easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I’ve been taking lessons on the tin whistle for about a year and I’m ready to move into some dance tunes. Can anyone recommend some nice reels and jigs for a beginner?

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

The first ones I learned on whistle were Ward’s Jig, Concertina Reel, Butterfly and O’Keefe’s Slide (the last of which doesn’t fit your categories but I like it very much!). Good luck with it. Mark

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I’d support Steve’s recommendation on the Waltons book. I find it painful, though, that the tunes on the CD don’t repeat (i.e, AABB,stop.) I’ve been copying them onto my computer and getting Media Player to loop them for a more satisfying "play-along" experience.

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Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

The Swallowtail Jig

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Also, L.E. McCullough’s 121 Session Tunes for Whistle (I think that’s what it’s called), comes with cd recordings slow and up tempo, and sheet music for all the tunes.

Some easier jigs and reels that are particularly suited for beginning whistlers include:

Jigs, Slip jigs, and Slides:
Road to Lisdoonvarna
Kerfunteun Jig
Whinny Hills of Leitrim
Joy of My Life (aka Donnybrook Fair)

Reels:
Wind that Shakes the Barley
Greenfields of Rossbeigh
Terry Teehan’s
Boys of the Lough
Dunmore Lasses

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Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Jim, why not make life really easy for youself and start with polkas? That’s what all the children back in Kerry schools start out with; particulary ‘Egan’s Polka’ - a much maligned tune because it’s so well known and so often played badly by proud parents’ little darlings. (Oh, the forced smiles and gritted teeth such performances can engender in captive audiences!) Another easy one is ‘Britches Full of Stiches’. Both are in the Session’s tune list (Read the comments there on Egan’s for the full flavour of this tune’s reputation). But don’t be deceived by their musical simplicity; playing the tune may be straightforward but playing the music - now that’s another matter altogether!
Best of luck with the whistle.

Michael

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Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Will, I found the Kerfunten rather difficult with the dBd gdB at the end and mddle of each part. Other than that, the jig is pretty easy.

BTW — Other easy tunes are Maggie in the Woods and The Kerry Polka.

-Max

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Oops. Just realized that Egan’s and The Kerry Polka are the same tune.

-Max

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Max, try Kerfunteun in D rather than G.

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Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Polka’s are easy to play on the whistle. Also the Kesh Jig is a good whistle tune.

Johnathan

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Haha I just realised I need to read other comments carefully before I post one.

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I have just joined The Session and thought I’d add my 2p:

The Lilting Banshee and My Darling Asleep are two lovely and very easy jigs.

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

…and The Merry Blacksmith (aka Paddy on the Railroad aka The Flags of Dublin) is a pretty good reel to start with…

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I tried Kerfunten in D, and it is much easier.

Welcome to the session, bkessler!

-Max

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I am struggling to accompany people. Can anyone suggest any easy tunes on bodhran?.

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

My teacher hates my 110 tin whistle tune book. He says I learned to play them all too fast from the CD. But there are a lot of good tunes in there.

Katie

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

I’m not a whistle player really but I can manage
Dunmore Lasses
Cooley’s Reel
The Man of Aran
The Maple Leaf
playing slowly.
And Boulavougue which of course doesn’t count.

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Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Dunno if you’re just winding us up, Geoff (but judging by your bio, I’d guess you are)… …and Shannaquay’s reply could be good kindling for a religious debate about bodhrans.

I’ve heard it said by many an accomplished bodhran player that a bodhran player should never accompany a tune unless they know the melody as well as a melody instrument player does. Myron Bretholz can probably lilt hundreds, if not thousands of Irish tunes. Now that’s a bit extreme by my reckoning… BUT… it makes a good point - that if you’re just going to play basic "watermelon" or "peaches-and-apricots" rhythms (on reels and jigs, respectively), then you will be, at best, value-neutral to the session. Conversely, if you try to overdue the embellishments, rim shots, and off-beat whoopty-dos, you’ll more likely be a detriment to a session. I know this from personal experience, because I’ve seen it done and I’ve done it myself. Looking back to those days, those are not the musical memories I’m most proud of.

The fundamental point is that, just because a bodhran doesn’t have strings, holes, or keys, that doesn’t mean that you don’t have to put in countless hours of practice mastering the instrument and developing a sense of how tunes should be accompanied.

And one of the most critical skills to playing at a session, whether accompanying or playing a melody instrument, is *listening*. As a percussion accompanist, the importance of listening is multiplied by a factor of about eight gazillion. You must be sensitive to the melody and the lead players’ styles in order to be a value-add to the session. Let this be your guide to tastefully departing from the basic rhythms and adding embellishments. Keep in mind, many of the melodies have been around for hundreds of years, and have persevered and thrived just fine without any need of percussion accompaniment.

Bodhran playing at a session can really be wonderful - but bodhran players must not take their roles lightly - or irresponsibly.

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

It is a stock joke amongst musicians of any genre that a band should consist of three musicians plus a drummer.

Re: easy jigs and reels for the tin whistle

Geoff

Right, especially amongst Classical quartet, bluegrass and Dominican Can Band musicans!!

bkessler

Very well said!

Jim

Harper is right about polka’s being a good for starting out. Especially if you plan (presumably) to play with other musicans since the rhythm is relatively easy to get behind.

I’d recomend that you go to your local seisiun and talk to them. Get some recomendations so that you are learing tunes you will actually be able to play with someone else. Your local Cohmaltas chapter (if there is one) probably has compiled some tunes or even put together a tune book. Alternately, If they don’t mind, you could tape some tunes.

The tunebooks and demo CD’s mentioned above can cause frustrations since there are local/regional variations to many of the tunes. You don’t want to be playing different notes than everyone else, especially in the early going. I first set out to learn Drowsy Maggie from LE McCulloughs 121 tune set, (mentioned above), as it turned out I thought I had the tune down, but LE’s rhythm and the cascading conclusion to the B part (starting on bar 6 of the b part) were very different than what is played by the County Clare musicans in this neck of the woods, Anyone who has LEM’s 121 sessuin tunes book can compare the tune to the one listed on this site (which is how we play it) to see what I mean. Needless to say this made for some confusication on my part. Once you really get to know the tunes and a better handle on the whistle, you will be able to adapt to these kinds of things.

As for Polka’s. John Ryans is easy and well known. I like Bill Sullivan’s for working on your "C" note moves. Ballydesmond Polka #2 is easy too and it’s a good one for working in some long rolls.

The tunes mentioned above (the ones I know anyway) are good starter tunes but even though kuec makes no claim to being a whistler, I wouldn’t personally recomend Cooley’s reel to start out, as much as I do love the tune there are easier reels such as the already mentioned Merry Blacksmith and Wind that Shakes the Barley. Silver Spear is anther relatively easy one.

Good luck!