Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Heard that the "Irish flute" is the same fingerings as the tin whistle. Is this true? How tough is the transition from whistle to irish flute?

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

The fingering is the same. If you can play it on the whistle, you can play it on the flute. But like anything else, you will have to put a bit of work into the transition.

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Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

In particular the embouchure and breathing.

But after you’ve sorted the embouchure …

… it isn’t that much harder than the whistle. You can do it. Go for it.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Ah yes, embouchure, the funny flute face! I tease, because I can’t make the funny flute face. ๐Ÿ™

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

The flute is harder with the embochure, but I think the breathing is easier that the low whistle. For some reason the low whistle catches me by surprise- I just run out of breath faster than I think I have.

Also, the grip could be a problem for some. The flute’s grip is way harder than the whistle’s.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Low whistle breathing kills me, figuratively speaking.

Every year I reach a point where I want to go back and give it a go, and never get it right.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

zippy i agree, i have a low whistle and the breathing is a nightmare, because you have to barely breathe to get a low d or e and the high notes take an unbelievable amount of air. i prefer the high whistle anyway, nicer tone.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Susato has an exchangeable Flute/Whistle mouth piece for a Low D model. Is it any good or different sounding?

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Same again - the flute takes less air than the low whistle by far, and tends to take less once you are playing properly than it might when you first start. But it does take a good deal more than the standard whistle.
Your problems will be with embouchure, not fingering! Some people find a decent embouchure much more quickly than others, but if you have the bad luck to be one of the slow ones, don’t worry - it doesn’t seem to be much of a predictor of how good your sound is in the end.
It’s just that it might drive you insane first, but hey…

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

I approach playing tunes very differenctly on the two instruments. Also, flute requires much more attention to style and articulation than does whistle because you can vary the embouchure and airflow much more than on whistle.

The fingering is the same, but they are very different instruments.

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Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

I think flute is easier than whistle. If you are bad on whistle, low or high, it really sounds awful and people and animals run screaming from the room. If you are bad on the flute you just sound like a beginner.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

I also think flute is easier than whistle - after the first year or so.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Very interesting. I’ve been playing low whistle for years (and GHB) and have no problem with the blowing but recently got a flute and though the fingering is easy I just can’t seem to get enough air. Embouchure I’m sure but I am quite surprised that some folk say the flute takes less air than a low whistle. That’s definitely somthing to think about.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Bogman, my fluter buddy says the same thing. He started on whistles too. Much easier to keep a stream of air going through the flute than huffing and puffing on a whistle, so says he.

I still can’t make that darn fluter face though.

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

I personally find flute easier than whistle. A played a little bit of whistle before flute but not much as i prefered flute. I found that for me the problem wasn’t the embrochure as i got that instantly. The problem was getting used to using the keys on my flute (we play alot in cminor) and the grip. It took me ages to get that wasn’t used to the size of those holes. I found the tone alot nicer with flute and it didn’t hurt my ears when i was playing. The question is are you the type of person who gives up easily or not as this is the deciding factor, If you play whistle can you play flute yes and no as if you are not the type of person who gives up easily the answer to this is most definitley yes you can. But don’t expect it to happen overnight because more than likely thats not going to happen. If are an easy quitter then i probably wouldn’t bother. How badly do you want to play flute is the real question here and only you can answer that one

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Flute is easier than the low whistle, but not as easy as the regular soprano whistle, which is why I stayed with the whistle, it is easy, and I am lazy (not to mention it is hundreds of dollars less expensive than a flute).

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

Awesome, I am totally loving your honesty Al!!

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

I started on a whistle too. I was going to buy a low whistle but the shop had none and as an impatient 11 year old I got a practice flute as well!
It was fine once I got the breathing technique down! Now I play a ‘proper’ wooden flute and havent looked back! It’s a move you won’t regret… ๐Ÿ™‚

Re: Tin Whistle to Irish Flute

To my way of thinking flute is pretty different from whistle. Fingerings are shared, but that’s about it. The transition is awful at first, when you have no embouchure and can hardly make a sound but once you get going on flute, it’s well worth the effort.

I pick up a whistle now and generally put it down in disinterest. I can’t get any huff and rhythm going and I don’t have all the interesting, beautiful tone colors I can get on the flute.