Cooley’s Reel

Cooley’s reel sheet music. This is absolutely one of my favourite tin whistle tunes. Not only because of the rocking melody line, but also because of the nice chords in the second part of the tune. Though the original tune was composed by an accordeon player (see the interesting story in the next section) it is especially popular under tin whistle players.

So who composed this reel? There is a lot of controversy about the origin. By the name you would expect the famous accordion player Joe Cooley (1924 – 1973) to be the composer. However, actually Joe Mills claims to have composed the tune. The story goes that Joe Cooley was a young lad of 18 or so when he first heard Joe Mills playing the tune and became mad for it. He quickly learned it and played it sometimes several times per night. This is why so many associate the tune with Joe Cooley. We will probably never know the real story.

Whatsoever, what we know for sure is that Joe Mills is the composer of Congress Reel for which the sheet music can be found in one of my other posts.

In the PDF file below you can find the sheet music for Cooley’s reel.

Cooley’s Reel sheet music, chords and notes

To listen and play along with the tune, check out this Irish session recording. Unfortunately there is no tin whistle, but nevertheless a great party!

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