Dord (instrument)

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Bronze Age horns in the Irish Museum. The largest in this image is 7+12 feet (2.3 m) long, with the second largest at 6 feet (1.8 m).

The dord is a bronze horn native to Ireland,[1] with excavated examples dating back as far as 1000 BC, during the Bronze Age. A number of original dords are known to exist,[citation needed] with some replicas also being built in the late 20th century.[2][3]

Though the musical tradition of the dord has been lost, some modern performers like Rolf Harris and Alan Dargin believe that it was played in a manner similar to the didgeridoo (with circular breathing and shifts in timbre) and have applied that technique to modern fusion music. The Irish musician Simon O'Dwyer attempted to recreate a historically accurate dord in the late 20th century.[4][5]

A number of sources associate a mythical hunting horn, called the Dord Fiann, with Fionn mac Cumhaill and the Fianna of Irish mythology.[6][7]

See also[edit]

  • Carnyx, another type of Celtic trumpet which has been revived
  • Dowris Hoard, a Bronze Age find which contained a number of horns

Further reading[edit]

  • O'Dwyer, Simon (2004). Prehistoric Music of Ireland (Revealing History). ISBN 0752431293.
  • O'Dwyer, Simon; Cullem O'Dwyer, Maria C. (2015). Ancient Music and Instruments of Ireland and Britain. ISBN 978-1514175378.
  • Eichmann, Ricardo; Koch, Lars-Christian (2015). Musikarchäologie: Klänge der Vergangenheit, Issue 15. Theiss. ISBN 978-3-8062-3007-9.


  1. ^ Bonwick, James (1880). "Musical Instruments". Who Are The Irish?. London: Bogue. p. 76. The Horn, cearn, or corn, was said to be sacred to the Irish god Anu. [..] The dudag was a shrill-sounding one of brass; the dord, one for war and the chase; the udgorn, another sort.
  2. ^ "Bronze Age – Bass Trumpet– 'Dord Íseal' – Low Drone – Key Of E-flat". Retrieved 8 July 2022. The second 'dord íseal' made in modernity has been [..] cast by the Dublin Art Foundry in 1998. It is made in the same fashion as the original from which it is copied
  3. ^ "Kerry – Dord Íseal – First Made - circa 750 AD". Retrieved 8 July 2022.
  4. ^ Schellberg, Dirk (1994). Didgeridoo: ritual origins and playing techniques. Binkey Kok. p. 46. ISBN 90-74597-13-0.
  5. ^ Neuenfeldt, Karl (1997). The Didjeridu: From Arnhem Land to Internet. J. Libbey/Perfect Beat Publications. p. 179. ISBN 9781864620030.
  6. ^ Lynch, J.F. (1896). "The Legend of Birdhill". Journal of the Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. 2. Cork Historical and Archaeological Society. II: 188. This was the Dord Fiann, or hunting horn of the Fians. The three then went to the top of the hill where Oisin sounded the Dord Fiann
  7. ^ O'Daly, John (1859). Transactions of the Ossianic Society for the Year 1856: Laoithe Fiannuigheachta, or, Fenian Poems, Volume 4. Ossianic Society. The Dord Fiann was used on hunting excursions, and may be considered the Fenian horn of the chase, like the hunter's horn of our own day