|Ellen MacIsaac at Canada's 2013 Oireachtas|
Sean nós: there are three main styles of Sean nós, corresponding to the three areas where Irish is still spoken as a community language, the Gaeltachtai of Munster, Connacht and Ulster. Even though Sean-nós is practiced outside these areas, only those three distinct styles can be recognised. Singers from the Gaeltacht and indeed from outside Ireland may blend them, depending on where they learned. For those familiar with the styles, will notice the differences amongst them.
The Donegal Sean nós has been heavily influenced by Scots Gaelic song, where the melody is much less ornamented (uses of grace notes, and may also contain a steady pulse throughout the song). In all styles, the singers link a text to their interpretation of the melody. All styles will have slow (non-rhythmic songs) and songs that are sung to melodies with a very strong rhythm mostly drawn from the dance music, e.g. Jigs, slip-jigs, reels etc. http://comhaltas.ie/music/treoir/detail/amhranaiocht_ar_an_sean_nos/
As Seamas Mac Mathuna has written, "Sean nós singing is at once the most loved and the most reviled, the least often heard and the least understood part of that body of music which is generally referred to as Irish Traditional Music.” http://www.folkmusic.net/htmfiles/inart378.htm
Here you can hear Scread Ceann Sualtaim, Celtic song of The Headless Horseman.
Next time we will refer to music for dance.