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The Carbony pennywhistles are our favorites of the fine handmade whistles. They follow in the footsteps of the legendary, highly sought-after (and rarely available) Michael Copeland whistles, in tone, response and conical-bore shape. Due to the very thin walls of their carbon fiber bodies, Carbony whistles are as light as a feather (just over one ounce for the high D), and virtually indestructible. They come with a lifetime warranty.
The High Whistles are incredibly easy and satisfying to play – the high notes of the second octave speak very easily. Intonation is superb, and of course they are tunable, with their two-piece design. Each one comes with a fabric drawstring carrying pouch.
Note: The photos show the whistle in high D. Scroll down to view videos of Grey Larsen demonstrating the High Whistle in D, as well as the Session D and Quiet Whistle in D.
The High Whistle comes in seven pitches: choose from high G, high F, high E, high E-flat, high D (the standard pitch for Irish traditional music), high C, and B.
This High Whistle in D has a smaller bore and requires a bit less air to speak the second and higher registers when compared with the Session Whistle in D. (The Session Whistle is a more robust instrument, perfect for sessions or noisy environments.) Both whistle models maintain the warmth and resonance of the carbon fiber construction. The tapered design allows for close finger spacing for rapid passage articulation and optimal volume balance in all registers. Includes anodized aluminum serialized laser engraved fipple body with ebonite tip.
Extra Thumb-Hole Options: You may choose to add a thumb hole for the top-hand thumb and/or bottom-hand thumb. Each additional thumb hole adds $20 to the whistle’s cost. The top-hand thumb hole gives an additional and very useful way to finger the flat seventh (i.e. C-natural on a D whistle), this in addition to the customary cross-fingering for C. The bottom-hand thumb hole gives an easy and agile way to finger the flat third (i.e. F-natural on a D whistle), a much more practical method than using a half-hole fingering for this note. These thumb holes also make it possible to play the Irish “roll” ornament on C-natural and F-natural (speaking in D whistle terms). F-natural strikes and finger vibrato also become possible. Note that when you are not playing C-natural and F-natural with the thumb holes, you must keep these holes closed. The top thumb hole is located behind and about halfway between the top two finger holes, while the bottom thumb hole is located behind and just above the fifth hole (i.e. the middle finger of bottom hand).
If you want a whistle in high E, E-flat or D, you may want to consider the advantages of getting it as a Leading Tone Whistle, with seven holes. Please read on for the reasons to consider this.
The Leading Tone Whistles are seven-hole whistles that allow the player to reach down to the leading tone (i.e. low C-sharp on a D whistle) which is situated one-half step below the usual bottom tonic note of the tin whistle. This very small seventh hole is operated by the pinky of the bottom hand. The hole’s position does not interfere with the common use of the pinky as a balance finger. There is plenty of room to rest it in its normal place, simply reaching down a bit further as needed to play the low leading tone.
This extra hole can also be used to play the leading tone in the upper register, providing a second, alternative fingering for that note.
Very importantly, one can use the seventh hole to play the Irish ornament/articulation called a “strike” (also known as a “tap” or “tip”) on the low tonic note (e.g. D on a D whistle). This cannot be done on a standard six-hole whistle. And, since you can strike D, you can also play the Irish ornament called a “roll” on D. This is a great bonus when playing Irish music. These added capabilities are also valuable in other musical traditions such as Scottish and Gallician.
You may also use the seventh hole to produce finger vibrato on the second note of the scale (i.e. E on a D whistle), something which cannot be done on a six-hole whistle. And, one can simply ignore the extra hole to play in the traditional six-hole manner.
Use of the low leading tone is quite common with traditional Irish tunes, and even more so with Galician traditional music.
Listen to Grey Larsen play the Carbony Session Whistle in D and the Carbony High Whistle in D, for the sake of tonal comparison. The tune is the traditional Irish reel The Sunny Banks. You may also listen to him play a Leading Tone Whistle in D to demonstrate the use of the low and high leading tone fingerings. On that whistle he plays the traditional Irish polka The Gullane and the traditional Irish jig The Rose and the Heather.