A Genre Analysis of Contemporary Celtic Music: The Revival of the Traditional Ballad

University essay from Göteborgs universitet/Institutionen för språk och litteraturer

Abstract: This is a genre study in linguistics of which the sole purpose is to identify and categorise common conventions within lyrics from the genre Celtic music. Previously, there have been no dedicated or conclusive studies on the lyrics of Celtic music. With no specific initiation point, this research chose to look at certain stylistic aspects of the lyrics - broadly, whether or not mimicking can be identified from an earlier or external genre. The traditional folk ballad has been used as a point of comparison for this study as many of its structural conventions can be found in the lyrics of Celtic music today. This research carries out an in-depth analysis of a small selection of lyrics by comparing and contrasting their identifying features with those found in selected historical ballads. The results point out some of the common conventions, and also connect these to pertinent local or contextual influences. Using previous studies in genre analysis to influence some aspects of the results, the conclusion proffers the theory that Celtic music has been adopted by mainly communities influenced by an Anglophonic presence. The genre, thus, appears to ignore the broader roots of origin associated with the word Celtic, as the people with the same name are known to have been living throughout other parts of Europe as the UK. If the lyricists of Celtic music are situated in a context rich in Anglophonic influences, then it is highly plausible that their conventions would take inspiration from existing stylistic frameworks as the classical Anglophonic ballad.

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