen and sing along with, please visit Music is available to download with iTunes, CD Baby, and Facebook streaming platforms like Spotify and Amazon Radio. Links will be found in the show notes. If you are interested in learning how to play the piano with a fun and engaging curriculum geared toward kids, please subscribe to Mr. Henry's YouTube channel called Mr. Henry's Music World. Links would be found in the show notes. Please visit iTunes to leave a review of the podcast and also share the podcast with friends, relatives, aliens, whoever! Again we thank you so much for tuning in! 

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