Praise Whistlers Abroad

Whistle on "The River"
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Author:  springrobin [ Fri Apr 11, 2008 8:05 am ]
Post subject:  Whistle on "The River"

So, our church music director (my brother-in-law) asked my daughter to play the flute part on "The River" by Brian Doerksen. When they played the recording I realized it's really a whistle. Heather plays Boehm flute and that will have to do for now but a whistle or even a wooden flute would be nicer. I imagine the whistle in the recording is an F but does anyone know which one? Also, does anyone make an F in wood? Right now, I have a Copeland high D and a Tullberg C but I want something more in the tenor/alto voice range and wood would be nice Abells only go down to G.


Author:  Judy K [ Sat Apr 12, 2008 12:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

Hi Robin -- :wave: Welcome to PWA!

A wooden Low F? Phil Bleazey doesn't list one so he's out. Have you asked Mack Hoover if he's ever tried one?

Author:  fancypiper [in Heaven] [ Sat Apr 12, 2008 3:30 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

Mack certainly makes a low F. I have one, a Whitecap aluminum.

BTW, a C whistle plays in F, just use the G fingering.

Author:  jimwasson [ Sat Apr 12, 2008 2:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"


A search on C&F turned up ... r++whistle
- doesn't seem like there are any readily available wooden low F whistles. Seems that Grinter has made them, but does not do so regularly, and they have both long wait and high cost. A search for 'Grinter whistle F' may turn up some possibilities.

Reyburn may still make F whistles with wooden heads and metal bodies. Irish Flute Store currently lists one of these, and at the same price which Mr. Reyburn asks.

No clue as to which whistle make was played on the recording, but one might possibly find that out with a little research. There are some metal whistles which are quite readily available, while still having good intonation, depending on the sort of sound you are looking for. I'd imagine that this is not something which you need 3 months (or more) from now.

And, welcome!

Author:  khl [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 12:27 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

Burke makes composite whistles, and they're rather woody in sound (to my ears anyway) and they are in tune. I'll bet a Burke F Composite would be really nice.

Author:  Lyn D [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 6:12 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

Hi springrobin,

Welcome to PWA!

Mack, here, makes wonderful whistles , in wood, brass, aluminum, and pvc. You can check out his site here: Here is a review/description from a happy customer:

I received the whistle this afternoon and have played it for about 30 minutes. I am certain it will have a permanent place in my regular whistle category. Nice back-pressure, smooth octave change, just the right amount of chiff for me, nicely made, great clean sound. And, I just tried the Whitecap on one of my Generations and, well, WHAT A DIFFERENCE!...I'm going to check your website further and start planning for my next Hoover... Ron Jarvis

Tommy, here, makes beautiful sounding and looking whistles, in cpvc and wood.
A happy buyer in New Jersey wrote:

Just wanted you to know that I am in love with the Black Cherry D whistle that I bought from you. To be perfectly honest I think it ranks alongside my Abell black wood D. It has such a pure sweet sound and seems to play effortlessly. You are an excellent craftsman, indeed."

I have a C/D whistle set in cpvc from Tommy and a Tipple flute in pvc and I LOVE them. They have a beautiful flute sound. But the Tipple flute comes just in D. You can contact Tommy here.
There are a few others here that make whistles, but I don't know if they sell them.

Here is a list of other whistle makers and more: ... links.html

Mack and Tommy: Hope you don't mind that I posted these reviews from your web site and eBay listing.

Happy hunting!

Author:  springrobin [ Tue Apr 15, 2008 8:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"


Thanks for the info. I do know that you can get F on a C whistle but we needed to go lower than that to blend with the voices. No problem really, the flute was beautiful- but whistle or even a bamboo flute would have really been cool. I found another recording done by a church and they used synthesizer. While I personally prefer a human-powered instrument in that "voice" range, groups without such a resource probably wouldn't have missed it.

The only downside to the song being played last Sunday is that "special" music like that might not be repeated, especially if it is moving enough for folks to remember it was done before. There might be other pieces coming that could use a flute or whistle, though so I should probably start collecting now. With a low F, I'd also get B-flat, right? Low D is about as low as most can stretch, right? What other low keys do y'all use a lot? I'm trying to think from the standpoint of someone who arranges in common guitar keys.

Author:  KittyR [ Tue Apr 15, 2008 9:47 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

springrobin wrote:
What other low keys do y'all use a lot? I'm trying to think from the standpoint of someone who arranges in common guitar keys.

Why, ALL of them, of course! :lol:

Seriously, the Irish Traditional fans will have a different opinion, but I think I can speak for the worship band crowd. You need C, D, E, F, G, A and Bb.

Oh, I guess that's still all of them. :mrgreen:

I have low G and A, and a Bb, C, D and E in various models. The E doesn't get a lot of play in a group setting -- I guess not many guitarists like to play worship songs in E, although I do.

So I would say a "starter kit" for playing with a praise team would be C, D and G. And an alternate fingering on the D will get you a G, so you don't even really have to have a G.

There will, of course, always be songs that are the exception to this advice. Plus, it depends on who's picking and arranging the music. I tend to put songs in Bb or C because of my vocal range. And we haven't even talked about the minor keys yet.

Yeah, you just need at least one of each. 8)


Author:  Adrian [ Sun Apr 27, 2008 11:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

I think a lot depends on your church. Some worship groups play in just a few keys, for which you will only need a handful of whistles. Other churches, like mine, play tunes in every key known to man, for which I need to have at least one whistle in every key in the whistle bag. Guitarists armed with capos. ](*,) [-o<

Author:  rosehebrew [ Tue Mar 29, 2011 9:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Whistle on "The River"

The River is one of my favorite songs and I get all joyful and stuff when it comes around in the rotation. I usually play it on a high C whistle (in F) in mostly improv. Our congregation really loves that song too.

I do find that our group plays in B and E a lot. We play a lot of current contemporary so they just seem to show up a lot. Right now I am playing a Susato B whistle but plan on changing that in the future to maybe an Ethnic Wind B. I guess I could play the B on my low A so I have decided to work on that and see how it turns out. I like to to use as far as low whistle the F and above because I just find that I struggle a lot with that low D but I guess I am getting a little better on it. My favorite though is probably the low G and A, they are both super useful and now that I am working on playing in the fifth on those it will open up my key possibilities a little more.

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