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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:46 pm 
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Hey folks,

I was just wondering if some jigs and reels, for instance, are "meant" to be played, say, rather on a fiddle than a whistle or the pipes? I'm a whistler myself, and although I've been at it for some years now, the pub session scene is still quite new to me. I have been going to a small-ish monthly pub session for some time that has a long-time fiddler there, and I've been learning many tunes that they've played there over the years. Anyway the point is that some tunes just seem to come out of the whistle way easier than others. I mean, so far I have been able to learn every tune that I've tried to learn, but somehow with some tunes I get the feeling that this tune would be so much better played on a fiddle.

Is there any truth to this that tunes have been and are "planned" for a certain instrument to be most suitable to play with that particular instrument, or the contrary, that is, meant to be "universal" as in suitable to be learned with any traditional instrument?

Just some thoughts of mine! Hopefully I make some sense.


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 7:02 pm 
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I think the only real limitations concern range, damn those fiddlers and box players. :wink:

Is a tune composed on the pipes a pipe tune? Sure. Flute for flute? Of course. Should a whistler avoid playing a fiddle tune? Not for that reason. The main question for me was always, does it sound good? There are fiddle tunes I wouldn't play outside of sessions because I just didn't like how they sounded on flute, but folding out of necessity wasn't always the reason. And to be fair, sometimes it was. Odds are that a tune composed on your instrument will be relatively easier to play than on any other instrument, but in the end it's not axiomatic.

Are there tunes specifically composed for certain instruments? Yes. The late great box player, Paddy O'Brien of Nenagh, composed some of his tunes specifically with the uilleann pipes in mind. I would say that's ample reason not to worry whether you'd be overstepping bounds in playing them, if the question occurs. :)

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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 12:49 pm 
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Except for those wankers like Paddy Taylor playing a Radcliffe system flute! All those supposed "flute tunes" of his in A major are such a pain! :lol:


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PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 3:28 pm 
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I would say that some melodic passages fit better on some instruments than others. One tune I play has a fast BcdBcd passage (C-nat, that is) that is tough on the whistle, but a piece of cake on the fiddle's A string. But then it continues with dDdDE, which is easier on the whistle.

And (a bit off-topic) don't ask a brass player to play fast chromatic scales.


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PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 10:57 am 
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MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
Except for those wankers like Paddy Taylor playing a Radcliffe system flute! All those supposed "flute tunes" of his in A major are such a pain! :lol:

I didn't think Paddy Taylor played a Radcliff (no 'e') system. Wasn't that a different Paddy?

Added later: Ah, don't mind me. It was Paddy Carty I was thinking of, but I see that, although Paddy Taylor did play a simple system (8-key) flute, he also played a Radcliff system flute. So, there we are.

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PostPosted: Wed May 03, 2017 12:19 am 
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Yes, some tunes sit much better on one instrument than another. It seems as if the author of some tunes composed them with a specific instrument in hand.

Of course, you can modify just about any tune to play on your instrument. Leave out a roll(especially that pesky B roll), hold a main note longer to avoid some tough notes etc. There's no reason a tune has to be played exactly the same on whistle as fiddle, and probably shouldn't be.

Even further, the more you play and get experience, many of the awkward fingerings will become normal to you. Keep at it!


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PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 7:46 am 
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awildman wrote:
Yes, some tunes sit much better on one instrument than another. It seems as if the author of some tunes composed them with a specific instrument in hand.

Of course, you can modify just about any tune to play on your instrument. Leave out a roll(especially that pesky B roll), hold a main note longer to avoid some tough notes etc. There's no reason a tune has to be played exactly the same on whistle as fiddle, and probably shouldn't be.

Even further, the more you play and get experience, many of the awkward fingerings will become normal to you. Keep at it!


I have heard rumors that it's possible to play Eddie Kelly's reel on a simple system flute.

I have also heard rumors of UFOs and Bigfoot sightings.

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