Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Sadly I don’t have anyone to play with, so do you have any tunes for Low D / High D / High C whistles that sound good and rich on its own and don’t need accompaniment?

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Welcome to the session!

There are loads of lovely airs and slow tunes that sound great unaccompanied on a Low D 🙂

Checkout on YouTube eg :
- Dunmore Lassies (rapalje version)
- South Winds
- Innisheer

For an example of a nice high C tune (relatively unaccompanied) check out YouTube:
- “LIVE AT THE PUB Sean Keane Lament for Kilcash”

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Thanks, I will check them out!

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

No problem 🙂

Separately, I’m not sure how new you are to the whistle/how focused on traditional music, but if you’re a relative beginner it might be worth checking out a lady called “CutiePie D” on YouTube.

She produces tabs for non-trad music (as well as some trad) and there are lots of tunes there that sound very rich unaccompanied (theme tunes to studio ghibli movies, gaming background music, adaptions of Chinese trad tunes, that sort of thing). I really like a few of those tunes 🙂

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Tabhair Dom Do Lámh works well on solo high / low whistle, but make sure you can nail that f natural

https://thesession.org/tunes/454

There’s also loads of Carolan tunes that work nicely as standalone items. For modern composers check out L E McCullough and John McCusker

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

The whistle is a lovely solo instrument and in my view any old tune can sound good played on the whistle without accompaniment. So have confidence in your playing. As you improve you will soon find that every tune you play sounds good on its own. A great way to take pleasure in solo playing and is to find a room or an environment with natural echo and just enjoy the richness.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Not a direct answer to your question, but it is worth bearing in mind that all (Irish) traditional tunes are designed to be played by a solo instrumentalist. So any tune from the traditional repertoire can sound good on its own – it is more a question of what tunes are easiest to pull of without the ‘safety net’ of accompaniment.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Thank you all for your lovely answers 🙂

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Creadur sand staimh really hit the nail on the head. Traditional playing is a single instrument. If you don’t sound good alone you just need to practice more. All of your tunes will sound good alone if you get good enough. A good player can turn your least favorite tune into your favorite tune. So watch other players and figure out what they’re doing that you’re not. Also record yourself when you practice. How you sound in reality is nothing like what you hear in your head while playing. When you play it back you may be humbled. In that case pick out specific things that you don’t like and work on correcting them. Don’t underestimate how long the good players have spent working on their tunes. You have to pick apart every note and phrase and perfect them often times. The folks you wish to sound like don’t pick up their whistle every now and again and just play in a weekly session. They practice for hours on end constantly and really *work* on tunes. If it was easy everyone would be a Mary Bergin or Brian Finnegan. You can do it if you want it badly enough. Good luck!

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

I agree that solo melody instruments sound fine, but that applies to those of us who have grown up in (or acquired) the tradition). In practical terms it’s not quite so straightforward with some audiences. Most non-musicians, especially if they don’t know much about ITM and STM, are used to hearing tunes played with rhythmic and chordal accompaniment, and find it hard to “get” melodies played unaccompanied. I’ve often played fiddle or whistle in pubs or gigs with guitar accompaniment, and found that people were happy to listen for 1-2 hours. However, playing solo I found that audiences would get restive or antsy after about 10 minutes.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

They’d have listen for 10 hours if you added a drum machine. We’re talking about what sounds good to us not the unwashed masses.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Well, we don’t all have the advantage of being able to play with the cognoscenti. In order to get venues or gigs some of us are dependent on playing before people who are not knowledgeable in the tradition (whether unwashed or not).

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

To be fair to Borderer, I don’t think Merten specified to whom (us or the unwashed masses) a tune should “sound good and rich on it’s own and don’t need accompaniment.”

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

I believe it is implied in the question. Who on earth is listening to solo tin whistle besides us?

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Wodanaz: “Who on earth is listening to solo tin whistle besides us?”

Borderer: “However, playing solo I found that audiences would get restive or antsy after about 10 minutes.”

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

I just did a solo flute concert last week. Several people walked up to hand me money as I had no tip jar out. Others clapped and cheered. Some accosted me in the parking lot to tell me how much they enjoyed my playing. Also when I practice people will drive up to me from other places. They will follow the sound to tell me how much they enjoy the playing. However what I’ve always noticed is that no one will simply stay put and watch an entire set of an hour or more. They like it for at most up to around 5 minutes or 10 in Borderers case. He must be quite good to hold them for so long.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

I think people have to be interested in the music - rather than just a listening experience - to listen for a long time. I don’t play Mary Bergin albums in the car unless I am on my own.

Fiddle and maybe flute seem to be different. Maybe it’s the greater variety of tone and dynamics. Would switching between very different whistles hold peoples’ ear?

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

To be fair jigs and reels are dance music. So when done properly people are dancing not sitting and listening. For most people our music is pleasant background music at best and annoying and shrill at worst. It’s like the edm of the 1800s.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

That’s yer man who plays with Sylvain Barou there on the citern. Brittany is producing some of the worlds best trad flute players these days.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

“To be fair jigs and reels are dance music. So when done properly people are dancing not sitting and listening”

Interesting - so all those people who go to sit down concerts & sessions to hear Irish trad music have got it wrong?

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

No. People like what they like. You can’t get that wrong. In sessions most people are talking over the music though except for a handful. I would only count concert goers as real listeners for the most part.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

“In sessions most people are talking over the music though except for a handful. I would only count concert goers as real listeners for the most part.”

Looks like you’re in California - perhaps it’s different there. I’ve been going to Irish sessions here in London and in Ireland for nearly 40 years and I would disagree, there’s been alot of listening going on.

Re: Whistle tunes that sound good on its own

Regarding whether audiences listen, have at look at this video:
https://duckduckgo.com/?q=blazin+fiddles&t=ffab&atb=v320-1&iar=videos&iax=videos&ia=videos&iai=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3Df4wRU0VPg1w
It’s Blazin Fiddles at Celtic Colors, no less, and you can hear most of the audience talking all the way through the tune. It’s sad that at many concerts and session the musical offerings are often regarded as background music for people who prefer to chat through the performances ….