FAQ Question

How do I get started?
There are a number of good tutorials. I started with the Bill Ochs book and cassette tutorial, The Clarke Tinwhistle. If you want something free and on the internet, you can also try Brother Steve's Tinwhistle Page as a good free learning resource, Michael Eskin's Tradlessons.com is another, with close-up videos of the whistle playing.

And if you're just looking for a finger chart to get you going, I've got you covered!

Be aware that the accepted way to hold the whistle is with the right hand on the bottom three notes, and the left hand covering the top three notes. Also be aware that I hold the whistle backwards from that (right hand on top), and a number of top notch players do too, such as Mary Bergin. The only good argument I've ever heard for holding it left-on-top is "so you can play flute later if you want to". They're right. You'll have to play left-handed flutes if you play whistle with your right hand on top. So take that for what it's worth.

You should provide solid pressure on the holes to ensure good coverage, though you shouldn't make your knuckles white! The first three fingers of each hand is used, and the pinkie finger of the right hand provides balance on notes such as C sharp, where all of the holes are open. Practice regularly and you'll find yourself making the notes without any conscious effort.

Second octave notes are made by overblowing (blowing harder into the whistle). The third octave can be reached with special fife fingerings, but this shouldn't be necessary for most traditional Celtic music. Please note the fingering for high D. This can also be fingered with all holes closed, but it can be harder to get a clean sounding high D. I use both fingerings, depending on what tune I'm playing, and which fingering fits the "flow" of the notes.

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