Irish Penny Whistles Anyone? [Archive] - Sax on the Web Forum

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A Greene
01-16-2015, 09:21 PM
I was kicking around today and found a penny whistle I sort of forgot about. I've been into Mandolin lately as well as Irish Banjo so I have a bunch of Irish Reel type fiddle tunes. Next thing I'm on good ole' YouTube and now want to get a LOW D whistle.

If you need a moment away from the sax this might be fun. Of course, this guy actually CAN play.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2H1P_Lam76E

Derekcranemusic
01-16-2015, 09:23 PM
I'm in love with mine. I do patterns and scales and every exercise I can think of on it.

Stretch
01-16-2015, 09:44 PM
Just a word of note that Irish whistle technique could create some habits that affect modern woodwind technique adversely. I am referring, specifically, of the habit fingers flying off the whistle to play ornaments.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35SqhcSojn8

I took a few years off saxophone playing in my Irish flute playing days and when I came back to playing tenor I had to work hard to try and get my fingers retrained to stay on the pearls.

gary
01-17-2015, 01:57 AM
I used to play seriously - learned from Joanie Madden. My best flute is a Patrick O'Reordan C/D.
Irish music is great! And regarding whistles, you don't need an O'Riordan to make fun music. It's accessible to everyone.

Joe Giardullo
01-17-2015, 02:34 AM
I love my whistles and play a lot of O Carolan music on them. I had one tweaked by Jerry Freeman and it is a killer whistle now.
Check out the great Howard Johnson, who plays bebop on his whistles. There's a video somewhere of him with a big band ( Woody Herman, I think) soloing on whistle.
And he has a whistle feature on an Erica Lindsay disc that is fabulous

62614

Benny
01-17-2015, 02:47 AM
I love my whistles and play a lot of O Carolan music on them. I had one tweaked by Jerry Freeman and it is a killer whistle now.
Check out the great Howard Johnson, who plays bebop on his whistles. There's a video somewhere of him with a big band ( Woody Herman, I think) soloing on whistle.
And he has a whistle feature on an Erica Lindsay disc that is fabulous

62614

It was with Louis Bellson, Brecker was in that band too. There's a compilation clip on that gig on YouTube.
Somewhere on VHS I have the whole concert, it's awesome!

But whistles.....I love them too. I've got some in high g, d, c and Bb but would love a low d.
Susato are great for the coin, the jerry freeman tweaked are very good and the Clarke have something great about them.

Samusax
01-17-2015, 06:51 PM
My girlfriend picked up a traditional feadog whistle in D for me when she was in Dublin, been experimenting around with it a little bit, it is fun! Cool to hear other people's take on them

Samusax
01-17-2015, 06:54 PM
I love my whistles and play a lot of O Carolan music on them. I had one tweaked by Jerry Freeman and it is a killer whistle now.
Check out the great Howard Johnson, who plays bebop on his whistles. There's a video somewhere of him with a big band ( Woody Herman, I think) soloing on whistle.
And he has a whistle feature on an Erica Lindsay disc that is fabulous

62614

Was wondering about playing jazz or bebop on a whistle, anyone have the link to this video?

MM
02-06-2015, 06:02 AM
Love Irish sessions. Especially with a pint or two of Guinness.

Anybody familiar with Paul McCandless, mainly known from Oregon? He's terrific on sopranino, soprano, oboe, English horn, bass clarinet and whistles. He sometimes solos on two whistles simultaneously. Check him out in Hemispheres, a bay area based World Music/Jazz group led by percussionist Ian Dogole.

MartinMusicMan
02-06-2015, 06:19 AM
I was very much into whistles but that was many years ago now. I had them in several keys. I liked the Clarke tin whistles the best. I recorded backing tracks on guitar and played them on cassette while playing the whistles. I learned a lot of tunes. Some of them I can still do ... sort of. I have a few whistles but I don't play them anymore. It's just like any instrument -- you have to play them a lot, and regularly, or the ability goes away.

adamk
02-06-2015, 06:57 AM
Plastic Susato in G.
Played it on an Irishish rock tune.

Zythos
02-11-2015, 07:28 AM
I just got a Clarke Sweetone in D from Amazon (ordered Stephen Howard's Saxophone Manual and was about $11 short of getting free shipping, so I added the whistle and paid about as much for both as I would have for just the book).

Since I got it yesterday, I've already fallen in love with playing it. It's super fun. But I've noticed that getting a steady tone is more challenging than on my saxes (sop, c mel, tenor). The whistle seems to be more sensitive to fluctuations in my air velocity. Hopefully this will help me build better diaphragm control.

I'm already looking at one tuned in C (whistle GAS, lol) :D

tuscab
02-11-2015, 11:15 AM
I play penny whistle, Irish flute and uilleann pipes...now the pipes will drive you mad! Low whistles sound great, but good ones are very expensive. I have an Overton I bought years ago...great sound.

Irish music has its own style - playing it like it's classical or jazz makes it sound classical or jazz, not Irish. Irish music has a "lift" that takes time to learn. If you want to hear the difference, this is a classical version of a tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv0a7TPsWLM Here is a whistle player playing the same tune (it's the second tune he plays): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsHoiK7nCjY

Stretch, I also took time off from sax to play Irish music...just now coming back to the sax.

MartinMusicMan
02-11-2015, 02:51 PM
Irish music has its own style - playing it like it's classical or jazz makes it sound classical or jazz, not Irish. Irish music has a "lift" that takes time to learn. This is what I learned too, just from listening. I never learned proper techniques, but I could tell there are several things unique to playing Irish whistle that I wasn't getting as well as the true Irish whistle players -- things like the smears, trills, half-covering the holes, and so forth. I don't know what they're called in Irish music, but I could tell that if I really wanted to play that music authentically I was going to have to put some time and study into it and probably get a good teacher or play with some knowledgeable players who could show me what to do and how to play the tunes correctly. That's why I didn't continue to develop on the whistles - I just wanted to play them and have some fun making music.

MajorGeek
02-24-2015, 11:59 PM
I was pretty serious about tin whistle for a while. I got interested in playing Irish reels on my flute as speed and fingering exercises, then that lead to whistle. It's possible to play some stuff faster on whistle than a Boehm flute, but only for the two keys the whistle is good for. I think it goes like a D whistle is optimized for D and A, but you can also play C if you half hole the C natural. You could play other keys but why when the Boehm system makes it easier to hit those accidentals. Even wanted to get a set of Uilleann pipes. Sad, but I didn't know anyone in my rural area that played Irish stuff, so it didn't go anywhere. Three years ago, I started playing fiddle, so now I can play some of those fiddle tunes I had learned first on whistle.

I had hoped to work up a bluegrass rendition of "Funky Down" with my wife on guitar. The "talk about it, talk about it, talk about it" worked out great for some fiddle double stops. I purchased an Eb whistle just for the sax part. I'd put the fiddle down, grab the whistle and make it growl though the sax lick, getting a laugh out of anyone listening.

I was at a local fiddle circle jam a month ago, and this woman came in with a whistle. I was surprised that no one knew much about penny whistle. One guy asked "Where's the octave key?" She called an Irish song, started playing it, and I thought, "I know this", dug into the bottom of my music bag and found my favorite old D, started playing along, thinking I still have it, then dropped to a harmony line. I thought we sounded great together.

Much more portable than a sax, more rugged than a fiddle, that D was a constant companion around in the mountains and the beach for years.

Sometimes I hear a little of the Irish ornamentation sneak in on my sax solos. I don't think a little roll now and then is a bad thing.

choochoo
02-25-2015, 12:24 AM
if you like a penny whistle, get a C bansuri flute. same diatonic layout with the exception that they use the lydian scale plus semi tones.

MajorGeek
08-28-2015, 05:09 PM
I had no idea there were third octave - altissimo fingerings for penny whistle until I found this two weeks ago: http://www.wfg.woodwind.org/tinwhistle/tw_bas_3.html Most of these are easier for me than altissimo on my tenor sax. That high G will make make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up.

For a laugh, I could run a tune up into this third octave then pretend to go higher, and claim that most people can't hear or appreciate part of my excellent solo because I'm in dog whistle range.

Michael Ward
08-28-2015, 06:18 PM
I love my whistles and use them. After trying a few I settled on Chris Abel's. I've got them in Eb D C Bb A and G that share 3 heads. Chris's wood flute is beautiful.
http://www.abellflute.com/whistle.html

I'm going to get an F and low D from Colin Goldie. I had a low D before but sold it for some reason. He will make it to your spec..more or less chiff/ resistance etc... I like a good bit of resistance and chiff.

shmuelyosef
10-18-2015, 02:24 AM
I play penny whistle, Irish flute and uilleann pipes...now the pipes will drive you mad! Low whistles sound great, but good ones are very expensive. I have an Overton I bought years ago...great sound.

Irish music has its own style - playing it like it's classical or jazz makes it sound classical or jazz, not Irish. Irish music has a "lift" that takes time to learn. If you want to hear the difference, this is a classical version of a tune: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nv0a7TPsWLM Here is a whistle player playing the same tune (it's the second tune he plays): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EsHoiK7nCjY

Stretch, I also took time off from sax to play Irish music...just now coming back to the sax.

Doesn't count, he's playing a modern Boehm flute...

southfloridahorns
10-18-2015, 05:27 AM
Susato are great for the coin.

That's what I use. I have them in several keys. Last time I checked, they were around 3500 pennies each.

One of the things that was most attractive about the Susato is that the head/fipple section is separate from the body. Meaning, that, for one, I can tune to the ensemble. Also, I've saved a few pennies...when I got a gig that required a Db whistle, I simply made a body with the right specs (one of the standard PVC sizes worked perfectly, just had to locate and drill the tone holes) and borrowed the head from my C whistle.

Jazz Is All
10-18-2015, 10:24 AM
Penny whistle?? Just like penny candy there is no longer any such animal. So, you'll need to change the name to "Seven Ninety Five Whistle" because that's the cheapest they go for these days. Other than that, they're an nice thing to toy around with.

BH9
10-29-2015, 07:17 PM
I have a collection and Susatos are my favorite. Finally gave up struggling with them because the wife won't let me practice.

Mary Bergin is top of the heap in my book.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdJYbOkbetQ

tuscab
10-30-2015, 04:24 PM
Shmuelyosef, Joanie Madden plays Irish music on the Boehm flute and she has won the All Ireland competition on flute. She makes it sound Irish, not classical...

tuscab
10-30-2015, 04:24 PM
Here's Joannie - she starts on whistle, finishes on flute... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hOrU5sVUyqs