The Humble Whistle

The Humble Whistle

Man, I had almost forgot what a joy these simple little devils are! I don’t mean to neglect my fiddle, but I’ve been on a tear with my whistles for the last few days…

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🙂

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Agreed! What a great instrument. And so different from fiddle—at least my fingers seem to think so.

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It has its place, surely, and a player of Mary Bergin’s skill is a joy. However, I find a little whistle goes a long, long way.

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Yep, I feel it’s under-rated sometimes. The fact that it’s simple gives you more opportunities.

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The Alpha and Omega of trad!!

By the way I have an MK pro low G to sell . Immaculate condition . Great key for playing with Viola players , singers and just for the craic.

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Whistle is awesome. You can purchase one for very little money. They don’t fall apart under duress. They can handle heat, cold, being dropped, being dropped in a creek, being thrown into a backpack and carried across the wilderness.

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You can carry it and not question your life choices.

You can suss out a session undercover, not carrying a huge, undisguisable instrument case.

You can have car whistles, backpack whistles, travel whistles, whistles everywhere.

You can lose some of these whistles (at least the Generations and similar) and not have a massive nervous breakdown.

You can lie in bed and play it.

I love whistles.

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I don’t find it humble at all! It is small yes, but it has a big voice that wants to be heard! Such a joyful sound brings me to happy tears sometimes. 🙂

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Oh, and it’s a gateway drug..

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Emily, I love your whistle love. It’s uplifting. Cheers!
It’s a bit like DrSeuss.

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I remember seeing many years ago figures for the number of musical instruments by country around the world. The US came first, no real surprise there. Second was Ireland. Back in those days, Ireland was a pretty poor country and the rating surprised me greatly. Then I realised the US instruments were probably expensive Hammond Organs (yes, it was that long ago!), while the Irish instruments were probably largely tin whistles!

I was sitting outside our Council Chambers last week, waiting for the door to be opened for some public presentations to be made on Climate Change related issues. I found a shady spot on the broad curved staircase, and waited. And waited. So I pulled out my whistle (never leave home without one!) and got through AABB of a nice jig, when the door was unlocked and opened, and a voice said "Is that you, Terry?" Sigh. They’re on to me.

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At least they let you get through the tune once. 🙂

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Nothing humble about the whistle. Well played, it is a huge plus in any group performance. As others have mentioned, it is discreet and transportable. A good one is affordable from $5-10 upwards. It requires a fraction of the initial technical skills of most instruments when getting started and so is the ideal on-boarding pathway. But it affords the improving and advanced player huge scope for expression - a deceptive little elf it it.

In the hands of Joanie Madden, Micho Russell, Sean Potts, Mary Bergin, Paddy Moloney, Cormac Breathnach, Josie McDermott (and many others…) it is as seductive and charming and fundamental to the character and voice of ITM as any other instrument.

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DSS: “You can lie in bed and play it.“

Top Tip!

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Ah, DSS, ¨You can lie in bed and play it¨, but only if (She) Who Must Be Obeyed will allow it! Thank the whistle gods for my Hoover Whitecap.

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I love the whistle. I love MY whistles. I can listen to good whistle music for very extended periods of time. I will never abandon the whistle.