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PostPosted: Mon Mar 13, 2017 6:46 pm 
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Joined: Wed Nov 02, 2016 5:04 pm
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Location: Finland
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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Joined: Wed Dec 18, 2002 6:00 pm
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Location: Minneapolis
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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