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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 6:23 pm 
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Hi all! I just started down my whistle journey, inspired by a recent trip to Ireland. I have found a group to play with here in West Virginia, but I need to learn some tunes. I have sat in with them on guitar before, and it's the old go round the circle with requests. There are just so many tunes though! If you could recommend 5 for me to get under my belt first, what would they be?


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:15 pm 
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boatofcar wrote:
Hi all! I just started down my whistle journey, inspired by a recent trip to Ireland. I have found a group to play with here in West Virginia, but I need to learn some tunes. I have sat in with them on guitar before, and it's the old go round the circle with requests. There are just so many tunes though! If you could recommend 5 for me to get under my belt first, what would they be?



I think that's an impossible question. As far as I can tell, every local session has its own set of tunes they like to call. To make it worse, most of the tunes have multiple names.

These are the tunes I decided to teach myself, partly because I seemed to see them mentioned a lot, but mostly because I liked them. I bet you they will elicit some groans from people here for being overplayed. I bolded the five I like the most.

Jigs
the lilting banshee
the Rolling Wave
Out on the Ocean
Helvic Head (This is a hard one because it's got five parts)
The Ten Penny Bit
Garret Barry's Jig
The Spring Wells
Morrison's

Reels
Rolling in the ryegrass
The Sally Gardens
Maid behind the bar
Michael Creamer’s
John Blessing's
Drowsy Maggie
The Old Bush
The Green Mountain



Hornpipe(?) Red haired boy/little Beggerman. This tune is fairly common in Old Time and Appalachian repertoires, usually as "the Red Haired Boy." Its a cool slippery melody

A few slow tunes
Si beag, Si Mor
Boolavogue
The Sally Gardens (different tune than above)

Some songs I learned for my late father in law when he was ill
The Kerry Dances
The Minstrel Boy
The Boys of Wexford
The Foggy Dew

I decided to learn these and work on them until I could actually play them, as opposed to just getting through them. After about nine months. I'm close to that. Then I'll teach myself a new set of tunes. Then maybe I'll think about a session. Probably not

Most of these would be easy to find on the internet, either as recorded tunes or in sheet music

I'm very far from an expert.


Last edited by PB+J on Thu Jan 31, 2019 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:31 pm 
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Your best bet is to ask the group you're playing with (or maybe get a list of most of the tunes they play and pick a few). We (Gallowglass in Wheeling, WV) usually have a list of our 30 - 40 (ish) current sets that we are willing to share with visitors and I'm sure there is something similar where you are. BTW, where in WV are you?

Pat

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 8:34 pm 
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PB+J wrote:
I bet you they will elicit some groans from people here for being overplayed.

And I say stuff the begrudgers. You have to start somewhere, and that's a decent list for it.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 9:24 pm 
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OK I'll bite and I don't mind a bit of grumbling. For the record, I've not only never played in on a session but I've never even been to one. So from one beginner to another here's a list of tunes that I like to play. I've been lumping a lot of tunes into sets lately, so that's what I'll give you.

Kesh Jig
Swallowtail Jig

Cooley's Reel
Charlie Harris' Reel

Cliff's of Moher
Piper's Chair

Brosna Slide
Dennis Murphy's Slide

Downey's
Streams of Whiskey

The last two don't really go together and I know Streams isn't a trad tune but I like them all the same.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 30, 2019 10:45 pm 
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I'm another one who's never been to a session. Here are some of the tunes I like.

Cooley's
Red Haired Boy
Rolling in the Rye Grass
Drowsy Maggie
Gravel Walk
Banish Misfortune
Inisheer
Tam Lin
Harvest Home
Rights of Man
King of the Fairies
The Wonder
Lisdoonvarna
Planxty Fanny Power
Saddle the Pony
The Kesh
Moon and Seven Stars
Tripping Up the Stairs

I play most of these each day. I vary the speed. I play around with ornamentation. And I watch vids looking for new tunes.

Good luck. Have lots of fun.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 5:15 am 
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If you go to thesession.org website and visit the Tunes section, you can select the type of tune (reels, jigs, etc.) that interests you. Leave the search box empty and press Search.

It will return the tunes ranked by popularity of the website's users (based on # of users who've added X tune to their tunebook). This gives a fairly global view and might be a good starting point. But as others have commented, most sessions have their own favourites.

EDIT: I've just noticed that for the reels section, it lists Mason's Apron as #10. Yikes.... Maybe the "Add to Tunebook" function is aspirational in nature.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:28 am 
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It really depends on what you want to do. If you are playing with a group of people who have a repertoire they play, learn the tunes you want to play with them. If you want to play music to please yourself, for the fun of it, learn what you know and enjoy. When a tune takes your fancy, learn that, rather than one you're 'supposed' to learn.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:45 am 
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I'll share a resource :
http://quinteirishcanadiansociety.blogs ... sions.html
all of these of course you can find on the session.org
The local session (slow & fast) use these tunes. A good mix of people some ear players and some sheet music readers, experienced players and newbies.
Playing in a session really helps get your skill level up! Learning to play with other musicians is a different ball game then tooting at home.
Some tunes that I found easy to pick up when I started :
Kesh jig
Out on the ocean
Off to California
Harvest Home
Boys of Bluehill
Rakes of Mallow
Girl I left Behind
Star of the County Down
Hector the Hero
Saddle the Pony


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 31, 2019 10:06 am 
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plunk111 wrote:
Your best bet is to ask the group you're playing with (or maybe get a list of most of the tunes they play and pick a few). We (Gallowglass in Wheeling, WV) usually have a list of our 30 - 40 (ish) current sets that we are willing to share with visitors and I'm sure there is something similar where you are. BTW, where in WV are you?

Pat


Not expecting to find a fellow West Virginian here! The group I have been visiting meets in Charleston and from what I can gather is loosely associated with FOOTMAD (Friends of Old Time Music and Dance) inasmuch as that's how they advertise their sessions.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 01, 2019 7:59 pm 
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So where in our beautiful state are you guys? I'm from Chesapeake but marooned in California for many years now. I visit my relatives every year, coming up next this June.

Yes sessions are individual, yet there's a stock of tunes people call "first year tunes" which would in all likelihood be in that Billboard Top 100 as can be seen on The Session by using the filter suggested above.

I checked that list once, of the top 100 tunes that members included in their tunebooks. Of the first 100 I knew all but a few, of the next 100 I knew most of them. Yet I can sit at a session for an hour and not hear a tune I know.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 02, 2019 1:39 pm 
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I’m in Wheeling...

Pat

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PostPosted: Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:17 pm 
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I live in Hurricane, midway between Huntington and Charleston.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:11 am 
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boatofcar wrote:
Hi all! I just started down my whistle journey, inspired by a recent trip to Ireland. I have found a group to play with here in West Virginia, but I need to learn some tunes. I have sat in with them on guitar before, and it's the old go round the circle with requests. There are just so many tunes though! If you could recommend 5 for me to get under my belt first, what would they be?


Go back to your session,listen to the tunes and get the names of ones you like,preferably several different types eg jigs,reels,slip jigs. Those would be the ones to learn since the other session members already know them.

BTW-- for all the respondents who have said they've never been to a session, find one and go ASAP! It's the single best way to really get a feel for Irish trad.Even if you're not up to session playing speed, you'll learn a lot.

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PostPosted: Tue Feb 05, 2019 9:00 am 
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brewerpaul wrote:
boatofcar wrote:

BTW-- for all the respondents who have said they've never been to a session, find one and go ASAP! It's the single best way to really get a feel for Irish trad.Even if you're not up to session playing speed, you'll learn a lot.


If only it was that easy. I've met exactly one other person in my town that plays tin whistle (apparently there is one more as well but haven't gotten around to stalking them yet) and it just isn't a thing here sadly. The plan, once I get a little better at playing and confident with other players is to change that.


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