You may wish to consider getting a Mezzo whistle as a Leading Tone Whistle, with seven holes. This is an option with the B-flat or A whistle, but not with the G. Please read on for the advantages of the seventh hole.
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, or a G-sharp on an A 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, with this extra hole, you can strike the low tonic note, you can also play the Irish ornament called a “roll” on that note. 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 (e.g. 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 Carbony Mezzo Whistles in low A and low G. The tune is the traditional Irish reel The Sunny Banks. You may also listen to him play a Leading Tone Whistle (in high D in this case) 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.
- Carbony Mezzo Whistle in low A
- Carbony Mezzo Whistle in low G
- Carbony Leading Tone Whistle in high D
From the Carbony website: The thin wall process of the Carbony tapered whistle design gives warm response of the lower octave. When playing with other instruments these notes are rarely heard, but not with Carbony™ composite! Our material resonance enhances lower frequencies and mutes upper register shrillness producing a volume balance in all registers.
All whistles now have our revision four fipple design. Our patented two-piece design enables machining accuracy of 0.001″. Our two-piece assembly also facilitates optimal material selection. The blade/body is machined from aluminum and anodized for hardness, creating a stiff precise blade for maximum oscillation. The tip/windway is machined from marbled ebonite, the same material used to make saxophone and clarinet mouthpieces. Safe to put in mouth and durable enough to honor our lifetime warranty. The interface of the whistle is precision ground to mate with the fipple and form a tuning slide required in all professional grade whistles.
The Carbony™ tapered design is based on the Copeland tradition and we were fortunate to have Michael Copeland play an early design and offer both encouragement and his perspective of whistle making.
Carbony™ instruments are:
• Virtually indestructible – material will not crack, break or rot
• Geometrically stable – over all temperatures and humidities
• Stays as built – no warping or drying out over time