Whistle
Whistles are a cheap and easy way to begin music. Just buy a D-whistle (for playing music in the key of D).
Irish traditional music has many simple but lively tunes in the key of D.
Fingering chart
For diagrams showing how to finger the whistle, see the index for Whistle fingering D.
Or click here for a slightly different set of D fingerings.
Click for whistle fingering chart in key of F.
Contents
Description of the whistle
Learning for beginners
Beginner advice
Beginner lessons
Beginner tips
History and Types
History of the penny whistle
Modern Tin Whistle
Tuning
Low whistles
Playing technique
Fingering and range
Ornamentation
Tricks
Genres
Irish and Scottish music
Kwela
Other music
Notation
Standard musical notation
Tablature
Tonic solfa
Abc notation
Transposing
Description
The tin whistle is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument with a range of 2.5 octaves. The second octave is attained with usually the same fingering, but by blowing harder. The whistle is an end blown fipple flute flageolet. The fipple is mouthpiece which consists of the windway, a narrow slit you breathe into, to compress your breath. This breath then hits the labium lip or windcutter, a sharp edge, splitting it into two streams, one above and one below to go down the tube. The air flowing over the windcutter creates a flow-controlled valve, or "air reed." Interaction between the air reed and the air column in the body of the instrument produces oscillation in the flow of air at the windway. This oscillation results in the "whistle sound". Since the pitch or note deepens with increasing length of tube (distance from windcutter to first open hole, and the tube can be effectively lengthened by closing the holes, the player varies the pitch by closing finger holes along the bore of the instrument.
The tin whistle is in the same category as the recorder, American Indian flute, and other woodwind instruments.
A tin whistle player is called a tin whistler or whistler.

The tin whistle also called: The tin whistle is usually associated with Celtic music.
Beginner Advice
To learn any instrument: You will not master an instrument in a week, a month, a year - so settle in for years of daily practice. An instrument can change your life, but only if you change your life to learn it.
Beginner Lessons
These beginner lessons will get you started, learning Irish traditional music on the tin whistle, including scales, a simple ornament, and a good first tune.

Lessons:
Beginner tips
Tin whistle songs from the world of folk and traditional music,free songs from America Ireland Scotland England and beyond all with sheet music. Many beginers have problems reading the music notation on standard sheet music, the covered notes mean to place your fingers over the holes, a +sign means to blow that little bit harder to reach the second octave or get the high notes, to play the sharp notes (ex: A#, G#) half cover the lowest hole. (All instructions say 'half cover the hole' but I find that you uncover only a small fraction of the hole.)

Cleaning Whistles
The plastic mouth piece can be sterilised and cleaned by inverting the whistle to insert the plastic in a glass of warm water with Milton sterilising fluid for a few hours. Or use several drops of washing-up liquid in warm water.

Rasping Sound
Rasping is caused by:
Uilleann Pipes Music
The very same notes are used when playing the uilleann pipes and the penny whistle. The notes are in the same position on both instruments
History of the penny whistle
The modern tin/penny whistle inherits a tradition of thousands of years, and is but one of a wider family of fipple flutes that have been seen in many forms and cultures throughout the world.

Almost all primitive cultures had a type of fipple flute and is most likely the first pitched flute-type instrument in existence. The oldest examples include:
Modern Tin Whistle
The modern penny whistle began with Robert Clarke from (1840–1882) in Manchester and later New Moston, England. The six hole, diatonic system had been used on baroque flutes, and was well known before Robert Clarke began mass-producing his tin whistles c.1843, but the cheapness (one penny), compactness and ease of use, brought Clarke's whistle popularity and fame.

Clarke's first whistle, the Meg, was pitched in high A and was later made in other keys suitable for Victorian parlour music. Modelled after an organ pipe with 6 holes added, and a flattened tube forming the lip of the fipple mouthpiece, Clarke's whistle was made from rolled tin sheet or brass. Unfortunately it had lead fipple plugs, which made it poisonous.

Gaining popularity as a folk instrument in the early 19th century in the Celtic music revivals, penny whistles now play an integral part of several folk traditions.
Tuning
The whistle is tuned diatonically, which allows it to be used to easily play music in two major keys and their corresponding minor keys and modes. The whistle is identified by its lowest note, which is the tonic of the lowest major key. Note that this method of determining the key of the instrument is different from the method used to determine the key of a chromatic instrument, which is based on the relationship between notes on a score and sounded pitch. Whistles are available in a wide variety of different keys.

The most common whistles can easily play notes in the keys of D and G major. Since the D major key is lower these whistles are identified as D whistles. The next most common whistle tuning is a C whistle, which can easily play notes in the keys of C and F major. The D whistle is the most common choice for Irish and Scottish music.

Although the whistle is essentially a diatonic instrument, it is possible to get notes outside the principal major key of the whistle, either by half-holing (partially covering the highest open finger hole) or by cross-fingering (covering some holes while leaving some higher ones open). However, half-holing is somewhat more difficult to do correctly, and whistles are available in many keys, so for other keys a whistler will typically use a different whistle instead, reserving half-holing for accidentals. Some whistle designs allow a single fipple, or mouthpiece, to be used on differently keyed bodies.
Low whistles
There are larger whistles, which by virtue of being longer and wider produce tones an octave (or in rare cases two octaves) lower. Whistles in this category are likely to be made of metal or plastic tubing, with a tuning-slide head, and are almost always referred to as low whistles but sometimes called concert whistles. The low whistle operates on identical principles to the standard whistles, but musicians in the tradition may consider it a separate instrument.

The term soprano whistle is sometimes used for the higher-pitched whistles when it is necessary to distinguish them from low whistles.
Fingering and range
The notes are selected by opening or closing holes with the fingers. With all the holes closed, the whistle generates its lowest note, the tonic of a major scale. Successively opening holes from the bottom upward produces the rest of the notes of the scale in sequence: with the lowest hole open it generates the second, with the lowest two holes open, it produces the third and so on. With all six holes open, it produces the seventh.

As with a number of woodwind instruments, the tin whistle's second and higher registers are achieved by increasing the air velocity into the ducted flue windway. [22] On a transverse flute this is generally done by narrowing the lip/embouchure.[23] Since the size and direction of the tin whistle's windway, like that of the Recorder or fipple flute is fixed, it is necessary to increase the velocity of the air stream. (See overblowing).

Fingering in the second register is generally the same as in the first/fundamental, though alternate fingerings are sometimes employed in the higher end of the registers to correct a flattening effect caused by higher aircolumn velocity.[24] Also, the tonic note of the second register is usually played with the top hole of the whistle partially uncovered instead of covering all holes as with the tonic note of the first register; this makes it harder to accidentally drop into the first register and helps to correct pitch. Recorders perform this by "pinching" open the dorsal thumb hole.

Various other notes (relatively flat or sharp with respect to those of the major scale) can be accessed by cross fingering techniques, and all the notes (except the lowest of each octave/register) can be flattened by half holing. Perhaps the most effective and most used cross fingering is that which produces a flattened form of the seventh note (B flat instead of B on a C whistle, for example, or C natural instead of C sharp on a D whistle). This makes available another major scale (F on a C whistle, G on a D whistle).

The standard range of the whistle is two octaves. For a D whistle, this includes notes from the second D above middle C to the fourth D above middle C. It is possible to make sounds above this range, by blowing with sufficient force, but, in most musical contexts, the result will be loud and out of tune due to a cylindrical bore.
Ornamentation
Traditional Irish whistle playing uses a number of ornaments to embellish the music, including cuts, strikes and rolls. Most playing is legato with ornaments to create breaks between notes, rather than tongued. The Irish traditional music concept of the word "ornamentation" differs somewhat from that of European classical music in that ornaments are more commonly changes in how a note is articulated rather than the addition of separately-perceived notes to the piece.

Ornamentation words to learn:
Ornamentation explained:
Tricks
Some tricks:
Genres
Irish and Scottish traditional
Most whistle music comes from traditional music of Ireland and Scotland where the whistle accompanies a small band. The whistle in a band makes a definitive contrast and balance to the lowe-pitched instruments like the badrun.

Kwela
Kwela is a genre of music created in South Africa in the 1950s, and characterised and dominated by an upbeat, jazzy tin whistle lead. The genre was created around the sound of the low-cost whistles, known as 'jive flutes'.
Kwela was mostly superseded in South Africa by the mbaqanga genre in the late fifties, and with it the saxophone largely supplanted the tin whistle as the lead instrument for music from the townships.
Kwela musical scores and recordings are hard to find. Check the internet for South African Jazz and Jive.

Other music
The tin whistle is occasionally used in other types of music, such as film soundtracks, folk rock and folk metal.
Notation
Tin whistle music collections can use four notations:
Transposing

D scale: F# C#
G scale: F#
A scale: ......G#

What if I want a fingering chart for a C-whistle ?

Fingering charts are usually set up for only a D-whistle.

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The D Chart: What you need to know to finger your whistle as it ought to be fingered. Like it wants to be fingered. If you are a new whistler, I strongly recommend that you learn the fingerings as given in the D chart. This is the standard chart for most music that is played on the tinwhistle. The "D" fingerings will let you play music with ease in:
D-major
G-major
B-minor
E-minor
A-major
F#-minor
and their modes.
Music in other keys can be easily transposed to one of these keys. Most music for tinwhistle is arranged for "D" fingerings. Most traditional music of Ireland, Scotland, and England is in one of these keys or their modes. A large amount of American folk music is in one of these keys.

If you learn the D fingerings first and become comfortable with the notion of transposing other keys in D, you will save yourself a mountain of work later.

Click for whistle fingering chart in key of F.

For any key, use the same chart and substitute the notes of the key for which you want the fingering.
DEF#GABC#D
GABCDEF#GKey of G uses D-whistle but with C, not C#.
CDEFGABCC whistle can play keys of C and F# major.
ABC#DEF#G#A
EF#G#ABC#D#E
BC#D#E#F#G#A#B
F#G#ABC#DE#/FF#

See Music/major scales

Notes that are not in the key, fall where you would expect them to fall:
D#/Eb
F
G#/Ab
A#/Bb
Cn
C#/Db
D#/Eb
F#/Gb
G#/Ab
A#/Bb
As long as you follow the pattern of:
tretrachord – whole step – tetrachord
the D-chart can work for any whistle by substituting the correct scale.