So I want to write a celtic sounding acoustic piece for my band's new cd but I don't really know where to begin or how to get that celtic sound. If anyone knows what scales and/or chords to use it would be greatly appreciated. Also if anyone knows any celtic sounding songs with tabs so I could get a better idea of the sound then please reccomend them, thanks.
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Mixolydian and Dorian can work, but it's how they're used that's important. Listen to Irish music like the Chieftans. There's also a whole bunch of traditional celtic tabs on here (look up "traditional celtic" as the artist.
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White Summer/Black Mountainside by Led Zeppelin. Cygnus... Vismund Cygnus: Sarcophagi by the Mars Volta has a Celtic feel. Broken Boy Soldier by the Raconteurs is an awesome song, but I wouldn't really consider it celtic, but it does have a little drone in it. Get the album Aqualung by Jethro Tull, it has some nice celtic-esque acoustics. I'm sure there's a System of a Down song with a celtic vibe. Some Devendra Banhart, Nick Drake, definately some Roy Harper, and some John Renbourn and Bert Jansch. There you go!
i think that the celtic sound comes more from phrasing and arrangement than it does from certain scales or chords. as someone mentioned above, flogging molly is a great band to look into for a celtic sound in a rock context. dropkick murphys have a celtic sound to some of their songs as well, but not as much as Flogging Molly IMO. other than that, just listen to some traditional celtic songs for some phrasing ideas and work in a key/scale you feel comfortable with.
Open tunings, that's about as much as I can help.
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In celtic music, mixolydian is their favored major choice and dorian is the favored minor choice. Dorian and Mixolydian both have b7 (or #6). They like to drone a bass note too. For example, have a A major drone or just A, and noodle around in A mixolydian
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Dadgad tuning works for me! I play a bit of celtic...Rory Gallagher, I think its called "western plains" or something, thats all Dadgad (besides the lead guitar), sounds very celtic and it rocks. You'll find most Celtic music is in Dadgad tuning, and its good fun to play around with..........
Celtic is all about the melody. So, hear a melody in your head before picking up the guitar, and then learn it on the guitar. It might take time, but it's a great way. There isn't much if any bass movement in celtic songs, as often they don't even have an instrument in that register. Try playing a bit of a melody starting on your tonic note, then have a bit of a response, starting a fifth up.

Unfortunately I don't know much about it, but good luck!
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Pentatonics are used quite a bit in Celtic/Scottish music, the bagpipes have the tuning A B C# D E F# G A so they're Mixolydian but again depends on the song and notes used. Look at traditional stuff and it's all pentatonic. ( Skye Boat Song for example ).
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Just check out some Opeth they have breaks like the one for benighted, well, the entire song pretty much, but it is just the same composure as folk music. Pick out the notes to common first position chords and you can create a celtic mood, and mess around with waltz meter.
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check out bands like Cruachan, Waylander, they have traditional irish music mixed with metal, its ****in great
We have to dissect and study Irish music in school, so I can tell you that the main features are:

Flattened 7th(mixolydian)
repeated notes, especially at the end of a piece
ORNAMENTATION - the most important one
free rhythm in slow airs and sean nós singing
drones/pedal points
multiple instruments playing the same melody
mono or homophonic texture, ie no harmonies or countermelodies

And fyi:
Slip jig=9/8
Hornpipe=slow 4/4 with dotted feel
Slow air=free rhythm

I bet I've forgotten something important but those are the main ones:P You can imitate a piper by using open tunings - DAGDAd is the most popular over here.
Celtic music normally uses mixolydian and dorian as said above but it also quite frequently uses just straight major and minor (Ionian and Aeolian). Normally it is mostly about the rhythm that the chords are played with.

But I'd say the best way to learn is to head down to a pub and try and find a 'session' and see how they do it. Or don't you get those in America?

If you have any use for some celtic sheet music you can contact me with a PM. If you want.
The picking hand and patterns you use are more important that scale for Irish music.
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