Skip to content


tin whistle

Tended 2 years ago (2 times) Planted 3 years ago Mentioned 1 time


A couple years ago I started learning the tin whistle (a kind of “fipple flute”—I love that name). My playing really picked up in 2020 due to working from home where I could easily practice while waiting for a meeting to start or a deploy to finish. And with all the chaos the year brought, it’s been nice having an area in my life where I can make slow, steady, visible (well, audible) progress.

Irish tunes tend to be simple when it comes to learning the basic notes. The complexity and style comes from layering on “ornaments”, techniques for transitioning between notes.

Practice Routine

To hone the fundamentals, practice the two main scales on a D whistle, in both octaves, and with ornaments or transitions between the notes:


The D scale:

tabs and notes of the D scale on a D whistle

The G scale:

tabs of the G scale on a D whistle

Some Tunes I’ve Learned and Practice

  • Britches Full of Stitches
  • The Rattlin’ Bog
  • We Won’t Go Home Until the Morning
  • I’ll Tell Me Ma
  • The Parting Glass


  • I got started with the Online Academy of Irish Music‘s beginner tin whistle lessons. OAIM has in-depth courses for a variety of traditional Irish instruments for all skill levels.
  • TheSession is a vast repository of user-submitted traditional Irish music, with sheet music (but alas, not tablature) for pretty much any tune you’re looking for in multiple arrangements. Created by Jeremy Keith who I had the pleasure of meeting at An Event Apart in San Diego many years ago.
  • WhistleTutor on Youtube has playthrough tutorials focusing on traditional tunes with a focus on ornamentation technique and playing along with other instruments.
  • CutiePie on Youtube A self-taught player, Stephanie has accessible beginner content and tutorials for tunes both traditional and contemporary, including her own arrangements of some Disney songs that my kids love. (Watch me play “Let It Go” from Frozen which my daughter loves to dance to.)


  • about

    …leaves me time, I'm enjoying learning to play the [[tin whistle]]. This is [the temple of my adult aloneness](https://onbeing…