Pirrie Wirrie reel
Also known as Peerie Weerie, Peerie Werrie, Peerie Willie, Perrie Werrie, The Perrie Werrie.
There are 14 recordings of this tune.
Pirrie Wirrie has been added to 2 tune sets.
Pirrie Wirrie has been added to 58 tunebooks.
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.
Do people play the second c in the first and fifth measures of the B part sharp? My ear wants it to be natural.
I agree - I think it might have been a typo.
This is the original reel from Scotland. Fs can also be played as sharp:
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 is Shetland for little (not sure about werri/weeri/wirri).
… and for language lovers, Peedie is the Orkney version.
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…
Same tune? https://thesession.org/tunes/4825
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.”