Music Scales; the necessary foundation
Hello everyone! Welcome to another post on scales! Now let me be honest. Scales are not the most exciting thing in music... or in anything really... but they are a necessary foundation to understanding music. The good news is once you know how to play one scale (which you do! the D major scale) you will know how to play all other scales. In this case we are going to focus on the G major scale which is easy to play on the D Tin Whistle and covers the C natural note.
Even though D major is the ultimate scale to playing Irish and Celtic type music, not all music is written in D. Another popular scale is G major. G major looks like this:
To play the G major scale you start on the note G on your tin whistle. This would be fingering number four. When you get to fingering number seven - the note C - the fingering will be different.
There are three ways to finger a C natural.
"Three different ways!? Ahh why not just give me the best one?" Because dear whistler, you now have options! Don't feel overwhelmed, feel the power of choice! Although if you want the best one in my opinion read choice number three.
Choice one: The Halfling
The first way is to cover the very top hole half way (ish) with your finger. This will make the note sound between a C sharp and a B natural which is C natural. This fingering is easy to remember however you need a good ear to make sure the note is in tune. You can practice listening to how this works by covering the whole completely and slowly rolling your finger off the hole. You will hear how the note bends and slides between the two notes. Play this with a tuner and you can see the note B natural becomes sharper and sharper until it becomes C natural which then sharpens further into the note C sharp when you roll your finger completely off. Each whistle is unique so the amount of hole you cover will not be exactly half. By using your ear and a tuner you can figure out just how much you need to cover to get a beautiful C natural note.
Half holed C Sharp
Choice Two: The Cigar
Another way to finger C natural is to hold down fingers five and six like the cigar... I mean whistle... below. This method is more quickly in tune than half holing and is the easiest fingering to remember. Now, I am no expert on cigar etiquette... but i'm pretty sure this is not how one would hold a cigar... however this may be how a tin whistler holds a cigar! C'mon it reminds you a cigar too right? RIGHT!? Trust me... you will now remember this finger position haha.
Second way to finger C natural
Choice Three: The Poison Dart
If being in tune is your aim this is your best choice. The sound is more pure with this fingering and the whistle is more balanced between two hands instead of just one like the other two methods. For some reason holding the whistle in this way reminds me ... er makes me think of how one would blow a poison dart... which makes me think of Indian Jones... which immediately the theme song pops into my head ... which makes me realize my blog life and youtube channel could not possibly be complete without a video on how to play the Indiana Jones theme on the tin whistle.
Now you know three ways to finger a C natural! If speed is your aim in a song written in G Major then the first way, The Halfling, will be your best choice. It lends itself quickly and easily to a C natural. If staying in tune is your aim, perhaps in a slower song where it will be more noticeable, The Cigar or The Poison Dart will be your best choice. Armed with different options gives you a wider range of skills to work with, woohoo! And as always, practice will enable you to work with both speed and a keen ear.
Now test it out, experiment, and play around with what you have learned with the free music written in G Major. Enter your email below and you will receive both the sheet music and a link to a video of the song.
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Cheers and happy whistling! *cue Indiana Jones theme song