Flute & Whistle buyers guide by Eagle Music including explanations of types and makers
Flutes and Whistles by George Ormiston, Desi Seery, Dixon, Brian Howard Low Whistles, Chieftain, Generation, Shaw Whistles, Clarke’s, Susato. Our choice of woodwind instruments at Eagle Music Shop is second to none and probably the finest in the UK.
We offer an excellent range of flutes and whistles from some of the world’s most respected makers. Many of the greatest flute players started out by learning to play the modest Generation or Feadog type ‘D’ tin whistle. It is one of the most compact and easy to learn instruments. Here at Eagle Music Shop we carry a superb range of other whistles including Susato high whistles and low whistles from the USA, Chieftain high and low whistles, Clarke’s and Shaw conical tin whistles, Clarke’s Sweetone and other simple models from Waltons. Low or Tenor whistles have become very popular over the past couple of years or so and we offer handmade whistles from Brian Howard and the world-class range of Chieftain high and low aluminium alloy whistles that are chosen by many professionals.
Within our range of flutes there is a model for all levels of player. From the simple system ‘D’ practice flute to handmade silver keyed models hand built in Scotland by George Ormiston. We also carry the range of ‘space age’ Irish made Desi Seery flutes that are turned from high impact Dupont Delrin Acetal Resin. The superb range of Rhiannon bamboo flutes are available to order. We carry many tin whistle tuition, flute tuition and tune books. Videos are also available from Eagle Music Shop giving you a one-to-one lesson with some of the worlds greatest tin whistle players. Also please check out our fabulous range of exclusive ‘Extreme Protection’ gig bags and cases custom designed for flute and whistle.
The ‘Tin’ Whistle – Simplified Explanations
In these notes we shall just refer to this musical instrument as simply a ‘Whistle’.
Many names are used to describe a whistle, tin whistle, Irish whistle, feadóg stáin, flageolet, penny whistle etc.
A brand of traditional ‘Tin Whistle’ was made from tin, and it was also called the ‘Penny Whistle’ because in the early part of the 19th century you could buy one for an old penny!
The most popular whistle to start playing is a High whistle in the key of D This is the whistle that is predominantly used in Irish traditional, Scottish and english folk music.
Modern whistles are made from all different materials including tin, brass, copper, aluminium, plastic, bamboo and all different kinds of wood. They come in many different musical keys. The key of the whistle (musical pitch) determines what size the whistle will be. ‘High’ whistles are generally small and short and ‘Low’ whistles are generally long.
A whistle has six holes that you place your fingers on and off to play musical scales as you blow down the whistle, it also has a hole at the bottom of its body (because it is cylindrical) it also has two holes in the mouthpiece (the mouthpiece is also called the Fipple) one hole that the player blows through and another hole that you must not cover when playing.
Most Popular Size and Key
The most popular size is the HIGH WHISTLE range. Within this range are soprano and mezzo soprano whistles. You will find D E F and G (soprano) and Bb B C (Mezzo soprano .The G soprano whistle is the smallest and the Bb (mezzo Soprano) is the largest in the Generation range. The best quality makes to choose from within this range include Generation,Tony Dixon, Shaw, Clarke’s, Feadóg
Mezzo Soprano Whistles
This range of whistles is slightly larger that the standard high sopraon whistle range and within this range you can buy a whistle in the key of A which is popular for playing Scottish music. Much Scottish music is written in the key of A. The keys of C and Bb are also available in the Chieftain mezzo soprano range.
Low or Tenor whistles are available in the keys of Eb E C D (Howard) and D F and G (Chieftain)
Tunable whistles have a sliding head or are made in two parts so that you can slightly change the pitch to bring yourself in tune with other instruments.