Low whistles at Fleadh

Low whistles at Fleadh

Hello all,
I was wondering if anyone has, or knows of someone who has played low whistle in the solo competition at a Fleadh. Specifically, I had registered for the MIdwest Fleadh in St Louis and have been informed by a judge that it was not a good idea to play in the tin whistle competition but I should play in the miscellaneous competition. This is the first fleadh for me although I do the occasional feis (on low whistle) I have found opinions to be extremely mixed and I was wondering what I might expect from the St Louis fleadh any suggestions or advice would be greatly appreciated…I play a copeland low D if that makes any difference

Thanks, Lisa

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Don’t know how they do things in St.Louis, but I think you would have to enter the “Miscellaneous Instruments” category of competition.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

As long as it has six holes and a fipple it’s a whistle and can be played in the whistle competition. That’s official.

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

In the past as far as I know low whistles have had to be in miscellaneous, but you should email the fleadh committee at either of the addresses on the website to be sure.

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

I think Fleadhman is right that you must enter in the “whistle” category and would not be eligible to go into miscellaneous. Miscellaneous covers things like piccollos, saxes, clarinets - more or less anything so long as it’s accoustic!

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

I’m surprised to hear that a “low” whistle would be accepted in a Comhaltas fleadh tin-whistle competition. Just to satisfy my curiousity, “fleadhman”, would you disclose your “official” source of information that this is allowed ? Do any of the above contributers have first-hand knowledge of anyone having competed in a tin-whistle competition, at any level, at a fleadh playing a “low” whistle?
I did a “google” on “comhaltas – tin-whistle – fleadh - rules”, and came up with rules for the “Mid-Atlantic” Regional Fleadh of 2005, which are quite specific about the type of whistle allowed : Quote below:-

Tin Whistle a/b/c/d (6 hole penny-whistle styles only)

I don’t think you’d get very far arguing that a “low” whistle would fit that description, and in fact it looks to me as though that qualification has been inserted specifically to exclude “low” whistles. The best advice from above is to check in advance with the Fleadh committee. Don’t take my word for it, - [and all that I am offering is an opinion, ] but don’t take anyone elses’ word for it either, without proof.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Let’s end all speculation and settle this once and for all. I’ve e-mailed a query to Comhaltas in Dublin. I’ll let you know when I get a reply. The fleadh rules on their website mentions only “whistle” as a category of instrument – no mention of “tin” or any other qualification or description – so since it is indeed a type of whistle you are playing , logically you should be entitled to enter with a “low” whistle.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Lisa - I received a very prompt reply from John Prior of Comhaltas who tells me that that you would indeed compete in the “whistle” competition, and not the “Miscellaneous Instruments”. He said that they actually removed the word “tin” from the competition title and renamed it just as “whistle”. I can’t help but wonder if they know about this in St.Louis yet. Anyway, there’s your answer - good luck with your playing.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Thanks for checking, Kenny! I would definitely go head and email the St. Louis comittee as well, and maybe forward that reply from Comhaltas in Ireland to them, since there is often a disconnect between what Ireland says and what US branches are aware of. For example, the St. Louis website definitely lists the solo whistle competition as “Tin Whistle.” Also, there are two or three new rules this year listed on the St. Louis fleadh website, including the one about slow airs being played once only (which I did check up on with the St. Louis authorities and was told that it was more of a suggestion and that one should use discretion according to the length of the air) that don’t appear in the rules for this year’s Mid-Atlantic fleadh, and the Mid-Atlantic fleadh has at least one new rule that the Midwest doesn’t have (which is that no ties are now allowed, not even for third place.) I’ve been told repeatedly that any changes in the rules have to come from or at least be approved by Comhaltas in Ireland, so it’s very strange that the two US fleadhanna have different rules.

Also, what the adjudicator may be aware of as far as the rules is an entirely different story--the lines of communication are not always perfect. And as I’ve said elsewhere, the adjudicator’s manual, last edition 1986, is not much help, since it’s fairly out of date and a lot of new competitions have been added and rules have been changed since then. Even if the St. Louis authorities got a low whistle memo from Comhaltas, one shouldn’t assume that the whistle adjudicator would know about it, and the whole competition could get held up while the adjudicator tries to get that cleared up if it’s not clear in advance. The only past instance of a competitor playing the low whistle in the Midwest Fleadh that I am certain of the details about is Sean Gavin of Detroit, and he competed (and won) in Miscellaneous on low whistle in 2003. So my best advice would be to email Helen Gannon or Laura Crites, just to double check, and maybe forward them the email from Comhaltas. If indeed low whistles are acceptable in the whistle competition, there should probably be an addendum to the rules specifying that exactly.
Good luck!

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

That’s a bummer that you can’t wear a tie to the Mid-Atlantic fleadh. And they wouldn’t even give you a third for effort? I could understand when they decreed that no spats were allowed, but really.

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Sorry.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Thanks for all the helpful suggestions guys…I have e-mailed both Ms Gannon and Ms Crites in St Louis and they are in the process of rectifying the situation. I will double check ahead of time, the last thing I want is to hold up a competition while this was sorted out. I never realized I had chosen such a controversial instrument! (Actually, I think it chose me), things were simpler when I was a flautist! Anyway, thanks again for all the advice and interesting debate 🙂

Lisa

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Lisa - I’ll send you a copy of the e-mails from Dublin via this site.

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Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

Today I played the low whistle in the Dublin fleadh. In the slow air competition, the adjudicator had to send the steward out to the fleadh office to clarify that I WAS allowed to play the low whistle. I didn’t get anywhere, and I suspect it was because I held the competition up while he checked it out.
Last year I won the Miscellaneous with the low whistle. When I got to Leinster, I was disqualified, because it goes in the whistle competition.
They should really have an individual competition for the low whistle, and also inform the adjudicators about the rules better.

Re: Low whistles at Fleadh

They are stupidly tight with all those rules. I know the flute is a more traditional instrument than the Low Whistle, but why can it have an individual comp; when more people play the low whistle and less people play the flute? And it IS NOT FAIR that you were penalised for being late! I was but got second in the fiddle at the Derry Fleadh!

OH!!!!!
This discussion hasn’t been used since 2006, oh well, maybe some sad soul will stumble across it!