|Hobgoblin Music - WHISTLES|
Whistle BackgroundThe whistle in its present form, has developed from the flageolet, popular in the last century. Itís origins of course are far older than that. The fingering is the same as on the wooden flutes and piccolos, D is the most useful key for folk tunes, but most tunings are available.
If you're thinking about beginning, it is advisable to start with one in the key of D. It is generally considered to be the easiest to play, and pretty much all of the tutor books you can buy are for those tuned to D (although they can be used for any key).
This is a diatonic instrument with simple fingering, and it's very easy to learn to play - easier than the recorder. whistles generally play two octaves, and you can easily play in two keys on any of them, for example on a D instrument you can play in D and G.
A flageolet with a conical bore (Clarkes, Sweetone, Shaw) generally has a fairly breathy sound, while a straight bore gives a clearer sound. (All the rest)
Some low whistles have a bigger stretch between the finger holes than others, so if you have small hands it is advisable to choose one with closer holes, so that you won't have trouble reaching them. The following types do not have huge stretches:
The Chieftain has been redesigned to bring the little finger hole closer in, and the Shaw Whistles have a smaller stretch too.
If you are a beginner, and want to play a small flageolet, the cheaper makes are ideal (Generation, Waltons, and Sweet Tone). They do not have as good a sound as the more expensive makes, but they are great to learn on. Generations are available in all keys, in nickel or brass, and the others are available in C and D. The Sweet Tones come in a variety of colours and have a good tone.
Please read the rest of this article, and much more, on our FAQ page.