What are musical whistles?

Musical whistles are known to date back to prehistoric times when man first realised that he could make a sound with a hollowed branch, or shells. Nearly all primitive cultures around the world went on to develop varying designs of fipple flute, thought to be the first pitched whistle musical instrument in existence. Nearly all our present day wind instruments have developed from these early flutes. Italian fipple flutes date back to the 12th Century, while fragments of bone and clay whistles discovered in Ireland and Scotland, date from around the same time. During the 17th Century, whistles were called flageolets, a word which described a whistle made with a French fipple headpiece. Many other types of whistles have since developed across Europe, including the recorder, Flabiol, Txistu, and tabor pipe. Nowadays, whistles come in all different shapes and sizes, from a small slide whistle, or nose flute, to a huge church organ with many pipes. The most famous of all whistles is, of course, the British Tin whistle or Penny whistle; associated historically with Celtic music. It can be made of wood, reed, bone, metal or even plastic and has between four and seven finger holes. A tin whistle player is called a tin whistler or simply, a whistler. Musical whistles are an ideal first Instrument for any budding musician and are relatively cheap to purchase. Children, in particular, will love them and it’s very easy to learn to play one. The famous Irish flute player Laurence Nugent can play two tin whistles at the same time! So why not try your hand and become a whistler?

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