The Scottish Whistle
Whistle Tutorial - Lesson 6.2
A New Note: C natural
THE TIN WHISTLE is a versatile instrument in that with the D whistle you can actually play in quite a few keys, not just one. In order to be able to play in some keys, however, you have to alter a couple of the notes.
Let's look at the key of G major: there's one note different between G major and D major, namely the 4th note (fa) of the G scale, the C natural. (C natural is just plain C, and we'll recognise it because it has no sharp - # - after it.)
One way to achieve that note is by half-covering the top hole of the whistle (see diagram 1 on the right). Unfortunately, it's pretty difficult to use this method while playing fast, so you have to get into the habit of using an alternative fingering, by covering the second and third holes, but leaving the top hole open (diagram 2, and see illustration). This isn't easy to begin with, but with practice it will soon become easier. This is a big hurdle in beginning to play whistle, but it's absolutely necessary.
Let's apply this new note to some exercises:
Play each part of exercise 2 over four times. Play it until you can play it through smoothly without making any mistakes. You need to get used to forming the C natural.
Exercise 3 is similar to exercise 1 in that we're exploring virtually the full extent of the whistle from its lowest note (the D) to one of its highest (the high B). There are higher notes on the whistle, but you almost never come across them in Scottish or Irish music. Get to know your way around the whistle. Be able to play this exercise with confidence. First play by tonguing every note, then try it without tonguing.