For anyone spending time in Scotland, a toe-tapping tune, a jovial dance and a hearty sing-a-long is almost a guarantee, and it's rarely a quiet affair.

Traditional Scottish music still reverberates around the country. You'll hear street pipers blast the pipes, energetic fiddle sessions and the gentle melodies of folk songs echoing from inside pubs. So, what happens when you mix our traditional music with a spot of dancing? A proper Scottish night out! 

Follow the piper

Pipeband field Dundonald HG

As you travel around Scotland, iconic sounds of the bagpipes will fill the air, and it's likely you'll hear a parade of pipers before you see them.

Bagpipe music has strong connections to Gaelic culture and there are roughly two main styles of music played on the bagpipes, Ceòl Mór and Ceòl Beag. In Gaelic, this means 'big music' and 'little music'.

Strum along to some traditional music

Band orchestra stage Celtic Connections

Of course, we love the pipes, but Scottish music comes in several genres and it has played an important part in social and cultural life for generations of Scots. Folk music evenings and jamming sessions still take place in many pubs around Scotland, where you can often turn up with your instrument of choice and just join in!

You’re also likely to hear traditional music played in the streets in many of Scotland’s cities, with buskers entertaining the crowds at all times of the year.

You might hear instruments such as:

  • Fiddle
  • Accordion
  • Pipes and chanter
  • Guitar
  • Clarsach, a Scottish harp

Come over for a ceilidh

The cheerful melodies of Scottish music will make you want to dance, so get ready for a night to remember! Ceilidhs, a traditional Scottish dance, tend to take place at many important occasions such as weddings and birthday parties, but you can also throw a ceilidh whenever you fancy it.

A ceilidh band tends to fuse all of the traditional Scottish instruments and play a mixture of dances and waltzes throughout the night. Pipers may even be present, depending on the type of occasion.

The event provides a fun opportunity for visitors and locals to come together and dance to lively Scottish country dances with simple steps.

Popular ceilidh dances include:

  • The Flying Scotsman
  • St Bernard's Waltz
  • Gay Gordons
  • Strip the Willow
  • Dashing White Sergeant