Lilting is a form of traditional singing common in the Goidelic speaking areas of Ireland and Scotland. It goes under many names, and is sometimes referred to as mouth music, diddling, jigging, chin music or cheek music, puirt a beul or canntaireachd in Scottish Gaelic, or portaireacht bhéil (port a'bhéil, "mouth-singing") in Irish. It in some ways resembles scat singing.
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Lilting often accompanied dancing. Features such as rhythm and tone dominate in lilting. The lyrics thus are often meaningless or nonsensical. Because of this, translations from Goidelic languages often do not exist.
The origins of lilting are unclear. It might have resulted in part from the unavailability of instruments, whether because they were seen as too expensive or were banned. However, peasant music in other Indo-European cultures was subject to similar constraints, and lilting did not develop.
- Paddy Tunney
- Bobby Gardiner
- Len Graham
- Christine Primrose
- Karen Matheson and Mary Ann Kennedy demonstrate lilting on a BBC 2005 television series, The Highland Sessions, filmed in Killiecrankie, Perthshire
- Dolores O'Riordan, singer of Irish rock band The Cranberries
- Siobhan Owen, Welsh-born Australian celtic and classical singer, harpist
- List of All-Ireland lilting champions
- List of traditional Irish singers
- Sean-nós song, unaccompanied Irish traditional singing
- Puirt a beul, Scottish Lilting
- Waulking song, unaccompanied Scottish traditional singing done while working