So you'd like to...

play Celtic music on the piano.

A guide by Mark Gaines (Indianapolis, IN USA)
(REAL NAME)   

Products sampled from this guide:
There are piano books for every style of music and every composer and songwriter you can think of. You can find everything from alternative rock to zydeco, Abba to Frank Zappa. My own favorite is Celtic music, the music of Ireland, Scotland, and Wales. There are books for the music of each of these three lands and also several collections of Celtic music. There are also a few Celtic fake books. A fake book usually just gives you the melody and chord changes for each song. You can play the melody with your right hand and the chordal harmony with your left hand, either as block chords or arpeggios. Listed below are some books offering pieces in the Celtic musical tradition. Under each category, I have tried to list the books roughly by level of difficulty. If you've forgotten a lot of what you learned in those long ago childhood piano lessons, I suggest working through a good beginner piano instruction book first. I used Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book, Level One. This will help you review basic music theory and build up your skill by playing some simple pieces before tackling the ones in the books listed below.


Ireland:
My First Book of Irish Songs and Celtic Dances: 21 Favorite Pieces in Easy Piano Arrangements is an inexpensive Dover book. If you're just beginning to play the piano and would like some easy to learn arrangements of Irish songs, this is a good place to start. Some other possibilities for beginners are Celtic Dreams: 18 Irish Folk Songs, Irish Favorites for Easy Piano, The Joy Of Irish Music (Joy Books), Irish Favorites, and Irish Piano with Just Three Chords.

Mel Bay Roving Through Ireland - Piano Solos Of Trad Irish Flk Music contains 38 folk tunes arranged for intermediate solo piano.

Ancient & Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano has mostly instrumental pieces of varying levels of difficulty.

Irish Favorites contains 30 of the best known Irish songs: Danny Boy, When Irish Eyes are Smiling, My Wild Irish Rose etc. This book includes lyrics and guitar chord symbols for each song.

The Best of Irish Music is similar to the above book. Billed as the only Irish music book you'll ever need!

THE IRISH SONGBOOK: 75 Songs--Collected, Adapted, Written and Sung by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem. has adaptations of many traditional songs from the pioneers of the Celtic music revival in the sixties.

Irish Pub Songs (Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook) has songs you can learn to play on the piano or just sing while you're having a pint of Guinness.

The Chieftains -- The Long Black Veil: Piano/Vocal/Chords has a baker's dozen of songs from the CD of the same name. With their constant touring and collaborations with non-Celtic musicians, the Chieftains have probably done more than any other group to introduce Celtic music to a wider audience.

The Mary Black Song Book contains songs taken from several of her records. An effort has been made to keep each piano arrangement as close as possible to the recorded version, using the same keys and chord changes.


Scotland:
Songs of Scotland: 36 Favourite Songs for Voice and Piano: (Boosey & Hawkes) offers 36 favorite Scottish songs with simple piano arrangements. Among the songs included: Flow Gently, Sweet Afton; Macpherson's Farewell; My Love Is Like a Red, Red Rose; Annie Laurie; Loch Lomond; Scotland the Brave.

Songs of Scotland contains a hundred traditional songs, including some lesser known ones. Information on the origins of each song is included.

Seventy Scottish Songs (Dover Song Collections) has been around for a very long time. My nearby library has a musty old copy dated 1905. The arrangements seem to be aimed at a more advanced level of playing ability.


Wales:
SONGS OF WALES 51 FAVORITE SONGS VOICE AND PIANO are mostly taken from an earlier classic book of the same name. This book includes love songs, battle songs, and songs about the beauty of the Welsh landscape. There are short background notes on each song.

Songs of Wales: Piano/Vocal/Guitar contains a number of favorite Welsh songs with music for piano, guitar chords, and English lyric translations.


General:
Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales has simple and easily played arrangements of a number of traditional songs.

Mel Bay presents Songs of the British Isles is an out of print Mel Bay book that you can still buy used here through Amazon.

The Celtic Collection For Piano includes a CD where you can listen to each of the pieces being played. Most of the pieces in this book were originally written for the lute and have been adapted for the piano. CELTIC LOVESONGS - 2O IRISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS PVG - CD INCLUDED (Schott Piano Lounge) is another collection that comes with a CD. This contains mostly traditional Irish and Scottish ballads.

The Celtic Fake Book (Fake Books) C Edition has melodies, lyrics, and chord names for over 400 songs. An index divides the songs by each nationality: Irish (separate sections for folk and popular songs), Scottish (a separate section for folksongs from the Hebrides), and Welsh.


If you're a beginner, it can be helpful to listen to a piece before attempting to play it. One of the nice things about the Internet is that a number of midi files of traditional music are available to listen to. If you're learning a traditional piece from one of the books above, you can just go to a search engine and type the name of the song and the word "midi" and the odds are good it's out there. You can also buy a compilation CD that has traditional music and listen to that. A few examples are Irish Album, Great Irish Tenors, 25 Irish Favorites, Sing Along an Irish Song, Scottish Tranquility: Piano And Orchestral Classics, Jo Stafford Sings Songs of Scotland, Harp Music of Wales, Voice of Wales, and Heritage of Wales Scotland Ireland. If you have a favorite Celtic song you're looking for, you can just type in the title here at Amazon music and it will give you a list of recordings that it's on. If you want to learn to play that particular song, you can type in "songbook" under search on the Amazon.com home page. On the results page, you should see a sponsored link leading to sheetmusicplus.com. This has a nice search feature where you can look for written music by instrument. For example, if you search under piano for "Loch Lomond", it currently shows 187 songbooks that contain the music for this piece. You can find almost any Celtic piece you're looking for here.

Products mentioned include:
1.  Alfred's Basic Adult Piano Course: Lesson Book, Level One  by Willard A. Palmer
$8.57 Used & New from: $1.60
4.6 out of 5 stars   (246) | 3 customer discussions
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2.  My First Book of Irish Songs and Celtic Dances: 21 Favorite Pieces in Easy Piano Arrangements  by Bergerac
Used & New from: $12.23
4.6 out of 5 stars   (5)
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3.  Celtic Dreams: 18 Irish Folk Songs  by Phillip Keveren
$8.75 Used & New from: $4.40
4.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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4.  Irish Favorites for Easy Piano 
Out of stock
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5.  The Joy Of Irish Music (Joy Books)  by Frank Metis
Used & New from: $0.80
4.5 out of 5 stars   (2)
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6.  Irish Favorites  by Hal Leonard Corp.
$9.95 Used & New from: $0.44
4.8 out of 5 stars   (4)
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7.  Irish Piano with Just Three Chords  by Alfred Publishing Staff
Used & New from: $1.56
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8.  Mel Bay Roving Through Ireland - Piano Solos Of Trad Irish Flk Music  by Richard Voss
$12.99 Used & New from: $4.85
3.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
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9.  Ancient & Modern Songs of Ireland for Piano  by Gail Smith
$19.99 Used & New from: $6.56
4.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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10.  Irish Favorites  by Hal Leonard Corp.
$8.71 Used & New from: $0.30
4.8 out of 5 stars   (4)
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11.  The Best of Irish Music  by Hal Leonard Corp.
$13.96 Used & New from: $0.01
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12.  THE IRISH SONGBOOK: 75 Songs--Collected, Adapted, Written and Sung by The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem.  by Clancy Brothers
Used & New from: $25.00
  See buying options  Add to wishlist
13.  Irish Pub Songs (Piano/Vocal/Guitar Songbook)  by Hal Leonard Corp.
$12.02 Used & New from: $6.69
4.3 out of 5 stars   (9)
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14.  The Chieftains -- The Long Black Veil: Piano/Vocal/Chords  by The Chieftains
Used & New from: $70.00
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15.  The Mary Black Song Book  by Declan Sinnott
Used & New from: $28.99
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16.  Songs of Scotland: 36 Favourite Songs for Voice and Piano: (Boosey & Hawkes)  by Margery Hargest Jones
Used & New from: $33.72
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17.  Songs of Scotland  by Wilma Paterson
Used & New from: $4.08
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18.  Seventy Scottish Songs (Dover Song Collections)  by Helen Hopekirk
$14.46 Used & New from: $2.68
3.8 out of 5 stars   (11)
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19.  SONGS OF WALES 51 FAVORITE SONGS VOICE AND PIANO  by VARIOUS
$25.95 Used & New from: $10.82
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20.  Songs of Wales: Piano/Vocal/Guitar  by Alfred Publishing Staff
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4.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
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21.  Folk Songs of England, Ireland, Scotland, & Wales  by William Cole
$18.50 Used & New from: $6.44
4.9 out of 5 stars   (13)
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22.  Mel Bay presents Songs of the British Isles  by Jerry Silverman
$19.95 Used & New from: $0.57
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23.  The Celtic Collection For Piano  by Allan Alexander
$22.95 Used & New from: $9.00
2.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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24.  CELTIC LOVESONGS - 2O IRISH AND SCOTTISH BALLADS PVG - CD INCLUDED (Schott Piano Lounge)  by Carsten Gerlitz
$16.15 Used & New from: $10.70
5.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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25.  The Celtic Fake Book (Fake Books) C Edition  by Hal Leonard Corp.
$18.87 Used & New from: $11.79
4.7 out of 5 stars   (27)
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26.  Irish Album  by Irish Traditional
$13.63 Used & New from: $0.01
5.0 out of 5 stars   (2)
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27.  Great Irish Tenors  by Great Irish Tenors
$19.99 Used & New from: $0.01
4.0 out of 5 stars   (1)
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28.  25 Irish Favorites  by 25 Irish Favorites
Used & New from: $0.01
3.2 out of 5 stars   (5)
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29.  Sing Along an Irish Song [Import]  by MacNamara's Singers
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30.  Scottish Tranquility: Piano And Orchestral Classics [Enhanced]  by Phil Coulter
$14.99 Used & New from: $0.26
4.6 out of 5 stars   (41)
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31.  Jo Stafford Sings Songs of Scotland  by Jo Stafford
$12.99 Used & New from: $8.95
4.7 out of 5 stars   (10)
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32.  Harp Music of Wales [Import]  by Robin Huw Bowen
Used & New from: $5.95
4.5 out of 5 stars   (2)
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33.  Voice of Wales  by Tredegar Orpheus Male Choir
$10.30 Used & New from: $0.50
5.0 out of 5 stars   (4)
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34.  Heritage of Wales Scotland Ireland [Import]  by Various Artists
Out of stock
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Author

Mark Gaines (Indianapolis, IN USA)
(REAL NAME)   
Qualifications: interested in the Celtic musical tradition
Last updated: 7/18/09
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