The tunes in Ain’t Whistlin’ Dixie were performed on three instruments: an Oak D penny whistle (silver-colored), a Generation C penny whistle (brass-colored), and a Susan Rawcliff D ocarina (the “singing rock”). Thanks to Cricket, our Bichon Frise, for the use of her blanket.
Penny whistles, also known as tin whistles and flageolets, have long been a part of traditional music of the British Isles. While they no longer cost a penny, they are still extremely reasonable in price and their metal construction makes them nearly indestructible. They make very good travel companions; I never leave home without one.
Ocarinas are found in many different cultures. I’ve often found them in museum displays of Native American instruments. They were used in Pre-Columbian cultures, as well as by the Pod People of the film, Dark Crystal. As far as I know, ocarinas are not used in traditional Irish music; I like the sound, though, and think that it fits well. I have no idea why nearly every ocarina comes with a neck strap; other than that many ocarinas you see are more designed as jewelery than as musical instruments.
David Walker – 6/30/94 (Text revised 9/7/2003. Creative Commons License added 12/16/2003.)