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Go Back   Bob Dunsire Bagpipe Forums > Other (not GH) Bagpipes > Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes +
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Uilleann, Northumbrian, Smallpipes + For all types of (non GH) Bagpiping discussions.

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Old 05-15-2019, 03:17 PM   #1
Lochie
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Default Smallpipes & Whistle

The recent chat about added keys to smallpipes got me thinking about the opportunities such instruments provide for an expanded range of tunes.
It also got me thinking that maybe a whistle would serve as the poor man's entry to sharing this range.
So the question I pose is, if your buddy sparks up his smallpipes in A, adorned with a C Nat hole and a high B key, what key of whistle would you reach for to join in?
Thinking just straight Irish whistle at this point, complete with the required change in finger technique....
I'm picturing the smallpipes on A, a fiddle, a bodhran, and some sort of whistle....
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Old 05-15-2019, 04:33 PM   #2
Steve Bliven
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

An A whistle would be my first choice. Although you'd be missing that low leading note that's generally an easy work-around. Or you could play in the second register if you really needed that leading note.



Best wishes.


Steve
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Old 05-15-2019, 07:53 PM   #3
Ian Lawther
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

D whistle playing the octave A to a so you can get G naturals, as well as having you C natural and high b available.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:19 PM   #4
Kevin
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ian Lawther View Post
D whistle playing the octave A to a so you can get G naturals, as well as having you C natural and high b available.
This has the benefit of having an easier finger spread and takes less air than a (low) A whistle too.

Best regards,
Kevin
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:23 PM   #5
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

D whistle is definitely what you want. You've got A to A scale capability with useful notes below the regular scale (D,E,F#,G).
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Old 05-16-2019, 01:51 AM   #6
CalumII
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

Yes, I agree that the first thing any piper interested in traditional music should do is acquire a working knowledge of a D whistle. It opens up a lot of repertoire and extends your musical knowledge. And you might even learn something about technique from it.
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Old 05-16-2019, 05:22 AM   #7
Lochie
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

Thanks very much guys, a D whistle it shall be.
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Old 05-16-2019, 07:55 AM   #8
bob864
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

You might want to get one of Jerry Freeman's "Mellow Dog" D/C sets. It's one head with two bodies for $50. He sells them through his freemanwhistles shop on ebay. What he does is buy mass produced whistles and then he tweaks them to make the play better.

The C whistle won't help you playing with smallpipes in A, but it opens up more keys for playing with other instruments. He sells the C body with the "Mellow Dog" head as a Blackbird. It's got a pretty gentle sound for a whistle.
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Old 05-16-2019, 08:54 AM   #9
TwitchyFingers
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

Since it's likely to go in that direction, and may be helpful to the original poster, what entry level whistles are people liking these days?
I wish I could still get Soodlum whistles from about 30 years ago. Best $4 I ever spent and still my main whistle.
Anyone else notice a change in Kildare Susato D over the past few years? I tried one a decade ago and loved it. I got one last year, and I'm afraid I can't recommend it anymore. Also can't stand their Oriole.
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Old 05-16-2019, 09:12 AM   #10
Patrick McLaurin
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Default Re: Smallpipes & Whistle

I did what Bob suggested above a couple years ago. I can’t comment if they’re better than what Freeman started with but I enjoy them and the D played well for the month I used it earlier this year before graduating to an uilleann pipe.
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