Master the Art of Irish Flute and Tin Whistle Ornamentation with this Essential Guide
Essential Guide To Irish Flute And Tin Whistle Pdf Download
If you are interested in learning how to play the Irish flute or tin whistle, you have come to the right place. In this article, you will find everything you need to know about these two popular instruments, from their history and features to their techniques and tips. You will also discover how to choose the best flute or whistle for your needs, how to find the best resources and courses to learn from, and where to download a free PDF guide that will help you master these instruments in no time. So, let's get started!
Essential Guide To Irish Flute And Tin Whistle Pdf Download
What are Irish Flute and Tin Whistle?
The Irish flute and tin whistle are two of the most common instruments in Irish traditional music. They are both members of the woodwind family, which means they produce sound by blowing air into a tube with holes. However, they have some differences in their design, sound, and playing style. Let's take a closer look at each of them.
History and Origins
The Irish flute is a wooden flute that evolved from the European classical flute in the 19th century. It has six finger holes and a conical bore, which gives it a warm and mellow tone. It is usually made of hardwoods such as ebony, rosewood, or boxwood, but can also be made of metal or plastic. The Irish flute is often played with a wooden or metal headjoint, which can have a simple or complex embouchure (the shape of the hole where the air is blown).
The tin whistle is a metal whistle that originated from the English penny whistle in the 18th century. It has six finger holes and a cylindrical bore, which gives it a bright and crisp tone. It is usually made of brass, nickel, or aluminum, but can also be made of wood or plastic. The tin whistle has a fipple mouthpiece, which is a block of wood or plastic that guides the air into a narrow slit (the windway) that creates the sound.
Types and Features
The Irish flute and tin whistle come in different types and sizes, depending on their pitch range and tuning system. The most common types are:
D flute: This is the standard Irish flute that has a low D as its lowest note. It is about 26 inches long and has a rich and deep sound. It is tuned to the modern concert pitch of A=440 Hz.
Eb flute: This is a smaller Irish flute that has an Eb as its lowest note. It is about 23 inches long and has a brighter and sweeter sound. It is tuned to the old concert pitch of A=415 Hz.
F flute: This is another smaller Irish flute that has an F as its lowest note. It is about 21 inches long and has a similar sound to the Eb flute. It is tuned to the old concert pitch of A=430 Hz.
D whistle: This is the standard tin whistle that has a low D as its lowest note. It is about 12 inches long and has a clear and loud sound. It is tuned to the modern concert pitch of A=440 Hz.
High whistle: This is a smaller tin whistle that has a higher pitch range than the D whistle. It can have different keys, such as C, Bb, or G. It is about 9 inches long and has a sharp and piercing sound. It is tuned to the modern concert pitch of A=440 Hz.
Low whistle: This is a larger tin whistle that has a lower pitch range than the D whistle. It can have different keys, such as F, G, or A. It is about 18 inches long and has a soft and mellow sound. It is tuned to the modern concert pitch of A=440 Hz.
Similarities and Differences
The Irish flute and tin whistle have some similarities and differences in their playing style and repertoire. Here are some of them:
Both instruments use the same fingering system, which is based on covering or uncovering the holes with the fingers. The basic scale is the diatonic major scale, which can be played by covering all the holes and then lifting one finger at a time from the bottom to the top. However, there are some variations in the fingering for different notes, such as half-holing, cross-fingering, or fork-fingering.
Both instruments can play in different keys and modes, which are variations of the major scale that start and end on different notes. The most common modes in Irish music are Dorian, Mixolydian, Aeolian, and Ionian. To play in different keys and modes, the player can use different techniques, such as transposing, changing octaves, or using accidentals (notes that are not part of the scale).
Both instruments can play melodies, chords, or drones (sustained notes). However, the Irish flute has more possibilities for playing chords and drones than the tin whistle, because it can use more fingers to cover or uncover partial holes. The tin whistle can only play simple chords or drones by using the thumb or the pinky finger to cover or uncover the top or bottom hole.
Both instruments have a wide range of repertoire in Irish traditional music, including jigs, reels, hornpipes, polkas, slides, airs, and songs. However, some tunes are more suitable for one instrument than the other, depending on their key, range, rhythm, or mood. For example, the Irish flute can play lower and slower tunes than the tin whistle, while the tin whistle can play higher and faster tunes than the Irish flute.
How to Play Irish Flute and Tin Whistle?
Now that you know what are Irish flute and tin whistle, you might be wondering how to play them. Well, it's not as hard as it sounds. All you need is some practice and patience. Here are some basic techniques that will help you get started:
The first thing you need to learn is how to hold the instrument properly. For both instruments, you should hold them horizontally in front of your mouth, with your left hand on top and your right hand on the bottom. Your fingers should cover the holes lightly and completely, without leaving any gaps or pressing too hard. Your thumb should support the instrument from below, without touching any holes.
The next thing you need to learn is how to blow into the instrument correctly. For both instruments, you should use your diaphragm (the muscle below your lungs) to control your breath pressure and volume. You should blow steadily and gently into the mouthpiece, without puffing your cheeks or tensing your throat. You should also avoid blowing too hard or too soft, as this will affect your tone quality and intonation.
The last thing you need to learn is how to move your fingers smoothly and accurately on the holes. For both instruments, you should use the pads of your fingers (the fleshy part) to cover or uncover the holes. You should also lift your fingers slightly above the holes when changing notes, without lifting them too high or too low. You should avoid sliding your fingers on the holes or tapping them on the instrument.
Common Scales and Modes
As mentioned before, both instruments use the same fingering system based on covering or uncovering the holes with the fingers. The basic scale is the diatonic major scale (do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-do), which can be played by covering all the holes and then lifting one finger at a time from the bottom to the top.
Ornamentation and Expression
One of the most distinctive features of Irish traditional music is the use of ornamentation and expression to add variety and emotion to the melodies. Ornamentation is the addition of extra notes or sounds to embellish the main notes, while expression is the modification of the tone, volume, or timing of the notes to convey different feelings. There are many types of ornamentation and expression in Irish music, but here are some of the most common ones:
Cuts: These are quick grace notes played above the main note by lifting a finger momentarily. For example, to play a cut on D, you can lift your index finger briefly before playing D.
Taps: These are quick grace notes played below the main note by tapping a finger momentarily. For example, to play a tap on E, you can tap your ring finger briefly before playing E.
Rolls: These are combinations of cuts and taps that create a trill-like effect on the main note. For example, to play a roll on D, you can play D-cut-D-tap-D.
Cranes: These are similar to rolls, but only use cuts. For example, to play a cran on D, you can play D-cut-D-cut-D.
Slides: These are smooth transitions from one note to another by sliding a finger on or off a hole. For example, to play a slide from C to D, you can slide your index finger off the hole gradually while playing C.
Vibrato: This is a variation of the pitch or volume of a note by shaking or pulsing the breath. For example, to play vibrato on D, you can blow harder or softer into the instrument while playing D.
Breath accents: These are emphases of certain notes by blowing harder or softer into the instrument. For example, to play a breath accent on D, you can blow harder into the instrument when playing D.
Slurs: These are connections of two or more notes by blowing continuously into the instrument without tonguing. For examp