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Guide to Tin Whistles

Tin Whistle : What is it?

Tin Whistles

The tin whistle is a simple, six-holed, end-blown fipple flute held vertically just like a recorder. It is commonly made with a brass or nickel-plated brass tubing and a plastic mouthpiece or fipple. It can also be made of all metal, wooden, and PVC. It is generally cheap and easy to use.

Also called the Irish whistle, the tin whistle is used in traditional folk music particularly in Ireland. It is usually the starting instrument played in traditional Irish music.

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Types of Tin Whistles

Tin WhistlesTin Whistles

Kinds of Tin Whistles include the following:

D whistle

  • This type of tin whistle is the most common tin whistle.
  • It plays in the keys of D and G major.
  • It is commonly used in Celtic music.


C whistle

  • This type of tin whistle is the second most most common tin whistle.
  • It plays in the keys of C and F major.
  • It is widely used in American folk music.


Low whistle

  • The low whistle is larger and longer than the other types of tin whistles.
  • It produces tones an octave lower than the standard tin whistle.
  • It is usually made of metal or plastic tubing.


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Choosing Tin Whistles (Buying tips)

Handmade:  Choose a tin whistle individually crafted and “voiced” by a craftsman to get better tonal quality.

Tuning: 
Choose a tin whistle with a tuning adjustment for more versatility.  Look for one with a fixed tuning if you only want to get the standard sound.

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