Friday, April 29, 2005

Book Review: Irish Tin Whistle Music Pocketbook


Title: Irish Tin Whistle Music Pocketbook
Author: Patrick Conway
MSRP: $0.95
Publisher: Mel Bay
ISBN: 0-87166-547-6
Pages: 32
How acquired: I purchased this from The Whistle Shop


This small and very inexpensive (under a dollar) book includes simple transcriptions of 21 good songs.

Detailed Review

This small (3.5 * 5") book includes transcriptions of 21 good songs plus some introductory notes on how to play the tin whistle. In my opinion the playing instructions are a waste of space, since they are no more informative than the instruction card included with most cheap whistles and yet take up 1/4 of the pages in the book. I would have preferred that the publisher include more songs and leave instruction to some of their other titles.

The transcriptions are very simple, and include fingering charts for each note of each song underneath. Look at this sample on the publisher's web site to see a typical example. Then compare it with this transcription of the same song by Wanderer, and note that the latter version is a bit more rhythmically complex, even though neither include ornamentation. All of the transcriptions include guitar chords, but none include lyrics.

This book is a decent choice for beginning whistlers. The selection of tunes is good, and the price is hard to beat. If you are buying an inexpensive tin whistle for a friend, find the tunes on the instuctions included with most low-end whistles lacking, and want to include something better without spending more money than the whistle cost on a songbook, this might be a good choice.


Update: I've noticed a lot of search engine traffic finding this page. If you came to this article looking for transcriptions of these tunes, try the "tunes" links on the right side of the home page -- or just buy the book!

  1. Cockles and Mussels
  2. The Wild Rover
  3. The Merry Ploughboy
  4. The Londonderry Air
  5. The Boys of Bluehill
  6. The Foggy Dew
  7. Dumphy's Hornpipe
  8. The Old Woman form Wexford
  9. The Harvest Home
  10. The Sally Gardens
  11. The Liverpool Hornpipe
  12. The Rocky Road to Dublin
  13. The Butcher Boy
  14. Saint Patrick's Day
  15. Love is Teasin'
  16. The Rakes of Mallow
  17. The Irish Washerwoman
  18. Haste to the Wedding
  19. Drowsy Maggy
  20. Miss McLeod's Reel
  21. The Galway Races

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