Friday Whistles

Friday_whistles_cover_01A resource page to support a Friday whistle group I ran a few years ago. 

Tunes covered to date (see below for recordings of these)

The beginnings of a sheet music resource for the group: Friday Whistle Tunes PDF.


  • Stomach Steinway Man (Iain Lowthian, reel)
  • Drowsy Maggie (Irish reel)
  • The Wind that Shakes the Barley (Irish reel)
  • Music for a Found Harmonium (reel)
  • The Maid Behind the Bar (Irish reel)
  • The Sally Gardens (Irish reel)
  • The Flogging Reel (uses F natural)
  • Sleep Soond I’da Mornin’ (Shetland reel uses G#)
  • The Johnstown Reel (Rebecca Knorr, slow reel)
  • The Trip to Pakistan (Niall Kenny, reel)
  • Oot be East da Vong (Shetland reel)
  • S’iomadh Rud A Chunnaic Mi (reel)
  • The Ivyleaf (Irish reel; link is to an old recording of mine on Bandcamp)/  The (In)Appropriate Dipstick (reel by Phil Cunningham and Iain MacDonald) This was inspired by the solo whistle player of a young Irish band called Tumbleweed. It’s a bit too fast in the video, but the pace is set by the guitar player.

Strathspeys, Schottisches, Barndances etc

  • Calum’s Road (strathspey)
  • Crossing the Minch (hornpipe, rolls)
  • Canadian Barndances (various)

Jigs and 6/8 Marches

  • The Heights of Cassino (extended version)
  • Sixpenny Money (Irish jig)
  • Jackson’s Bottle of Brandy (Irish jig)
  • Tripping Upstairs (Irish jig)
  • Jig Runrig (jig)
  • The Seagull (pipe jig)
  • The Dusty Windowsill (Irish jig) link is to my Bandcamp page; free to download.
  • Rory McLeod (pipe jig)

Waltzes, Song airs and others

  • The Star of the County Down (song air)
  • Glencoe (waltz)
  • Circle of the Ocean (waltz)
  • Johnny Faa (song air)
  • The Little Heathery Hill (Slowed Set Dance with F natural)
  • The Skye Boat Song (including cuts, strikes and rolls)
  • Loch Lomond (by ear)


Technique focus

A reminder of some of the techniques we have looked at.

  • Cuts
  • Strikes
  • Rolls
  • Rhythm for reels
  • Breath pulse
  • Tonguing v slurring
  • Moving away from the page
  • Improvising and variation within tunes
  • Options when the melody drops below the range of the whistle
  • High c natural
  • Crans
  • Waltz decoration
  • Traditional phrasing emphasis
  • Using chords and arpeggios to help pick up tunes by ear.
  • Learning by ear.

Photo: Frday whistles (c) Gordon Turnbull