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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 12:37 pm 
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Just curious how folks here got into tin whistles and where it's led them in life. Notable moments? Favorite parts of being a tin whistler? I'm new to tin whistles and excited to see what possibilities may lie ahead.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 1:55 pm 
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Fledge wrote:
Just curious how folks here got into tin whistles and where it's led them in life. Notable moments? Favorite parts of being a tin whistler? I'm new to tin whistles and excited to see what possibilities may lie ahead.



I have to admit that after hauling an upright bass to many, many gigs the tin whistle is a pure delight

Playing the tin whistle allowed me to get "inside" the music I'm studying. My interest is mostly academic: I'm working on a history of Irish immigrants and music. You really understand something better if you do it. I'm a competent bass and guitar player, but the tin whistle was an entry point into ITM. I probably won't be joining any sessions and that's fine by me--I like the meditative aspects of solo practice, trying to make it more musical.


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PostPosted: Mon Sep 02, 2019 6:20 pm 
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Fledge wrote:
Just curious how folks here got into tin whistles


My path was the reverse of the old-school thing where kids start out on whistles and transfer to fiddle, pipes, etc later.

I started out on the Highland pipes, next the uilleann pipes, then the "Irish flute", and lastly the whistle.

To me uilleann pipes/flute/whistle naturally go together, having much shared technique.

Fledge wrote:
where it's led them in life...notable moments?


It's the pipes (both Highland and uilleann) that have been the most responsible for what I've done in music.

My "notable moment" with whistle would probably be appearing in the film Patriot Games. I'm playing the same Generation C that I still play.

Fledge wrote:
Favorite parts of being a tin whistler?


The best part about whistles for me is that they're played vertically. I played flute for 30 years but cramping in my shoulders, neck, and hands caused me to give up the flute. Instruments played vertically like whistle and pipes are fine for me.

Fledge wrote:
I'm excited to see what possibilities may lie ahead.


That sentence fits so beautifully with your avatar!

Crusty pedantic stuff fits best with mine, I suppose.

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Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 2:40 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I really only came to musical instruments since I retired, I did try a couple of times before, but I never really got anywhere with them.

So I decided, on retirement, to learn to play an instrument. First I tried harmonica, but couldn't 'get' the suck & blow of holes you couldn't see. Next came ukulele, with this I managed to play tunes, & so I retried my harmonicas, & could now get to play simple tunes on them, still need to improve though, on both.

Then I wanted to learn to play flute, which I had bought a long time before, which brought me to this forum, & I caught the bug.

Whistles are so cheap compared to other instruments, & it wasn't long before I had acquired a collection.
Then I bought a simple system piccolo, after that a simple system keyless flute.....or two. :wink:

All of these are just for my own pleasure to learn to play some music. :)

(I don't actually play ITM, but other folk/country/rock/blues kinds of music.)

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 03, 2019 7:05 am 
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Fledge wrote:
Just curious how folks here got into tin whistles and where it's led them in life. Notable moments? Favorite parts of being a tin whistler? I'm new to tin whistles and excited to see what possibilities may lie ahead.


A whistle was the cheapest entry point into Irish traditional music. They've given me a lifetime of enjoyment of and appreciation for ITM. What may seem simple at first is layered with subtlety and nuance, and the more you listen to good players (and the more you practice), the more you hear and the more you learn. It's fun to see and hear the beautiful music that can come from such a humble little instrument.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 6:00 am 
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I'd picked up the whistle as an instrument to use in Australian bush band music. Back in 1974, all my musical friends decided to go to England, so I tagged along. I was planning to go on to Dublin, and bumped into a piper chap called Seamus Ennis in the Florence folk club in London. When asked about Irish music in Dublin, Seamus recommended The Tradition Club, in Slattery's, in Capel St. Went there on our first Wednesday night and heard some great music. Mary Bergin got up and played a set. I approached her afterwards and blurted out: "where do you learn to play whistle like that?". "Ah well", she said, "I teach". I enrolled on the spot.

I've bumped into Mary twice since. Once, when she came to Canberra, we hosted her for a "Grand Night of Irish Music" in the now defunct Civic pub. And in 2002, she was tutoring at Irish Week at East Durham, when I dropped in as part of my "Self-Indulgent Flute-Makers Tour". Nice to catch up.

Giants walked the land in those days. I know this, because I met so many of them....


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 04, 2019 1:00 pm 
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I got into tin whistles after going to a local Irish Pub on Sunday during a Session and loving the music. This brought me to The Chieftains, which in turn brought me to Paddy Moloney and Sean Potts. I was immediately taken in by the sound of the Uilleann Pipes, looked them up and realized they would cost thousands of dollars. Thus I looked to the Tin Whistle as my gateway into the music. It took me a few aborted attempts to really "get" the whistle...mostly because I also play guitar and at the time I thought "why am I spending time learning the whistle when I already know the guitar and should be spending my time practicing". After a few years and getting more and more obsessed with ITM, I realized that I really wanted to play a melody instrument. This lead me to pick up the whistle again and finally spend the hours practicing and learning tunes that I needed to spend. I've since gotten a Flute and over the weekend acquired a free fiddle from a cousin who hasn't played since she was about 14.

The whistle hasn't really led me anywhere...aside from giving me hours of joy (and frustration) learning to play it and an ever deepening appreciation for Irish Traditional Music. I did make one friend at a local session, but I'm not quite up to the level of joining in regularly. So I'm spending hours banging away on tunes trying to improve and eventually I'll join in the local session. That's when I expect the real learning will begin.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 06, 2019 5:48 am 
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I brought home a recorder from a school field trip in 1967 which eventually led to the bagpipes in 1974 for which I paid $350, all the cash I had. A situation made playing the pipes painful so I picked up the recorder again, which led to the whistle. I play every day. In fact, I'm fortunate in that the moment I roll out of bed most mornings at 5:30, I bang out a few tunes. Oddly, the whistle sounds better in the morning than at night, maybe because the natural stresses of the day hadn't piled on yet. Who knows; it's all good.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:02 am 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
Oddly, the whistle sounds better in the morning than at night, maybe because the natural stresses of the day hadn't piled on yet.


It might be the same reason that our voices are usually lower when we first wake up, our vocal chords relaxed from hours of resting. The more-open vocal tract would give a bigger tone.

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Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:25 pm 
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Back in the 80's someone gave me a cassette copy of Feadoga Stain and I'd never heard anything or anyone like Mary Bergin in my life. Then a couple weeks after that I got one of the last tickets to see the Chieftains at the old Rockefeller's here in Houston. Except for the Mary tape I'd never heard Irish Traditional Music and thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Paddy Moloney played the pipes, of course, but his whistling was what really sent me. I bought a Generation D. tried it, and got pretty discouraged, quit, went back, rinse, repeat over the years. I really got serious about learning around 20 years ago. I got a better whistle, bought the Geraldine Cotter book/CD and just started working through the tunes; L.E. McCullough's 121 Favorite Irish Session Tunes was also a huge help. In a previous post I shared my really big whistle moment (playing with Joanie Madden in Ireland; I also got to meet Geraldine on that trip and told her how much her tutorial helped me). But my real and enduring joy (and solace) is playing on a daily basis, learning new tunes, and just listening to the music.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 11, 2019 5:57 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
Tyler DelGregg wrote:
Oddly, the whistle sounds better in the morning than at night, maybe because the natural stresses of the day hadn't piled on yet.


It might be the same reason that our voices are usually lower when we first wake up, our vocal chords relaxed from hours of resting. The more-open vocal tract would give a bigger tone.


That's an interesting point, Richard. I wish I had made that observation back when I was piping, but there was no way back then I would have gotten away with playing the pipes at 5:30 AM anywhere on campus.
However, I had to get up a 3:30 this morning take care a few things, and on a whim, I played a few tunes on my Mellow Dog. It even sounds better at 3:30 AM than at 5:30 AM. Alas, in my old age, I am acquiring new vices.


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