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One of the hurdles to starting any new endeavor is getting to learn the lingo; this is no different in ITM.


So to help you starting out, we've compiled a glossary. Let us know what you think! Also, if there's something you're looking for that's not here, let us know and we'll add it.


bell note the note that is played with all the toneholes covered. For example, if you cover all six toneholes on a D whistle, you will be playing a D.

C whistle a whistle that plays the key of C major scale. The bell note is C, one tone higher than the D whistle. Many performers like to play solo music in the key; it is difficult to play with others however, as the standard key for performance is D, and since in D the C and F are sharp, on a C whistle (which has no sharps or flats) you would have to cross-finger or half-hole these notes.

chiff as opposed to pure, or sweet, a whistle is chiffy if it has several other tones present besides the main one; also described as complex. Many consider Generation whistles the traditional sound that typifies ITM music; modern Irish whistle design in many ways seeks to keep this traditional sound while eliminating some of the historical problems with playing Generation whistles.

D whistle a whistle that plays the key of D major scale. The bell note is D. This is the key in which most ITM music is written; it is also the key in which most modern concert music is played; the C and F are sharp.

ITM Irish Traditional Music. One of the genres of music that can be played on an irish whistle, along with other kinds of folk or popular music.

low whistle any whistle that has a bell note lower than Bb. So starting with the key of A, and continuing through G, F, Eb, D and lower. The modern low whistle was invented by Bernard Overton, and since then many other makers have gone on to produce wonderful low whistles (Burke, Mk, Susato, Reviol, and many others).

pure as opposed to complex, a pure sounding whistle does not have over or undertones and is very clear sounding, often described as "sweet"in tone. These whistles are especially nice for session play, as it makes them easily to rise above the din of other instruments. But some prefer a more traditional, or chiffy sound, especially for solo play.

reedy another way of describing the complex sound of a whistle, as opposed to "pure" or "sweet." As described on C&F, a "reedy" sounding whistle is the SZBE.



brass and aluminum irish tin whistles

Irish Flutes & Fifes

aluminum brass low whistle

Low Whistles

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Wood Whistles

composite & pvc irish tin whistles

Brass & Aluminum Whistles

irish flute

Composite & PVC

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