The tin whistle, also called the penny whistle, English Flageolet, Scottish penny whistle, Tin Flageolet, Irish whistle and Clarke London Flageolet is a simple six-holed woodwind instrument. It is an end blown fipple flute, putting it in the same category as the recorder, American Indian flute, and other woodwind instruments. A tin whistle player is called a tin whistler or whistler. The tin whistle is closely associated with Celtic music. Regarding learning the tin whistle there are 8 basic grade, that of which many pupils in schools learn(within Ireland,England,Scotland&Wales), there are also college standard grades available - grade 8-10 in many music schools around Britain and Ireland (Waltons.Co have been the leading trainers of whistle players in Co.Dublin, giving students the chance to reach a college grade of preformance and understanding).
Almost all primitive cultures had a type of fipple flute and is most likely the first pitched flute-type instrument in existence. A possible Neanderthal fipple flute from Slovenia dates from 81,000-53,000 B.C., a German flute from 35,000 years ago, and flute made from sheep's bone in West Yorkshire dating to the Iron Age. Written sources that describe a fipple-type flute include the Roman and Greek aulos and tibia. In the early Middle Ages peoples of northern Europe were playing the instrument as seen in 3rd-century British bone flutes, and Irish Brehon Law describes flute like instrument. By the 12th century Italian flutes came in a variety of sizes, and fragments of 12th-century Norman bone whistles have been found in Ireland, and an intact 14 cm Tusculum clay whistle from the 14th century in Scotland. In the 17th century whistles were called flageolets; a term to describe a whistle with a French made fipple headpiece (common to the modern penny whistle) and such instruments are linked to the development of the English flageolet, French flageolet and recorders of the renaissance and baroque period. The term flageolet is still preferred by some modern tin whistle makers who feel this better describes the instrument, as this characterises a wide variety of fipple flutes, including penny whistles.