Penny Whistle

A penny whistle, also called tin whistle, is a simple, six holed woodwind instrument. It can be included in the same category as the recorder, flute and other woodwind instruments. In this instrument, you can select the notes by opening or closing holes using your fingers. The lowest note is generated when all the holes are kept closed. When the lowest hole is opened, the second note is produced, when the lowest two holes open, the third tone is produced and so on. The seventh tone is produced when all six holes open.

People of the northern Europe were playing this instrument in the early Middle Ages. In Ireland, bone whistles have been found, and also an intact Tusculum clay whistle from the 14th century has been found in Scotland.

The most used whistles today are made of brass. These instruments are mass produced and inexpensive. Lately, instrument builders have started producing hand-made, high quality penny whistles, which are more expensive, hundreds of pounds each. These instruments are individually manufactured by a skilled person and not made in a factory.

The tin whistle is closely associated with Celtic music. It is a very popular instrument in Irish traditional music. Whistlers such as Paddy Moloney, Sean Potts, Joanie Madden, Marry Bergin and Sean Ryan have played an important role in the history of this instrument. In jazz, Steve Buckley, a British musician is known for widely using the penny whistle in his music. It has also been used in film music, worth mentioning is its use in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy, and also in the song ‘My heart will go on’ in the movie ‘Titanic’.

At Varsity Music, here in Edinburgh, Scotland, we provide a great range of new and used penny whistles available to buy online. They are the best on the market and serviced by our trained musicians.

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