Delicate operations still continue to be done by hand and, most importantly, Robert
Clarke’s traditional conical bore has been retained to give the instrument its unique
sound, called ‘chiff ’. No other Tinwhistle has the same degree of ‘chiff ’ as a Clarke.
The tone of the Clarke Tinwhistle is clear and flute-like, but it is also described as
‘crisp and responsive’ by Bill Ochs, and ‘husky and sensual’ by Mary Bergin. All these
descriptions add up to ‘chiff ’ – what Tommy Makem calls ‘The great Clarke tone’. This is
what makes a Clarke Tinwhistle unique.