was the European shawm of the early Renaissance that eventually
developed into the oboe heard in orchestras today. The
recorder and the Irish pennywhistle are both a type of flute
descended from an ancient instrument called a flageolet
or a fipple flute. They are distinguished from the transverse
flute, or traverso, by the way the sound is produced. On
a recorder or pennywhistle, the instrument is held vertically
and the air is blown through a narrow windway created by
a block or plug called the "fipple," in the end of the mouthpiece.
earliest record of this type of instrument is found in Italian
art music of the 15th century. Whistles can also be traced
back to 16th century France, and show up in English sources
from the 17th century. The high pitched sound of some of
the whistles and records in England are often used to mimic
birdcalls, or even to teach domesticated birds to sing.
come in all sizes and pitches: sopranino, soprano, alto,
tenor, bass and great bass. Usually they are pitched in
the keys of F or C, however there are also recorders in
D and G. In Renaissance music the different sizes of recorders
played together in chamber ensembles called consorts. Often
the recorder played with other types of instruments such
as lutes and the viola da gamba, or accompanied singers.
In the 20th century the recorder has become an instrument
used by music educators to teach music to children.
It is thought that some form of whistle became popular in
Ireland during the 18th century. Some sources claim that
the whistle was initially used as an instrument by which
flute and pipe players learned the idiom of Irish music,
however eventually it was incorporated into the performances
of Irish music and considered more as a solo instrument
rather than just a teaching one. Pennywhisles are usually
made of tin or brass, though there are also some made of
wood and now plastic. Each whistle can only play in one
or two different keys, so, like recorders, whistles are
made in several different keys and in various sizes.