Walking The Floor jig

By Jack Chisholm

Also known as Close To The Floor, Walkin The Floor, Walkin’ The Floor.

There are 10 recordings of this tune.

Walking The Floor has been added to 7 tune sets.

Walking The Floor has been added to 110 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Walking The Floor
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Ador
|:AGA e2d|efg edB|GFG d2G|Bge dBG|
AGA e2d|efg edB|GFG edB|BAG A3:|
|:aga e2d|gee edB|gfg d2B|Gge dBG|
aga e2d|gee edB|GFG edB|BAG A3:|
X: 2
T: Walking The Floor
R: jig
M: 6/8
L: 1/8
K: Amix
e|A>AA e2A|e>fg e>dB|G>GG d2B|G>ge d>BG|
A>AA e2A|e>fg e>dB|G>GG e>dB|B>AA A2:|
B|a3 e2d|g>ee e>dB|g3 d2B|G>ge d>BG|
a3 e2d|g>ee e>dB|G>GG e>dB|B>AA A2:|

Twenty-five comments

Walking the Floor: A Cape Breton Jig

I learned this simple, mighty little jig from the fiddle playing of Ashley MacIsaac. I’m not sure of the origin of the tune, but I guess it was originally a Scottish pipe tune or mouth music. Please supply the info.

Thanks, but who is J. Chisholm? A piper?

I don’t know - sorry! I reckon this is a modern C.B. composition, written in the style of a Scottish pipe tune. Yeah, maybe he is a piper. By the way, I’m going to be in Japan after the August Montana session. I was thinking of checking out that Tokyo session you were talking about. What do you think? What are you doing end of August?

Oops sorry Jeremy I got carried away - that should have been in an e-mail. That’s going to make no sense to anyone looking at these comments at a later date.

This tune is by John Chisholm and appears in the "master method" collection of bagpipe music from c. 1950. I don’t know who John Chisholm was though. Maybe Kenny might know.

Posted by .

Walking the floor

Derived from Thug mi sgith and cutting bracken I feel

Walking the floor

Same basis as Thug Mi Sgith and Cutting Bracken

The story I always heard was that the tune was made while walking the floor in the middle of the night with a crying baby.

origins or connections

It’s very similar in some ways to the Skyeman’s Jig by D. Johnston.

Anyone happen to know when each was written?

Waulking the floor

I understood the spelling to be waulking, perhaps as in tweed walking to full the cloth. Sounds of Scottish origin to me when the first three notes of the first and third measures are played as triplets and given a little syncopation as in the copy of the music I received somewhere along my musical journeys.

Walking the Floor

"I understood the spelling to be waulking, perhaps as in tweed [waulking]…"

No, Karen, it’s always simply "Walking the Floor" (and anyway, why would you waulk a floor?). The version in ‘Master Method for Highland Bagpipe’ (Jas. Robertson and Donald Shaw Ramsay, 1953) is slightly different from the way Ashley MacIsaac plays it (I give it above).


…it could be a reference to solo piping competitions, where rather than standing completely still for the performance, the piper will quite often march a short distance, turn and come back again. Just a thought, but it seems logical to me.

Posted by .


Thank you, Nigel.

"Jack Chisholm, as he was universally known, was the son of P/M Bill Chisholm of Inverness and grew up in a piping family. He served in North Africa during the war and afterward was in the Edinburgh City Police Pipe Band under Donald Shaw Ramsay. But a personality clash caused him to emigrate to Washington D.C. around 1956/7 where he had been offered the Pipe major’s position in the local Pipe Band. After leaving this position, he went west - but never recovered from subsequently being mugged and left locked in the boot of his car for two days.

As`well as this jig, ‘Walking the Floor’, he composed an excellent but seldom-heard reel, ‘Teenie’s Wedding’, printed in Logan’s Collection. "

"The composer’s full 4-part version is in Chris Hamilton’s Tone Czar Collection, along with the tune’s history, and for good measure an alternative (1970s Shotts) 4-part setting."


Walking the Floor

We can always rely on you for more detailed information, Weejie - thanks!

Nigel - I thought the last bit of that sounded familiar - click on Weejie’s link and see who he was quoting…

Walking the Floor

I can confirm Weejie’s excellent biography of Jack Chisholm, as he taught me to play the pipes over fifty years ago. He made this tune while trying to put his infant son to sleep.

Walking the Floor

I should add that he was still in Washington DC in 1961, where I saw him, along with his brother Malcolm, in the well-known ‘Mac’s Bar’ in Georgetown, which featured occasional bursts of piping by people like himself.

It wasn’t my biography, so I don’t deserve any credit other than for pasting the piece from the bobdunsire forum. Quoting Matt’s comment woke him up too!

Re: Walking The Floor

I got an email from Jack Chisholm’s daughter about this tune:

"My father wrote the piping jig Walking the floor in 1949. He resided in Inverness Scotland. The tune was written while my mother was in labor with John Andrew Chisholm. Jack Chisholm and his family wife Mary Margaret Chisholm son John Andrew Chisholm and daughter Maureen Chisholm immigrated to the US in January of 1958. Sadly he died from Lung/Brain Cancer."