Tin Whistle
Tutorials My Music Hymnal Tin Whistle Links


Amazing Grace
Boy Who Shaved
Drummond Castle
Kilt My Delight
Lil Bag of Spuds
MManley's Polka
Over The Waterfall
Oyster Wife's Rant

<< Click on a link so you can listen to a tune while reading the text.

A Tin Whistle is also known as a Penny Whistle or  Flageolet or a fipple flute. Clarke, who has been manufacturing them out of sheet metal in England since 1843, makes mine. You can make one yourself from simple tubing if you feel creative.

I play on my walks to and from work, and during lunch. It helps get my mind off the computer. I got a whistle, a book and a tape by Bill Ochs for Christmas '91 that contains many early and traditional tunes.

I admire the instrument because of its portability and simplicity. Have you ever tried taking a guitar on a canoe trip? Have you ever got your mustache hairs plucked out by a harmonica? It's got six holes & I've got 10 fingers (there's plenty of margin for error).

I played the Baritone in the Jr. High band, didn't get to good, but learned some of the fundamentals of reading music. I've also attempted to play guitar for many years. One of my joys was finding out that after learning several whistle melodies by heart, I could pick them out on my guitar (spontaneous synergy). I also took a semester of violin and one of guitar while in college (two fuck-off fun electives that I really enjoyed). Although I've always wanted to be a musician, it turns out that I'm really a technician memorizing and replicating patterns rather than using pure creative energy or a feeling of perfect pitch. Such is life....

I've been working on this book for about 3 years now, some people think I'm good, some people think I'm a fool (I mean, a guy actually told me that). I know that I enjoy it and it gets my mind off of work. When I first got my whistle I played it between where I park and where I work. That makes about 15 minutes in the morning, 30 minutes at lunch, and 15 minutes in the evening. Anyways, 30 minutes to an hour/day * 3 years = OK.

Moral to the story... Play a little each day, every day and you will get better. I am much more fluent now, wear out that book... It is really well constructed, when you work your way to the end you'll find that many of the early tunes were fundamental moves (riffs?) for the later ones. Some songs in there I just didn't get. It is OK to skip a few or come back to them later. When you get to the end you'll find that you can go back to the beginning and play the "training" tunes with the extra flourishes (?) you've learned. The tape that comes with it is "no great shakes", although I listened to it a few times and it helped some with some of the metering, I didn't rely on it heavily (it started squeaking in my tape deck and was possibly of cheap manufacture). There's also some Mel-bay whistle books that I've gotten tunes out of. Another great source of instruction and tunes would be Mike Simpson's Semi-Comprehensive Guide to the Tin Whistle.

If you are serious about the tin whistle there is a good book/tape/whistle set by Bill Ochs which got me started. It takes you from the basics of reading music & applying it to the whistle up to some fancy reels, jigs, and strathspey's.
Ugh... ISBN 0-9623456-0-1 Published by Pennywhistler's Press P.O.Box 2473, New York, and N.Y. 10108

The selection above are MP3 recordings of tunes I learned from a book called The Clarke Tin Whistle by Bill Ochs. My wife bought me this set (whistle, tape, and instructional booklet) many years ago and I have learned much from it and enjoyed it a lot too. I try to play a little everyday.

These tunes are traditional, most dating from the 1700's or beyond. Many are Irish or English and a few are early American.


Back Home Next