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 Post subject: Whistle Key E
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 11:41 am 
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Joined: Thu Apr 07, 2005 9:55 pm
Posts: 201
Location: Pueblo, Colorado USA
Are whistles or 6 hole bamboo flutes very popular in this key and if so what other key in music can these be played in other than E if an occasion arises?


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 Post subject: Re: Whistle Key E
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 2:59 pm 
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Joined: Thu Sep 10, 2015 2:59 am
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Location: Coventry, England
scottie wrote:
Are whistles or 6 hole bamboo flutes very popular in this key and if so what other key in music can these be played in other than E if an occasion arises?


The question is a relative one. I can only answer it in terms of playing British and Irish traditional music. For that the answer is no, E isn't a popular key for a tin whistle.

The fact that an E whistle plays easily in A (in the same way as a D whistle easily plays in G) may be attractive to some. But, really, the tunes that we tend to play in A fit well upon the D whistle because of where they are pitched.

If you play in a band, then having whistles in "odd" keys may be useful. You might be able to accompany a singer or, say, play a tune or a break in an unusual minor key.

If you are playing alone, then I suppose you might be someone who likes the higher pitch of an E whistle, but you'd find it of limited (if any) use in traditional music playing circles (eg. sessions).

There are very few manufacturers of E whistles. I seem to remember that Dixon produced one in their "Trad" range, but I can't find it on their website at the moment. Though they have only just restarted manufacture over the Covid crisis.

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 Post subject: Re: Whistle Key E
PostPosted: Sun Aug 30, 2020 6:18 pm 
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Joined: Mon Jul 10, 2006 7:25 am
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Location: WV to the OC
To me, having a Low E whistle is very handy indeed.

Because there are a number of tunes that fiddlers prefer playing in A, that whistleplayers, fluteplayers, and uilleann pipers prefer playing in G.

When a fiddler starts into playing endless tunes in A Major I grab my E whistle and I'm good.

There are various reasons that A Major is more facile on an E whistle, for me the main one is to be able to easily and fully ornament the note C#.

And you have G# right there under your fingers.

The Poster Child for this is The Mason's Apron which is so very easy to play on an E whistle.

Then, too, I sometimes play with a box player who does like to play certain tunes in E Major.

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


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