Ragman's whistle

Ragman whistle - handrárska píšťalka

The ragman whistle is approx. 10 cm long whistle with two finger holes on the top side and one finger hole on the bottom side. Traditionally, it was used by wandering ragmans who collected old clothes and sold various trifles and trinkets. The whistle was a signal announcing their arrival to a village; each ragman usually had his own characteristic tune. It was played with one hand, while the other hand hold horse laces (riding on the carriage). The instrument was traditionally made from a (pork) bone, but I make them from (elder) wood. Simple ragman whistles play the first 5 notes of a diatonic scale. It is possible to make a whistle that plays full chromatic scale within the range of more than one octave, but the playing technique is rather demanding (embouchure modulation, partial covering of the bottom hole, etc.).

Sound samples: tune 1tune 2