Pirrie Wirrie reel

Also known as Peerie Weerie, Peerie Werrie, Peerie Willie, Perrie Werrie, The Perrie Werrie.

There are 14 recordings of this tune.

This tune has been recorded together with

Pirrie Wirrie has been added to 1 tune set.

Pirrie Wirrie has been added to 52 tunebooks.

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Two settings

X: 1
T: Pirrie Wirrie
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
|:BG~G2 BGcA|BG (3Bcd gded|BGcA BGGB|A=FAB cBAG|
BG~G2 BGcA|BG (3Bcd gded|BGcA BGGB|A=FAB c3 A:|
|:Bdd^c dedc|(3Bcd de gded|Bdd^c dedB|A=FAB c3 A|
Bdd^c dedc|Bdde g2 de|gbeg dgdB|A=FAB cBAG:|
# Added by errik .
X: 2
T: Pirrie Wirrie
R: reel
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
K: Gmaj
c|:BGGD G3c|BGBd gdec|BGGD G3 B|A=FAB c2 BA:|
|:BddB dedc|1 Bdef gfed|BddB dedB|A=FAB c2 BA:|
[2 Bdef g2 de|gbeg dgBd|A=FAB c BA||

Fifteen comments

From Altan

Posted by .

Perrie Werrie

From Scotland.

Posted by .

Also played as a 16 bar Highland Fling

- with that classic skip/swing…

It can be found in the Athole Collection - a collection of fiddle tunes from Perthshire. It bears a family resemblance to The Flogging Reel - perhaps an ancestor thereof. Frankie Kennedy did it great justice on the Altan recording.

Accidental accidental?

Do people play the second c in the first and fifth measures of the B part sharp? My ear wants it to be natural.

Posted by .

I agree - I think it might have been a typo.

Peerie Werrie (Scots Reel)

This is the original reel from Scotland. Fs can also be played as sharp:

X: 1
T:The Peerie Werrie
S:Arr. Barra MacNeils
c|:BGGD G3c|BGBd gdec|BGGD G3 B|A=FAB c2 BA:||!
|:BddB dedc|1Bdef gfed|BddB dedB|A=FAB c2 BA:|!
|2Bdef g2 de|gbeg dgBd|A=FAB c BA||

Peerie Werrie

Peerie is Shetland for little (not sure about werri/weeri/wirri).
… and for language lovers, Peedie is the Orkney version.

Peerie Werrie

The word "peerie/peedie" for small was at one time used as far south as Fife, but now restricted to the far north of Scotland and Orkney and Shetland. As for the whole title, there is some confusion. There was a phrase in the 19th century "peerie weerie" meaning simply "a tiny creature". Alternatively, a "wherry" was a light boat - take your pick.

The tune can be found in Gow’s Complete Repository, with no C sharps at all.

Peerie Willie Johnson

Peerie Willie Johnson introduced the gypsy swing jazz style of guitar accompaniment that is now favoured in Shetland - and otherwise known as Dum Chink…

Peerie Willie may have done all that Robert but the tune is still not named after him.

peerie is small (you have to peep peercingly to peerceeve it) but I read from the web that ‘Pirrie’ means a rough gale, perhaps that def matches the mood of the tune better?

A constant G drone companion is all you need here. The drone ‘reveals’ that tune perfectly.

Re: Pirrie Wirrie

The tune appears in old Scottish collections (Gow, Athole) and it’s always spelled "Perrie Werrie." It’s also in the more-recent Aonghas Grant collection and he explains that a perrie-werrie is a child’s toy top (the kind that spins). I believe it’s unrelated to the Shetland word "peerie," which means "little."