Praise Whistlers Abroad

Irish tunes
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Author:  Susi [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 1:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Irish tunes

I was thinking the whistle was the easiest instrument to play Irish tunes on. But, even without rolls and all that, I find them really difficult!!!! I mean, jigs and reels and stuff like that... it seems impossible to me to ever learn to play them fast with all those jumping up and down (crosspicking on stringed instruments)... what do you think? Should I give it a try or not? Is it worth it? Can I learn fairly easily if I'm somewhat familiar with the whistle or is it really as difficult as it seems? Or just play Irish tunes on the mandolin instead that I'm actually good at, and play some nice slow airs on the whistle instead?

Author:  RonKiley [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 4:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

Do what makes you happy. I have finally learned tp play one jig. However I love to play along with Joanie Madden on "Come By the Hills" or "Down in the Sally Gardens". Its all in playing what you enjoy. If it doesn't make you happy why bother. On the other hand how much joy would it be if you perservered and learned to play some jigs and reels.

Author:  Susi [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 8:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

The thing is that I'm going from one instrument to another because I don't know what I want to learn Irish music on. I love whistle and concertina. Fiddle is too difficult with all those rolls and stuff. Mandolin could be nice but I'd like to focus on bluegrass and oldtime on that. Bouzouki is nice but it is quite boring to sit and play back-up for hours.
I guess whistle would be the easiest because I know more whistle than concertina. But the tunes seem so hard to get into on the whistle.. I don't know. But everybody else can do it so why not me? Maybe it is easier to learn the tunes by ear? I've used a book so far except when I had a teacher.

Also I have to say that the whistle is a very handy instrument to bring with you, no need to tune it (most of the time).. etc

Author:  Judy K [ Sun Nov 16, 2008 11:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

Zoukie, if playing jigs and reels are what you want to do -- go for it! You certainly are in a prime location to hear how they are played with the real Irish twist. Start slowly and play them without the ornamentation at first. Some great Irish players don't use much in the way of ornaments. I've read that it's more important to get the basic rhythm first, then work on the speed and flourishes. (*Warning! Take my advice with a grain of salt. I do not and cannot play any Irish music "at speed", unless it's a lament or air.)

Most important thing is to enjoy what you're doing. :)

Author:  Adrian [ Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

I think it is better to specialise and become the master of one main instrument, unless you have lots and lots of free time to practice several instrument every day. Most of us play several instruments but I do think it is wise to become expert with one rather than just half good at many, though like Ron says, do what makes you most happy.

Author:  Susi [ Tue Nov 18, 2008 9:48 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

I can't play only one instrument, because it is hard to play bluegrass on the tin whistle :laughing:
But I want to specialise in one instrument for Irish music, one for bluegrass, one for Swedish music etc. And play around with the others as time allows.

Author:  ConnieS [ Tue Nov 18, 2008 12:50 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

I'm still looking for a way to make tin whistle work for bluegrass. Just haven't found it yet. Oh, well, it's so perfect for Irish.

Author:  vinceyboy [ Sun Nov 23, 2008 1:38 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

I am in the same delima as yourself. I can play a few reels but mostly like playing slow airs like Sally Gardens and Come to the Hill which suit the whistle perfectly. My advice would be to listen to one reel or jig over and over again until you have it in your head before you start trying to play it, it helps me. Have a look at this link you might find it helpful as there are a lot of tunes you can play along with
Hope this helps

Author:  RonKiley [ Thu Nov 27, 2008 10:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

Here is a site that has a lot of tunes played slow and then up to speed. It really helps to play along with the slow version before trying it at speed. ... .php?id=14

Have fun.

Author:  kelly [ Fri Dec 05, 2008 11:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

For a long time I didn't really try to play jigs or reels on the whistle--they were too fast and I couldn't do rolls and I basically gave up. Finally, I gave them a try, and, over time, learned. Now they are the funnest things I play--because they require skill, they're never boring. It takes me a long time to learn one, but then I keep it up. I encourage you to work on them. It's fun to play a mix of slow and fast Irish tunes.

Author:  vinceyboy [ Sat Dec 06, 2008 5:13 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

Here is a link to a beautiful Irish hymn sung by Dana our Eurovision song contest winner back a few years ago hope you enjoy ... re=related

if anyone has the sheet music to this I would appreciate it if you could pass it on.

Author:  kelly [ Tue Dec 09, 2008 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

One further word, Zoukie. It takes me a LONG time to learn a jig; I probably learn a new one every four months. So I don't know a lot, but I enjoy the ones I "have." What's the rush? You can do it if you want to.

Author:  Adrian [ Wed Dec 10, 2008 11:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

kelly wrote:
One further word, Zoukie. It takes me a LONG time to learn a jig; I probably learn a new one every four months. So I don't know a lot, but I enjoy the ones I "have." What's the rush? You can do it if you want to.

With me it is reels. Jigs I can learn and play easily and quickly but reels!!! After all these years I still can't play a single reel convincingly well. ](*,)

Author:  rosehebrew [ Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Irish tunes

I too have really struggled learning the lightning fast Irish tunes but Blayne Chastain on the Whislteanddrum site has a great Irish Music school. It is only around fifteen dollars a month and I have found it to be very helpful to me though I have been in and out a few times.
I asked Blayne why I was having so much trouble with Irish music when I was not having a problem in other areas and he said it was because of my unfamiliarity with the tunes. It is not something I grew up with so it is just not wanted to seat into my head easily. Well I think he is right and I have found that the more you learn the easier it gets. I don't want to play Irish music all the time because I enjoy worship music the most but I do want to get some common tunes down because after all the whistle is Irish, I am part Irish and it just seems like the right thing for me to do.
Via video which is very helpful to me because I can see what he is doing, Blayne breaks each tune down in bare bones, part A part B, commentary and reg speed with ornamentation. He provides sheet music but encourages people to learn the tunes by ear section by section. He has a section where ornamentation is broken down which is great for beginners and for those who are self taught to make sure that they are on the right track. I don't use his ornamentation much because I am more of a free spirit and prefer my own flavor but it is good anyway. Blayne has a masters in Irish music from his study in Ireland I and consider him to be a qualified teacher and a pleasant one.
Just wanted to share my experience in the area.

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