Tinwhistle / penny whistles

Buckeye67
Buckeye67
@buckeye67
2 months ago
5 posts

Let's give this a bump.  I'm a whistle and Irish flute player.  These are my workhorses, my Burke B flat & Low F and my Copeland Brass D.  uGsTo5b.jpg

 

Here's a little clip with the Low F

 

And an oooold one on the Copeland.

PapaSims
PapaSims
@papasims
2 years ago
5 posts

Enjoy playing mine: high D and Bb, a couple of each.  You may soon venture into the NAF realm as I have.

Isn't learning music on new instruments fun!!!!


updated by @papasims: 09/28/18 10:43:53PM
JenniferC
JenniferC
@jenniferc
2 years ago
45 posts
Well, I got myself a low D whistle the other day, and I'm so smitten by it! I was worried I wouldn't be able to reach the holes, or that it would require too much breath, but I'm finding it not so difficult. I like the sound so much better than the high d, that I am finding myself much more inclined to want to play it. Even the fact that it requires more breath seems to suit me better (apparently, I'm full of hot air, lol).
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
2 years ago
293 posts

"A fond kiss." (by Eddi Reader) Smitten by the whistle, the very first time I heard this song. I don't know if it's a penny whistle or tin


updated by @terry-wilson: 08/27/18 03:27:13PM
PapaSims
PapaSims
@papasims
2 years ago
5 posts

Strumelia, I think you should combine the penny whistle site with this oneflutedulcimer .  Just a thought.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

Very informative post Ariane, and I love the photo!

Hey I have the same Bb Dixon!  flute




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Ariane
Ariane
@ariane
2 years ago
33 posts

here comes the picture...smile

DSC00224.JPG
DSC00224.JPG  •  244KB

Ariane
Ariane
@ariane
2 years ago
33 posts

When I was at a concert of an Irish band (Geraldine McGowan and band) in 2004 I was so fascinated by the whistle player and the beautiful sound of especially the low whistle that I immediately had the wish to buy a whistle.

Since I have learned to play the recorder when I was a child and kept playing it all my life in recorder ensembles it was not difficult for me to learn how to play the whistle. 

What was different compared to the recorder playing was the typical Irish ornamentation like cuts, strikes, rolls, crans and slides and to not tonguing every tone.

I started with a Clare high D and "worked" myself down to an Overton (Colin Goldie) low D.

Please find attached a picture with my whistle collection (from left to right):

high D: Overton (Colin Goldie), Mac Nic, Susato

high C: Mac Nic

high Bb: Tony Dixon

low A: Mac Nic

low G: Ian Lambe

low F: Tony Dixon

low D: Overton (Colin Goldie)

I love all of them and every one has its specific sound and need of breath.

The Mac Nics are very easy to play regarding breath and getting into the next octave - the Overtons need more pressure.

Since I have relatively long fingers I can play the low A, G and F still with my fingertips and need no piper's grip. This is in fact necessary for the low D from Colin Goldie and I had to get used to it for a little while.

I so much enjoy playing the whistles and it is nice to hear that there are a lot of other whistle players here on the forum.

 

 

 

JenniferC
JenniferC
@jenniferc
2 years ago
45 posts
Lisa, I enjoy my whistle, too, when I think to pick it up. It's nice to have an instrument that I can just pick up and play, like you say.

I have a friend who is giving me a great deal on a Burke low D, and I'm excited to get my hands on it and give it a try. I'll be getting it sometime next month. I love the sound of the low d, and hope my fingers will make the stretch. The one I'm getting has holes that are slightly closer together, so it's supposed to be easier to play.
Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
2 years ago
293 posts
Lisa, I just know y'all had some big time fun. Music and silly go so well together.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

Terry, I love it!   A year ago I brought my tabor drum to a children's parade celebration in our village.  The kids had big paper mache carnival heads they made and wore, and various noise makers and tambourines etc.  The tabor drum fit right in!!  red drummer




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
2 years ago
293 posts

Lisa, I always smile when you write about your whistles, if I may. Especially today. You will appreciate this: Our senior group at our church hosted a noon dinner for all church members and guests. Afterwards, I directed bingo games with prizes. Speed bingo. Through in 45 minutes. Guess what? Okay, here it is. I used my Tabor Drum as part of the entertainment. When someone won, they had to agree to talk like a pirate, as in "Arrrrr r." And then walk around wearing and beating the tabor drum, all the while saying "Arrrrrr", for 10 seconds. Fyn. Ayeee, the ole tabor drum.  I still have my tabor whistle.   The one with two holess on top and one under.   Made of wood.  Me thinks you have one.


updated by @terry-wilson: 08/26/18 04:00:49PM
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

Well I'm still at it.  I can't seem to get very good ...doubtless due to my very limited available practice time. eyeroll   But I do love to play at it!  It's very relaxing for some reason- I think because of the pure simplicity of the instrument.

However, I must say there is nothing easier than to just grab a penny whistle from my can of them on the desk, and quickly play a simple tune whenever the mood strikes to play a tune without having to fuss or tune anything .  I don't even have to clear a space on the desk!  lol

mywhistles_5.jpg

If the tune is really simple, I can usually figure out how to play it by ear.  Hearing whether the tune is major (cheerful) or minor (mournful) helps in locating where the tonic/key note can be located on the whistle.  That's much like the mtn dulcimer, and knowing where the four common modes would lie on the diatonic fretboard... 'cheerful' (ionian, mixolydian) or 'mournful' (aeolian or dorian). 
The holes on the whistle even echo the fretboard in that way- for example to play ionian you base the key note on fret three on dulcimer...and on whistle you'd base the ionian key note with the bottom three holes uncovered.  If playing dulcimer in Aeolian, the key note is when fretting fret 1... on whistle the aeolian key note would be when the 1 hole at the bottom is left open.  That was so cool when I came to that realization!  It kind of opened up my head to be able to access a lot of simple traditional folk tunes.  pimento

 




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Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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David E.Hall
David E.Hall
@david-ehall
2 years ago
11 posts

Just a quick note. Have a look at Shearwater whistles on the web.I am told  that they are good value for money and  nice to play. I must admit bias as John ( The Owner ) , built me a  nice 6 string dulcimer a few years ago.

Noah Aikens
Noah Aikens
@noah-aikens
2 years ago
33 posts

Yes the Tinwhistle is very similar, but has less notes and not as strange cross fingerings as recorder. I learned tin whistle before recorder, but I think going from Recorder to Tinwhistle will be easier than what I did.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

It feels similar for some notes, and of course notes go up as you uncover more holes from the bottom.  But there are numerous fingering differences- enough to mean you have to learn a new fingering scale.  BUT I think the PW is a little simpler than the recorder in terms of fingering.  Googling fingering picture charts for both, and you'll see what I mean.  nod




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

Thank you so much.  I will explore their site.  Is the fingering on penny whistles the same as on a recorder?

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

Blondie I get them directly from Susato.  They offer a couple of cheaper models in their whistle lineup, but I get their best model which is the Kildare, which comes in various keys:

http://www.susato.com/konakart/Pennywhistles/Kildare/1_144_-1_73.do

If you like the low tone but not too terribly long that it becomes difficult to play and reach, then I'd suggest their Kildare Bb (with no keys), and the Kildare in A (with one key).  Those are the two middle whistles in my photo there.  The low G is the longest in my photo, and for a beginner it begins to get a little hard to play even with the helpful key.  I find it way easier to play the other three in my picture.  flute

If you order, be sure to clarify that you want complete whistles... not one whistle head and the various bodies that will fit it.  Why?- because tho it's cheaper to keep swapping the one head onto two different bodies, I find it annoying to have to keep doing.  On their "M" series Kildares, it's one size head that can be swapped among all four sized Kildare bodies.  But maybe that wouldn't bother you, in which case you could save a few dollars.
Whatever you decide, be sure you order clearly- they automatically sent me one head and three bodies on my last order, when I had ordered three separate complete whistles.  They had to send me two more heads afterwards. 




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Blondie
Blondie
@blondie
2 years ago
28 posts

Where would I get one of these penny whistles Strumelia?

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
2 years ago
1,725 posts

Here is my collection of lower key Susato 'Kildare' polymer penny whistles.  I have them in C, Bb, A, and G.  The A and the G each have one key on the lowest hole to make it easier for those of us with smaller hands to reach that bottom hole.  I'm really enjoying the mellow sound of these lower whistles.  :)

DSC02520s.jpg




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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JenniferC
JenniferC
@jenniferc
3 years ago
45 posts
Lisa, I really like the tone of mine, too. It's also much more responsive than the Walton whistle I have.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

I have a Dixon Trad brass in D too, Jennifer.  I really like the 'temple bell'-like tone it has, don't you?  It sounds prettier to me than for example the Generation brass whistles I have.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
JenniferC
JenniferC
@jenniferc
3 years ago
45 posts
It's definitely a different animal, lol. I have a Dixon trad brass in d.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Jennifer, maybe you're like me? ...and find that the two instruments feel so different to play that it's almost impossible to compare the dulcimer and the whistle against each other.   
What kind of Dixon did you get?  I like my Dixon whistles very much.  grin




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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updated by @strumelia: 10/29/17 11:47:14PM
JenniferC
JenniferC
@jenniferc
3 years ago
45 posts
I've only just started playing around with whistles. I got a waltons, and then a Dixon. I like the Dixon much better. But I don't know if I'll ever really love playing the whistle like I love playing the dulcimer!
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Some whistles don't play in tune on some notes, and that can be infuriating.  But some cheaper whistles are quite nice too. Then there are the odd duds as well, even with higher priced whistles. 

Yikes Sheryl... those Carbonys are like over $400...?!  Out of my league... at least when it comes to whistles.  lolol

I like being able to reach for a whistle based on my mood that day.  I keep my whistles handy, standing in a metal cannister on my desk... like a bouquet of flowers!   flowerflowerflower

mywhistles_4.jpg




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 10/29/17 10:39:42PM
robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
3 years ago
249 posts

I like Walton brand of brass whistles. No tweaks, play great right out of the box. Too bad they don't make them is other keys besides D & C. For less than $15, you can't go wrong. I never played the $200 and up whistles but I'm sure it won't improve my playing anyway. Basically a whistle is a whistle,just a lot of fun on a low budget. 

The thing that really blows me away is when I learn a tune and find myself fingering away without ever thinking about where my fingers are suppose to go. Its almost like I'm standing beside myself listening to another player... Robert.

Sheryl St. Clare
Sheryl St. Clare
@sheryl-st-clare
3 years ago
270 posts

While at Ken Bloom's Bowed Dulcimer workshop in Pilot Mt. NC a couple of years ago, a talented young lady played a Carbony flute in the key of D. It was lovely. If I can ever scrape up a few hundred dollars I don't want to spend on dulcimers, or tools to work on dulcimers, I'll buy one!

Noah Aikens
Noah Aikens
@noah-aikens
3 years ago
33 posts

I Find that wind instruments vary much more than stringed instruments. Sure, guitars all have their differences, but the difference in tone between different fipple and duct flutes. For example I have a NA flute that while not quiet (it's actually my loudest one), is my softest in tone (it's cedar). I have one made out of maple and one out of mahogany, they both have much clearer, more direct sound. The wide variation of timbre between instruments is what holds my attention to them. While the difficulty and range of notes is what holds me captive to playing guitar. Not that penny whistles aren't difficult, its's a different type of difficulty. 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

I'm still playing my penny whistles.  Because I like to play like six instruments and various genres/repertoires, I have to spread my music practice between them.. so I don't progress as fast as i could if I devoted my full attention to one instrument and one kind of music.  Alas!

But even though I don't play a whole lot on the penny whistle, I do find I'm still sloooowly improving.. yay, I'll take it!  blue flute

I'm amazed at how different each whistle brand and key sounds and feels to play.  I now understand why some folks buy many whistles to try out... especially since it's so much cheaper than it would be 'experimenting' with guitars or mandolins for example.  surprised    I now have over a dozen whistles... but there are at least 4 that I don't care for and will sell soon... and 3 or 4 that I want to buy and try out in the future.  lol   

It does take a while to find the kind of whistles that 'suit you'... in size, playing characteristics, and tone.  For instance most Irish trad players tend to like a 'chiffy' tone with some breath texture to it.  Personally, since I play more medieval or English country dance repertoire, I myself tend to favor the whistles that sound more 'woody' or flute/recorder-like.  The polymer or wood whistles usually sound more this way, while the metal whistles innately have more 'chiff'.  But I have a couple of traditional brass whistles that have a very appealing tone appropriate for Irish tunes, that I like to play very much too.

Penny whistles are less expensive than dulcimers by far, so it's easy to have a collection!  grin




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Thanks for the tip about Susato low D whistles, Robert!  I have a Susato Kildare in C (which of course is waaay smaller than a low D), and boy that thing is loud and clear- great for playing outside or in a large group or festival/event setting.

I have slightly smaller than average woman's hands, and I find the low G is currently a challenge for me.  The idea of a 'keyed' low D is very appealing for me!  Will look into this.  Might be cool to play a low D if Brian is playing in a higher D octave on his fiddle. 




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
3 years ago
249 posts
Can't believe it's two weeks since I last posted here. I like the low D and seems like everyone else does too. But you need big hands or as in my case a lot of stretching to play it. Piper grip is a must. Susato whistles have a valve version to ease the pain. I would love to get a G & low A someday.
Hohner Marine band harmonica's in G is tuned low and "just intonated" too!. So that fills the need for now... Robert
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Oh my that Loooow Dixon D would be far beyond my stretch for fingers.  

I have Dixon brass in low G and Bb, and Dixon polymer in low A and Bb.  That low G is my current stretching limit.  They sound great- I like these Dixons in the low keys!

Robert, I'd love to hear the version of Sally Garden you play... I seem to hear various versions, as it's a real 'tune family' kind of tune.

Lucky frogs!  frog  frog  frog




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 05/07/17 02:04:25PM
robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
3 years ago
249 posts
Down by the salley garden is a great whistle tune for beginner's. In the evening I like to sit on the porch and serenade the frogs with my Tony Dixon low D. The frogs do stop and listen, at least that's what it seems. It's good to have an appreciative audience... Robert.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Oh Robert that's exciting that you nailed the fingering on your recorder after many months of not playing!  You deserve to be proud.  Would love to hear/see you play it sometime!  The sound of recorders is so rich and beautiful.  I agree, a Bb instrument is a wonderful range.  And yeah I hear you on the C minor tunes...yummy!




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
3 years ago
249 posts
Lisa enjoy the class, I wish I could be there. I like my generation Bb. Its great for those C minor tunes.
Today I picked up my alto recorder and played it the first time in months. I was beside myself when I got the fingering down on the first try. Playing Whiskey before Breakfast... Have fun, enjoy the snow, we got only rain... Robert.
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

Wow, I'm relieved that my first pennywhistle class (of a series of 6) isn't until tomorrow night which means the snowy roads will be pretty well all cleared by then.  If it was tonight they might have had to re-schedule.  Looking forward to it although the first class will likely be a little too easy for me since I've been playing for 7 months already.  It'll be fun anyway though!  jive

Yesterday evening during the snowstorm Brian and I played music in the living room.  His played his fiddle tuned to Bb flat, and I played my low Bb whistle in harmony to the melodies which he played.  It worked out really nicely and was so enjoyable!   Still finding my way around the notes and lots of mistakes, but mostly sounds pretty...wheee!  It's great to be able to choose what kind of instrument I want to play on a given day.  Most go along just fine with Brian on the fiddle.  He's a 'one instrument' kind of fellow..I'm way more fickle.  giggle




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
3 years ago
1,725 posts

I signed up for a series of 6 classes that will start on March 16...  Taught by NY folk musician George Ward.  I'm looking forward to that!

It's now about seven months since I started playing the penny whistle, and I'm still really enjoying it!

Lately I've been playing in the key of Bb on my lower plastic whistle- trying to play harmony parts to Brian's fiddling tune melodies on his 'Bb fiddle'.  That sounds kind of pretty when I can get harmony passages right.  Still working hard at it, as it's not easy for me!  Maybe in a few weeks I'll be able to record a little video of that without tons of mistakes...(one or two mistakes is always acceptable in my view.)  winker

I threw together a new social fun site for anyone who plays tin whistle and is interested in joining:

http://pennywhistleclub.com/

 

 




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
4 years ago
293 posts

 Lisa  Lisa, Lisa.  that was wonderful.  Wow.  Speechless . 

Back at you later, that's for sure.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

It's now I think about my two month mark at learning to play...I just recorded another short tune today on my penny whistle... Pretty Saro




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Susie
Susie
@susie
4 years ago
358 posts

Nice video, Strumelia, you are doing very well. thumbsup

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Bill!  So nice to see you drop in again!  clapper

I have a couple of Dixon polymer (plastic) whistles and yes the tone is a little more recorder-like than the metal whistles.  But I like both types...so alas guess I just have to buy lots of whistles.   lolol   Good thing they are not the same price as banjos.  tmi




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Bill Davenport
Bill Davenport
@bill-davenport
4 years ago
74 posts

Good job Lisa. Haven't been here for a while. I've been playing a Susato Oriole in D lately. Nice cheap plastic whistle. Thing I love is how loud the bell note is. (lowest note on a whistle). Very strong. Take any whistle, play with all holes covered. See how quick whistle jumps to second octave. The Oriole gets pretty loud before it "breaks". Another little tid bit I learned. Practice playing tunes keeping your right hand ring finger down on lowest hole. Not all through the tune but when you can. It makes a reference point moving up and down the whistle. A good example is Angeline The Baker. As you start out your right hand is not covering any holes until you go higher in the tune covering all the holes. Having your ring finger on the lowest hole makes it easier to cover the remaining holes. 

Good luck on you whistle path.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Thanks everyone!  inlove




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Terry Wilson
Terry Wilson
@terry-wilson
4 years ago
293 posts

Lisa, that was incredible.   I don't know quite what I expected, but you exceeded my expectations. 

You have come so far so quickly.   Impressive. 

Congratulations on learning a new instrument.   Very proud of you.

Terry

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
4 years ago
249 posts

The nice thing about the whistle is that you can spend under $20 for a Generation and it will perform just as well as the $200 whistles.... Robert

David E.Hall
David E.Hall
@david-ehall
4 years ago
11 posts

Just to add my 2 cents to this group. A friend of mine ( who built a dulcimer for me ) also builds ( Makes ) whistles. Have a Google at Shearwater whistles

I cannot remember the web address unfortunately. Nice whistles at a reasonable price ( well in the UK that is ) 

Lexie R Oakley
Lexie R Oakley
@lexie-r-oakley
4 years ago
243 posts

Really great Lisa, you seem to be getting into playing the songs you like and enjoying it. I liked the tone of your flute.

robert schuler
robert schuler
@robert-schuler
4 years ago
249 posts

I have two high C a Bb and D. All are tweeked. Tweeking makes the whistle sound more even and predictable in the second octave. I have a Tony Dixon polymer low D which is a relatively inexpensive low D whistle that sounds great but takes a pipers grip to play. I don't recommend low whistles for people with small hands.... Robert...

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

People still do this dance today, so cool:  




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Here is a little French tune I practice with, called Branle de L'ours (Dance of the Bears).  bearbearbearbearbear

 I've been now playing pennywhistle for about a month... still a rank beginner with almost no 'technique' as yet, but it's waaay fun.   I have compiled a bunch of simple very old tunes to practice with.  I'm typically practicing about 30 to 40 minutes per day...that's kind of a lot for me actually.  winky




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Just a little update on my penny whistle adventure, which I started about a month ago now.

I've been progressing pretty well lately, and am actually enjoying it more and more.  pimento  I can't wait to steal some time to practice every day, and I have a few favorite simple tunes under my belt now- though I can rarely play any tune without a note mistake or two still.  Will try to make a little 'practice time' video and post it here soon.

Finding I like both the polymer whistles and the brass whistles- they have two different sounds and both are real nice.  In general, the polymer plastic ones sound more warm and breath-y a bit like a recorder (great for haunting or ethereal melodies, or for playing while alone), while the brass ones sound more clear and sweet- more useful for playing with other instruments and fiddles for sure.  

Additionally, the lower/larger the whistle, the more mellow and breathy it sounds no matter what it's made from.  I think the lowest/largest whistle is usually a low C, which is an octave plus one note below the standard high D whistle.  I don't see many whistles higher then high E - a note above the standard D whistle.  I do have a high E whistle (rather than Eflat) because it will enable me to play in A ionian on it easily. The lowest whistle I now have is a low G.  Lower than that and the finger stretches get quite difficult, even if using the "piper's grip" as they refer to it.

 

I can really envision playing the whistle as one of my standard go-to instruments, for several reasons:

1) It seems it's quite do-able for me to play and I'm progressing fairly quickly (when you're over 60 this is a big thing, lol)

2) Is not a huge investment, money wise  -Yay for that!

3) Like the Bones, whistles are easy to take along and carry, especially when having to haul around a large minstrel banjo.

4) The whistle is well adapted to play ALL the genres of music I happen to like playing: old-time/Appalachian music, traditional early/minstrel American, traditional European folk/dance tunes, and medieval/renaissance. This is a huge plus.




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Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
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Kevin Messenger
Kevin Messenger
@kevin-messenger
4 years ago
88 posts

Me too Lisa, I got one last fall in Williamsburg. Haven't got a good tune down yet. Guess I will stick with building dulcimers. LOL

 

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Well I am of course a beginner to all this pipe/whistle stuff which makes it a challenge, but I found the metal pennywhistles to be very difficult for me to get clear notes on, and not so at all on my plastic tabor pipe, which has a nice clear warm tone.

So as an experiment I ordered two plastic/polymer Dixon penny whistles instead to try- in the keys of high D and low A. (there's a substantial size difference between the two keys).

They arrived today and I am finding them much easier to get good notes on than the metal PWs.  Not sure why but the plastic ones make clearer notes and warmer tones for me.  Perhaps when i get better I can make the metal ones sound better, who knows.

I was delighted to discover that all my diligent tabor pipe practice is helping me here-  the learning curve for these new pennywhistles is way less steep than when i first started tabor pipe.  I can already play some of my favorite simple tunes, with only a few mistakes here and there.... so fun!!

I'm not one for playing lots of Irish tunes, but I can play my favorite renaissance and medieval tunes on these, and also some early folk/country dances from various European countries.  I'm working on some simple French branles, also things like Nonesuch.




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Well, it's really cool (and challenging!) to practice on both tabor pipe and penny whistle, I gotta say.  hot

Though they have different fingering patterns to play the same tunes, there is a sort of common thread of logic between the two.  A recorder on the other would be completely different fingering learning curve.  But tabor pipe and PW do follow the same 'increment hole/pressure logic'.  That's is a very inadequate way to try and describe it, sorry.

But what it comes down to is that I think this is do-able.  When I can play a real simple tune on the tabor pipe, I can 'sort of' stumble through it on the pennywhistle, which has more holes available before blowing up into a higher register.  Very fun to compare the two.  I have the plastic G tabor pipe and the metal G pw (both 17" long), and a metal C pw.

I'm finding it easier to get clearer tones on the plastic tabor pipe, but not really sure why yet.  Less holes to worry about leaking air from maybe? 

It's a bear to wrestle through all this and sooo many wrong and squeaky notes.  But I really look forward to my practice sessions and that's the true test- am I having fun? ... yes!




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990

updated by @strumelia: 08/26/16 07:06:08PM
John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
184 posts

Patty from Virginia:

JK, Forgot about Possum Cafe, LOL. I just want to see you playing the tuba. I miss Carrie. Please tell her I said hi next time you speak with her. Thanks!

We talked to her last night and she is doing great.

 

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
184 posts

Strumelia:

Lots of great info coming up here- thanks everyone!

 

I did order a couple of pennywhistles, since I'm learning the tabor pipe which seems to have a somewhat similar setup (in some ways).  Maybe taking on more than I can manage, but at least I won't go broke doing it.  dancetomato   flute

I really think that you will enjoy it!

 

Noah Aikens
Noah Aikens
@noah-aikens
4 years ago
33 posts

I just found this guy called Erik the flute maker . He makes great sounding whistles. But get this - A wooden saxophone!

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Lots of great info coming up here- thanks everyone!

I did order a couple of pennywhistles, since I'm learning the tabor pipe which seems to have a somewhat similar setup (in some ways).  Maybe taking on more than I can manage, but at least I won't go broke doing it.  dancetomato   flute




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Patty from Virginia
Patty from Virginia
@patty-from-virginia
4 years ago
230 posts

JK, Forgot about Possum Cafe, LOL. I just want to see you playing the tuba. I miss Carrie. Please tell her I said hi next time you speak with her. Thanks!

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
184 posts

Patty from Virginia:

John, if you and Karen play dulcimer with a tuba I would love to see that. Yes I would!!!happys

Check out the Possum Café sample.  http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnandkarenkeane

 


updated by @john-keane: 08/17/16 09:44:20PM
Patty from Virginia
Patty from Virginia
@patty-from-virginia
4 years ago
230 posts

John, if you and Karen play dulcimer with a tuba I would love to see that. Yes I would!!!happys

John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
184 posts

Strumelia:

John, do you mean in high D? (not low D)

 

John, can you outline the differences between Native American flutes and pennywhistles, assuming two that are in the same or similar key/size ?

Yes...high D.  I played a low D that Guy had and loved it, but we went with getting two high D's for what one of the low D's would have cost.  They are great whistles.  The major scale vs pentatonic minor scale is definitely a big difference between whistle and NAF.  Another difference is tone.  The Native flute tends to be a much warmer/darker sound and less shrill.  Both tones have a place in folk music, but either can be better suited for specific settings.  There is also a notion out there that Native flutes cannot play a major scale, but they can if you learn a few fingerings above the standard/basic fingering charts.  Hammered dulcimer player supreme Ilace Mears asked me to play a bass NAF on a Celtic tune she was performing at Evart a few weeks ago because she really wanted that dark sound.  No one protested so I guess that it went over okay lol.  Like so many parts of folk music, there is a place for just about anything.  The key (to me) is just to pursue the sound that is rolling around in your head.  Karen and I have even used tuba and didgeridoo with mountain dulcimer in the past, so we're pretty open to trying stuff lol.  

 

Noah Aikens
Noah Aikens
@noah-aikens
4 years ago
33 posts

I was talking about playing in what's called first position by harmonica players - playing in the key that the instrument is tuned to. A penny whistle is tuned major while naf's are tuned minor. To my understanding most standard naf's (5 hole) are tuned to the minor pentatonic scale. I'll see if I can make a video about it. Any of these instruments can be tunyed differently than the "standard" flutes.

Skip
Skip
@skip
4 years ago
247 posts

I found this which may help.

http://www.flutopedia.com/scales.htm

Noah Aikens
Noah Aikens
@noah-aikens
4 years ago
33 posts

I play the pennywhistle and I think the difference is that the tinwhistle is the major scale while the american flute is the pentatonic.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

John, do you mean in high D? (not low D)

John, can you outline the differences between Native American flutes and pennywhistles, assuming two that are in the same or similar key/size ?




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
John Keane
John Keane
@john-keane
4 years ago
184 posts

Karen and I recently picked up a couple of Sweetheart D whistles from Guy George.  They aren't inexpensive, but they are incredibly awesome.

Caleb Dan Bennett
Caleb Dan Bennett
@caleb-dan-bennett
4 years ago
10 posts

Check out Becker Whistles. I bought 2 one alto G and one soprano C. They sound amazing. Made from PVC.  $15.00 each.

Strumelia
Strumelia
@strumelia
4 years ago
1,725 posts

Hellooooo..... howdy  Anybody here still active and playing their pennywhistles?  




--
Site Owner

Those irritated by grain of sand best avoid beach.
-Strumelia proverb c.1990
Bill Davenport
Bill Davenport
@bill-davenport
9 years ago
74 posts

Well I frinally decided to try a low d..

Ordered and received a Susato Low D.

Big learning curve on finger placement. But I really like the sound of the whistle.

Will keep you posted on how it turns out.

Bill Davenport
Bill Davenport
@bill-davenport
9 years ago
74 posts

Anyone have any input on low D whistles? Saw an input about a new Tony Dixon low D at Chiff and Fipple. Good price.

Love my Burke D but don't want to spend that much for a low D just yet.

Anybody?

BethH
BethH
@beth-hansen
9 years ago
41 posts

Hmm...the Cassette is by Clarke, but the whistles that I have are a C and a D that have a logo that says Generation, and they are Brittish Made. Tin whistles with blue plastic for the mouthpiece.

Bill Davenport
Bill Davenport
@bill-davenport
9 years ago
74 posts

Yes Beth.... you need to start playing.

A "D" whistle sounds great with the mountain dulcimer.

Do you have the Clarke with the wooden plug in it, or he Sweetone?



Beth Hansen-Buth said:


I have a pair of tin whistles that I never learned to play. I think I picked up a flute at about the same time and I was concentrating on that for a summer. I still have the Clarke cassette tape, and the book must be around here somewhere, but I never see them both at the same time. 

I always put the whistles out for anyone to play when I have a music party, and my friend Stephanie always picks one up and starts with it. She can't practice at home because it drives her beloved bulldog, Mabel, totally nuts.

Perhaps I should just put in the cassette and grab one of the whistles and start playing.

BethH
BethH
@beth-hansen
9 years ago
41 posts

I have a pair of tin whistles that I never learned to play. I think I picked up a flute at about the same time and I was concentrating on that for a summer. I still have the Clarke cassette tape, and the book must be around here somewhere, but I never see them both at the same time. 

I always put the whistles out for anyone to play when I have a music party, and my friend Stephanie always picks one up and starts with it. She can't practice at home because it drives her beloved bulldog, Mabel, totally nuts.

Perhaps I should just put in the cassette and grab one of the whistles and start playing.

 
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