Welcome  to Chiff & Fipple, the ultimate guide to

the instrument known as the tinwhistle, pennywhistle, Irish whistle, or just plain .whistle.   

These terms are, for our purposes, interchangeable & refer to a simple 6-hole end-blown flute popular in many lands, perhaps most famously in Ireland, England, and Scotland.

I'm Dale, the Undisputed King of Internet Whistle Journalism, and I'll be your waiter today.  Our special is mahi mahi.


click on the Google logo to search this site.

Chiff & Fipple has gotten so darn big we don't know what to do with it.  So, like any mammoth bureaucracy, we've broken up into departments.  Each is headed-up by a Department Head & a staff of interns from the various Schools of Internet Whistle Journalism.


communications department

Chiff & Fipple is the center of a large Internet community of people who are weirdly preoccupied with the instrument.  You can communicate with your fellow whistlers and get up-to-date whistle news.  I mean it.  Here’s how:

 The Chiff & Fipple Newsletter

About weekly, once a month, quarterly, this INDISPENSABLE, educational and entertaining newsletter leaves the desk of chief editor and tinwhistle-internet-publishing magnate, Dale. (Dale has a last name, but he has recently dropped it, in the Cher tradition.) He is assisted by a team of interns and the recently retired Mr. Sam Donaldson, formerly of ABC News.

Chiff & Fipple: The Forums

The Chiff & Fipple Message Boards. These forums pretty much run themselves, having long since abandoned the various forms of government in favor of a surprisingly effective and courteous anarchy.  Our users have posted a total of nearly 800,000 articles. We have had 7500 registered users.  This should frighten you a little.  But listen:  I'm not kidding.  There are forums dedicated to the whistle, and also to the flute, the Irish pipes, squeezeboxes, and traditional Irish music.  And other stuff.



the chiff & fipple whistle guides

Listings, reviews, prices, contact information.  Like Consumer Reports, only not.

inexpensive whistles

Unlike most musical instruments, inexpensive whistles are respectable choices, even favored by many.  You can get a decent instrument for under $8.00.  Try getting a decent piano for that money.  Try getting a decent candy bar for that money.


high-end whistles

Guide to those who simply must have the best. These are handcrafted, high-end instruments. You will not believe how much money you can spend on a pennywhistle. (Answer: tens of thousands of pennies).


low whistles

Low whistles are twice as long and play an octave lower. They're the big Freudian models. This is the kind of whistle seen by a zillion people in Riverdance. They're good to own because, in a pinch, you can use one to defend yourself in a pub.


Ladies and Gentlemen, taking the stage now to perform with The Chieftains, Vice President Dick Cheney.


help for beginners

featuring Binkie the Wonder Possum

Running contrary to the great Internet tradition of vicious abuse of newbies, chiff & fipple loves newbies.  The following areas on the website will be of special interest to new players. 

visit the message board 

where you will find people anxious to answer your questions.  And bring you into the horrifying world of Whistle Obsessive Acquisition Disorder (WhOA)

    faq (it's obligatory. it's here.)

whistle tutorial 

an introduction to the types of whistles, keys, costs, and other fundamentals.  I would have thought this to be the only web page on the Internet which contains both the words “whistle” and “morphology.” But I was wrong.

deciphering whistle keys

Whistles come in a variety of keys, but each key whistle can be used to play in other keys, with various degrees of difficulty. It’s confusing as hell.  But, on this page, I explain it all to you. 

fingering charts 

I used to have some fingering chart files here, but Chiff & Fipple's own Richard Gross has a website which deals with this so well that it seems redundant to do anything with this here.  So, this link will send you off to Richard's site, The Tinwhistle Fingerings Research Center.  Just remember to come back!  Richard has a way of grabbing people and not letting them go.

proper whistle posture 

With graphics assistance by Industrial Light and Magic!  Requires a Cray SuperComputer!

L.E. McCullough's "Historical Notes on the Tinwhistle"

Chiff & Fipple Dean of Tinwhistle Musicology, L.E. McCullough, explains it all to you in an excerpt from his classic book, The Complete Irish Tinwhistle Tutor.

Good flutes for the beginner?

I like Patrick Olwell's bamboo flutes as a good choice for a whistler who wants to try the flute. 

Chiff links 

Other places on the web of related interest.


department of mental health

An oxymoron if there ever was one. 

NEW! The Tao Te Chiff

The Chiff that can be named is not the enternal Chiff.

Do you suffer from WhOA (Whistle Obsessive Acquisition Disorder)?

If you don’t already, you will soon.

WhOA quiz by Casey O’Rourke (after Dr. Seuss)

Do you like them more than life?     Do you like them more than wife?

new ISSUE #4!  Kids Ask Chiff & Fipple

Kids ask Chiff & Fipple questions in order to stump & embarrass us.

Chiff & Fipple's Unsolved Mysteries

exploring the 5 great whistle mysteries.  Bonus:  Not hosted by Robert Stack


Chiff & Fipple Investigative Report on a product that musically abuses children.

Save the children from this atrocity.

Martha Stewart's chiff & fipple

So, one night I dreamed Martha Stewart bought chiff & fipple.  (Shudder)

whistle compared to recorder and Norelco Shaver 

Science on the march.  This classic  is one of the most talked-about articles among Chiff & Fipple veterans.

A chiff & fipple subscriber calls Dr. Laura

Someone please tell this woman to watch her manners..

Why You Shouldn't Whistle While Driving:  The Strange Case of Phineas Gage


 Click to subscribe to Chiff & Fipple's email newsletter--Free!

 department of dental health


Wayne, The Whistling Giant Rodent

photo by Wendy & Tim Young

 Ok, let’s make it easy.  The chiff & fipple department of dental health exists only to impart this information: 

Don’t bite or chew on your whistles.  Many players do, to the detriment of both their whistles and their teeth.

                                                    Also:    floss.

department of commerce

guide to buying whistles on the internet

I am not a whistle salesman (but I play one on TV!).  So, here is a listing of shops that sell whistles via the Internet.  Go!  Shop! Enjoy!

Please use the following link anytime you go to amazon.com, and especially when you order from them.  We get a cut, which helps finance the website.

In Association with Amazon.com

And here's a link for amazon.co.uk


If you are a PayPal user, click on this button to provide non-mandatory love to Chiff & Fipple.  If you're not a PayPal user, and you want to donate, click anyway and it will allow you to transmit said unrequired sugar.  


Chiff & Fipple T-shirts caps and sweatshirts & bags & mugs & stickers and all kinds of stuff  are now available in multiple designs.  With more on the way.  Why DON'T you have your chiff & fipple lunch box yet?




department of oral history

 the chiff & fipple interviews

 Joanie Madden, Paddy Moloney, Michael Copeland, Cathal McConnell and many, many more!

department of ms. naomi watts

circulation department


Or if you want some more information about subscribing, click below:




engineering department

For those who like to mess with the simple design which is the tinwhistle.

Journal of the Academy of Fipple and Flageolet Surgeons, Vol 1 A journal for those who can't leave well enough alone.


a note on tuning whistles How to make a non-tunable whistle semi-tunable. Warning! Explicit content!

tweaking inexpensive whistles   How to make cheap whistles sound better, or ruin them trying.

moist whistle blues and how to lose ‘em.  Whistles clog with moisture. Here is my method for fixing this problem, more or less.

The Chiff & Fipple Certificate of Authenticity, Featuring the Chiff & Fipple Bar Code of AuthenticityTM

customer service

Having trouble with your whistle?  Call Jill, Chiff & Fipple customer service intern.

or Sam

Or Joanne



Chiff & Fipple now offers 24 hour customer & technical support.  Here are the 24 hours:

Monday 11:00 a.m.-3:30 p.m., 1:00 a.m.-4:00 a.m.

7.5 hours

Tuesdays 10:00a.m.-11:00a.m., 3:00 p.m-5:00 p.m.

3 hours

Wednesday 9:00a.m.- 5:00 p.m.

8 hours

Thursday, Closed


Friday  1:00p.m.-6:30

5.5 hours

Saturday and Sunday, Closed



  24 hours

All times Standard time zone:UTC/GMT +5:30 hours

(Bombay, India time)


department of fine arts

whistle haiku

In the great Internet tradition, Hundreds and hundreds of haiku about whistles.

"Do you play by ear?"

She asked, whistle in my hand

"No. I play by mouth."

            --Richard Gross


Because the flute is a woodland instrument,
I felt incongruous in the desert quiet.
But soon my playing built a decent forest.
It held intact as long as my eyes were closed
and mine was the only sound embroidering 
the silence of the afternoon.

                                    --from After the Lost War by Andrew Hudgins

If you love poetry OR the Civil War stories you must buy this book.  I beg you to trust me on this.

people who, so far as we know, don’t play the whistle 

a rotating gallery of people who don’t play the whistle, and aren’t likely to take it up.  


Stay tuned for more people who, so far as we know, don’t play the whistle (A Quinn-Martin Production)

 Click to subscribe to Chiff & Fipple's email newsletter--Free!


department of privacy

Several people thought we ought to develop a privacy policy. This seemed unnecessary.  Chiff & Fipple has held up under torture and never given up any private information.  But we did write a policy.


department of giving up the love

Dale would like to thank A guy who was the first subscriber and indeed the inspiration but is currently mad at me because I locked down the uilleann pipe forum for a few days and so he won't let me put his name here, Rich Lafferty,  Jim Dunn,  Robert S. Doiel, Sr., David de la Barre, Joanie Madden,  Norman Dannatt, and the Clarke Tinwhistle Company, Jennifer Kano of WebWorks Design ;  Claus von Weiss & Morris Open, 2 Friends on the Inside at the Microsoft Corporation, Alan Mount, Joseph E. Smith, Tom Dowling,  Bob Pegritz, Jim Cotton, Bill & Betsy Pautler, Masami Yoshihara, Peter Laban, Chuck Jones,  Colin Goldie, Brigitte Frein Goldie, Paul Busman (a better whistling podiatrist you’ll never find), Michael Burke, L.E. McCullough, Pat O'Riordan,  Adele King, Cormac Breatnach, Julian Harper, Jessie Driscoll,  Loren Bookbinder, jim stone, Chuck Clark.  And special thanks to my lovely wife Marilyn Wisely and daughters, Sarah, Angela, and Claire for letting Dad stay a bit too long in the basement.   Thanks to all our loyal subscribers are endlessly kind and generous. 

and finally….

 Please e-mail your comments, suggestions, recipes, poems, political addresses, love letters,  interpretive dances, DNA samples, favorite cheeses, and schematics of electronic devices that will help me control myself better to:





Someone recently wrote to say that the above logo looks vaguely like the 666 antichrist image and/or something suggestive of the Trilateral Commission.  I am not, and never have been, a satanist, pagan, or a supporter of the Trilateral Commission, which I only have a vague idea of what it even is.  I am, however,  a Democrat.



Lord, help us see how near is your Kingdom.