Which key of whistle?

Which key of whistle?

I’ve been listening a lot to Ravishing Genius of Bones by Brian Finnegan. One song in particular that I like is "Only". When I use a key finder on this it says it’s in c#major. Not being particularly steeped in music theory (at all!) I wondered what key of whistle is best to play in c#major? I can play the tune but would like to try and play along with the recording. While I’m here, is there a good page that tells you what each key of whistle can play what supplementary keys?

Thanks in advance,

Robert Leitch

Re: Which key of whistle?

Sounds like a tune or maybe an air, not a song.
I’m not sure what key his tin whistle on this tune is, but my guess is Db.

Re: Which key of whistle?

Wouldn’t it be better to get a program that can put the tune into a key that works for the whistle that you have?The Amazing Downloader or Audacity or some such. Otherwise you’ll need a half-dozen whistles. Which, in fact, most players do eventually come to own.

Re: Which key of whistle?

Most whistles play well in their native key or a perfect fourth above it (that being four steps INCLUDING the tonic note, so "D e f# G" means you can play a D whistle in D or G). So to get C#, a G# whistle would work.
I don’t have a chart handy, but you can see the different keys laid out here (also, you’ll note the low is listed as C# and the high as Db, but they’ll play the same scale an octave apart) https://www.susato.com/collections/kildare

Re: Which key of whistle?

If this is the tune the OP is talking about from that CD, the full name is "If Only a Little" and there are transcriptions here in the tune database: https://thesession.org/tunes/9911

In the comments, it’s mentioned that he plays it in Ab, on an Ab Olwell bamboo flute.

Re: Which key of whistle?

An Ab works quite well for G# ! 😉

Re: Which key of whistle?

About the Ab/G# thing, in ordinary music they would say "Ab".

For C# they would say "Db".

For whistles, it brings consistency, because we don’t say "A# whistle" and "D# whistle".

So from the Low C whistle up to the high Eb whistle we would have

C Db D Eb E F Gb G Ab A Bb B C Db D Eb

which makes more sense that jumping back and forth between flats and sharps.

Re: Which key of whistle?

It’s interesting that the music is primarily in sharp key signatures, but the whistles are referred to in flat keys. Probably a carryover from the general pattern of end-blown woodwind variants like clarinets and sax being primarily in flat keys. Who knows?