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Posted: 6/15/2009 3:59:09 PM EST
I've always loved the sound of the tin whistle and picked one up in Ireland while on vacation a couple of weeks ago. It's a cheapie, but I've had fun learning how to play it and am considering picking up a better one.

Anyway, I'm just curious if anyone here plays one.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 12:39:33 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 12:40:49 PM EST by Buckeye67]
I play a bit.

I'm happy to answer any questions for you.

Don't worry about the "cheapy" whistles. Most of the greats played (and many still play) $8 Generations whistles.

Link Posted: 6/16/2009 2:43:47 PM EST
Originally Posted By Buckeye67:
I play a bit.

I'm happy to answer any questions for you.

Don't worry about the "cheapy" whistles. Most of the greats played (and many still play) $8 Generations whistles.



Damn, I'll say you play "a bit"! That was excellent!

I picked up a Waltons whistle while on vacation in Ireland and have had a hard time keeping it from squeaking when I play it. Just for grins, I picked up an Oak Classic today and there's a world of difference.

I'm an absolute beginner and am having fun learning how to play it.

One quick question...I can't read music. Can you point me to a site that has music with the hole diagrams on it?

Thanks!!
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 3:39:03 PM EST
[Last Edit: 6/16/2009 3:41:00 PM EST by Buckeye67]
Not being able to read music isn't a liability when it comes to irish traditional music. Most folks will say that it's really sort of a liability TO be able to read music. These tunes have been passed on by ear for generations. Some of the greatest players (of any instruments in the tradition) can't read a note - particularly from the older generation. I spent a week last year with Kevin Crawford of Lunasa and was surprised to find out that he doesn't read a note. My flute & whistle teacher couldn't read music but made himself learn when he started teaching here in the US. Listen to as much of the music as you can stand. That's one of the best things you can do to learn - particularly once you find a player whose style of playing you like.

Another thing to do is check out The Session and see if there's an irish music session near where you live. There'll probably be a whistle player there who can help you get going.

There are a bunch of tutorials out there too. I got started playing using Cathal McConnell's Tutorial from Homespun Tapes. There's also a fella on youtube who's a good player who has a of tutorial as well - Ryan Duns. Here's the start of his lessons.

Some other links that'll be good for you are Chiff and Fipple - they have a good forum there (just watch out for the obamunists over there) and Whistle This. Whistle this is kind of dead these days, but it does have tablatures for the tunes which you might find helpful.

If your time and wallet allow, there are some great irish music camps over the summer at the Augusta Heritage Center in Elkins, WVa and at the Swannanoa Gathering near Asheville, NC (this is where I met Kevin). They're kind of pricey, but they're well worth it.

Best thing you can do though is listen. Especially if you want to learn a new tune. When I find a tune I want to learn, I listen to it over and again until I can whistle/hum it. John tells us "you can't play a tune until you know it", and he's spot-on there.

Your Oak & Walton will get you along a good way in learning to play.


If you want to check out some whistle playing that'll blow your mind (although it isn't necessarily all that traditional), check out the band Flook.

ETA: This'll be a good spot to plug where I go for lessons when I can: The Riley School of Irish Music in Cincinnati, Ohio. There are several years worth of tunes on the site that you can download (both slow versions and more "up to speed" versions).
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 3:50:25 PM EST
Wow...a ton of info! I'm in your debt!

As far as listening to tunes, no problem there! I've always been a HUGE fan of the whistle ever since I was a kid.

I sure appreciate your help and look forward to learning how to play.
Link Posted: 6/16/2009 3:54:50 PM EST
My pleasure. :)

Whistle playing is one of only two subjects that I know anything about.
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