Sean Nos Singing – ‘old style’ singing

Sean Nos Singing – ‘old style’ singing


Sean-nós (literally, 'old style') singing is a complicated, unaccompanied and highly-ornamental style of singing. The ornamentation offers movement between the main notes, a very personal ‘note-journey’ that, while essential to the song, should never actually distract from the main melody.

An intimate, understated form of music, variations of melody, rhythm and phrasing are present and can vary from verse to verse depending on the whim of the performer and the environment. The inflections should be subtle enough so as to be almost unnoticeable, but the expressivity is essential. Sean-nós can be applied to singing in both Irish and, more recently, English.


Well known sean-nos singers include Róise na nAmhrán, Joe Heaney, Iarla Ó Lionáird, Maighread Ní Dhomhnaill and Róisin White


  • Joe Heaney

    Performs Amhrán Shéamuis Uí Chnocuir

  • Róise Na Namhrán

    Performs An Clár Bog Deal (The Bog Deal Board)