chromatic pitch pipe

One of my most beloved possessions is a chromatic pitch pipe. It belonged to my Finnish grandfather, a luthier, a fine woodworker, and a beautiful singer.

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Its purpose is to set a pitch to tune an instrument or to sing a melody; I use it when I play my guitar (my grandfather made that guitar, another beloved thing). The design is constructed on the chromatic circle, one of those mathematical, musical patterns I appreciate very much. It is in fact a basic harmonica, descended from the 18th century pitch pipe, which could be used in place of a tuning fork.

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The other side. Isn’t it charming? I love its simplicity and clean typographic design. You can still find these new. Do you know, I’d quite forgotten, I met a piano tuner the other day and learned a couple of things – I’ll show you soon.

penny whistle

Penny whistles are fine little folk instruments, a variation on the old world wooden whistle. The tin whistle was first made in Victorian times and has a splendid story to go with it. My penny whistle was constructed very much as these whistles always were, not far from our little cottage, and it arrived complete with a sheet of Victorian singing games.

tin whistle © elisa rathje 2012

It’s a pretty little pipe, I’m quite fond of it, especially for joining in on a jig with my tall violinist.

The penny whistle is also one of the traditional instruments I like for playing the little appleturnover song I made up a long time ago. For requesting apple turnovers, naturally. If you like you can listen to it. The children helped me with the very important bit of singing.