Learn to play Irish traditional music on the whistle with the tin whistle tutor book from Tradschool286 pages; with 429 accompanying audio tracks104 tunes (28 children’s & folk tunes + 76 traditional tunes)

What is it?

This tutor book, with its accompanying audio files, is intended to give a complete introduction to playing Irish music in the traditional style on the tin whistle; it covers all from the very first notes on the instruments to the most advances ornamentation.The book is broadly divided into two parts, with the shorter first part covering the basics of the whistle (pages 1-48) while the longer second part (pages 49-286) covers the playing of Irish traditional music on the instrumentIt is currently available both as a physical book or as a download containing 1 print-friendly indexed pdf file (296 pages) and 429 audio files (256kb mp3)

Who is it for?

It is intended for anybody who wants to play traditional music in the Irish style, from complete beginners to confirmed or advanced players who wish to work on their style or ornamentation. Tablature as well as sheet music is used throughout the book, so it is accessible to the complete beginner; while more advanced players will appreciate the attention to detail in style and ornamentation in the later parts of the book. 


Sample Pages :


IntroductionAbout this tutorThe Irish whistle

Part One

Beginning the Whistle

Holding the whistleBlowing the whistleBlowing your first notesLeft hand notesThe note BExercise 1Left hand notes – continuedThe note AThe note GExercise 2Song : Mary Had a Little Lamb

Unit 2 : Right Hand Notes

Song : Hot Cross BunsSong: Oranges and Lemons

Unit 3 : The Second Octave

Exercise 1Exercise 2Exercise 3Song: Au Clair de la Lune

Unit 4 – Scales

1 Scale of D2 Scale of GTunes using the new noteGood King Wenceslas

Unit 5 – Rhythm, Articulation & Breathing

Playing Irish music on the whistle – rhythm, tonguing andbreathingRhythmRhythm exercise 1Rhythm exercise 2Rhythm exercise 3TonguingTonguing exercise 1Tonguing Exercise 2Tonguing Exercise 3Song : Courtin’ in the KitchenSong – Mairi’s WeddingSong : The Bog Down in the ValleySong : Cockles and MusselsBreathingBreathing after long notesMaking breath spacesSome More Tunes

Unit 6 – Putting it together 1


Part Two

Unit 7 – Irish Traditional Music

Simple systemCombining elementsThe BasicsRhythmTypes of tunesThe structure of the tunesOrnamentation structure and rhythmThe DetailsMaking choicesFast tempoOrnamentation

Unit 8 – Listening to Irish Music

ListeningWhy is listening so important?What to listen forInstrumentationRepertoireStyle and techniqueBuilding familiaritySome players and recordings

Unit 9 – The Jig

Rhythm and tempoSome jigsNote Accent and ArticulationJig Rhythm 1 – Basic Jig AccentSome More Rhythmic ExercisesJig Rhythm 2 – Accent on the off-beatArticulating the off-beat in jigsPlacing the off-beat in jigsNote Accent in Jigs – More ExamplesPhrasingBreathing at phrase ends“Overflowing” phrases – breathing after phrase endsBreathing and Phrasing – More Examples

Unit 10 – The Hornpipe

Rhythm and TempoSome hornpipesAccent and articulationHornpipe Rhythm 1 – Basic Hornpipe AccentHornpipe Rhythm 2 – Accent on the off-beatPlacing the off-beat in hornpipesNote Accent in Hornpipes – More ExamplesPhrasing and breathing

Unit 11 – The Reel

Rhythm and TempoSome ReelsAccent & ArticulationReel Rhythm 1 – Basic Reel AccentReel Rhythm 2 – Accent on the Off-beatPlacing the off-beat in reelsNote Accent in Reels – More ExamplesPhrasing and BreathingBreathing at long notes and phrase endsRemoving notes in reelsPhrasing and Breathing – More Examples

Unit 12 – Ornamentation

Ornamentation 1 – The Cut

Fingering Chart – CutsUse of the CutThe Cut in JigsThe Cut in HornpipesThe Cut in Reels

Ornamentation 2 – The Tap

The Tap – Fingering ChartUse of the TapThe Tap in JigsThe Tap in HornpipesThe Tap in Reels

Ornamentation 3 – The Slide

The Slide – Fingering ChartThe Slide – Fingering Chart (continued)Use of the SlideThe Slide in HornpipesThe Slide in JigsThe Slide in Reels

Ornamentation 4 – The Roll

Fingering chart – RollsUse of the RollThe Roll – Accent and ArticulationG RollF RollE RollA RollB RollThe Roll in ReelsThe Roll in JigsThe Roll in Hornpipes

Ornamentation 5 – The Short Roll

Fingering chart – Short RollsUse of the Short RollG Short RollF Short RollE Short RollB Short RollA Short RollThe Short Roll in ReelsThe Short Roll in JigsThe Short roll in HornpipesThe Short Roll in Hornpipes, Example 1 – Dunphy’s…209The Short Roll in Hornpipes, Example 2 – Poll Ha’Penny

Ornamentation 6 – The Triplet

The Triplet – Notation and FingeringUse of the TripletFED Triplets on DThe Triplet in ReelsThe Triplet in JigsThe Triplet in HornpipesThe Triplet in Hornpipes, Example 1 – Dunphy’s

Ornamentation 7 – The Bounce

The Bounce – Fingering ChartUse of the BounceThe Bounce in ReelsThe Bounce in JigsThe Bounce in Hornpipes

Ornamentation 8 – The Cran

The Cran – Notation and FingeringUse of the CranThe Cran in ReelsThe Cran in Jigs

Ornamentation 9 – Combining Ornaments

Tap & CutSlide and CutSlide and RollTap and Roll

Ornamentation 10 – Staccato Triplets

Ornamentation 11 – Summary

Unit 13 – Other tunes

PolkaSlideSlip JigSet DanceBarn Dance

Unit 14 – Playing in different keys

Half-holingCross-fingeringWhistles in Different Keys

Unit 15 – Playing Irish Music

RepertoireChoosing your repertoireStyleStaccato vs legato styles“Lift” and “swing”Other stylistic choicesConscious ChoicesLearning by EarAdvantages of learning by earHow to learn by earUsing Sheet MusicPlaying in publicSessionsSourcing musicComhaltas LiveNa Píobairí Uilleann SourceITMA Digital Library

Unit 16 – Putting It Together 2

Learning and playing tunesPractising

Unit 17 – Tunes

The Haunted HouseThe Rose in the HeatherThe Killavil JigThe Ship in Full SailSaddle the PonyThe Humours of GlendartOut on the OceanThe Leitrim JigThe Frost is all OverThe Rambling PitchforkPay the ReckoningClub CéilíThe Battering RamThe Blackthorn StickThe Mist on the MeadowThe Monaghan JigThe SkylarkThe AshplantJackie Coleman’sShips are SailingSheehan’sOver the Moor to MaggieThe Heather BreezeLady Ann MontgomeryThe TeetotallerSaint Anne’sThe Cup of TeaThe Silver SpearThe Humours of TullaThe Green MountainMiss MonaghanSean Reid’sThe Wind that Shakes the BarleyMicho Russell’sThe Earl’s ChairThe Galway RamblerThe Home RulerKitty’s WeddingThe Boys of Bluehill

Appendix 1 – Troubleshooting

SoundTuningRhythm and tempoLearning tunesOrnamentation

Appendix 2 – Reading Music

Music Notation BasicsNotes and the StaffKey SignaturesNote Values

Appendix 3 – Bibliography

Appendix 4 – Tracklist


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The following tunes are included in the tutor. Part 1 (Units 1-7) contains easier tunes such as children’s songs and Irish folk songs, aimed at introducing you to the whistle. Irish traditional music itself is covered from Unit 8 onwards (pages 49-286)

The book features 28 children’s & folk songs, with 76 Irish tunes – giving a total of 104 tunes in all.


Part 1

Children’s Tunes

Mary Had A Little Lamb
Hot Cross Buns
Oranges and Lemons
Au Clair de la Lune
Frère Jacques
Good King Wenceslas

Irish Folk Songs

Courtin’ in the Kitchen
Mairi’s Wedding
Bog Down in the Valley
Cockles and Mussels
The Dawning of the Day
Mo Ghile Mear
Spancil Hill
The Irish Rover
The Boys of Wexford
Kelly from Killane
Clare’s Dragoons
The Star of the County Down
Down by the Sally Gardens
I’ll Tell Me Ma
The Minstrel Boy
The Spanish Lady
whiskey in the Jar
Roddy McCorley
Amazing Grace
Mursheen Durkin
Follow Me up to Carlow

Part 2

Tunes used as examples

The following tunes are used throughout the tutor to illustrate technical aspects of style, articulation, phrasing and ornamentation


Mulhare’s Jig
Coleman’s Jig
The Maid on the Green
The Trip to Athlone
Jerry’s Beaver Hat
The Eavesdropper
The Carraroe Jig
I Buried My Wife and Danced on top of Her
The Blarney Pilgrim
The Cook in the Kitchen


Dunphy’s Hornpipe
The Harvest Home
Poll Ha’Penny


The Shannon Breeze (Rolling in the Ryegrass)
Drowsy Maggie
The Boyne Hunt
Maud Millar
The London Lasses
Maud Millar
Roaring Mary
The Fermoy Lasses
The Silver Spear
Toss the Feathers
anderson’s Reel
The Redhaired Lass
The Green Fields of Rossbeigh
The Drunken Landlady
The Sally Gardens
Cregg’s Pipes
The Bag of Spuds
The Floating Crowbar
The Repeal of the Union
Boil the Breakfast Early
The Broken Pledge

Other Tunes

O’Keefe’s Slide
A Fig for a Kiss
The Blackbird
The Curlew Hills

Tune Collection

The following tunes feature in the tune collection at the end of the book, are presented with ornamentation, and played at a moderate pace on the recordings.


The Rose in the Heather
The Killavil Jig
The Ship in Full Sail
Saddle the Pony
The Humours of Glendart
Out on the Ocean
The Leitrim Jig
The Frost is all Over
The Rambling Pitchfork
Pay the Reckoning
Club Ceili
The Battering Ram
The Blackthorn Stick
The Mist on the Meadow
The Monaghan Jig


The Skylark
The Ashplant
Jackie Coleman’s Reel
Ships are Sailing
Sheehan’s Reel
Over the Moor to Maggie
The Heather Breeze
Lady Ann Montgomery
The Teetotaller
St Anne’s Reel
The Cup of Tea
The Silver Spear
The Humours of Tulla
The Green Mountain
Miss Monaghan
Sean Reid’s
The Wind that Shakes the Barley
Micho Russel’s
The Earl’s Chair
The Galway Rambler


The Home Ruler
Kitty’s Wedding
The Boys of Bluehill


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