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Can a penny whistle go out of tune?

Jane of 'ull 16 Aug 12 - 02:10 PM
s&r 16 Aug 12 - 02:29 PM
SteveMansfield 16 Aug 12 - 02:31 PM
Jack Campin 16 Aug 12 - 02:35 PM
Jane of 'ull 16 Aug 12 - 02:36 PM
gnu 16 Aug 12 - 03:02 PM
GUEST,loki 16 Aug 12 - 05:37 PM
s&r 16 Aug 12 - 06:14 PM
Leadfingers 16 Aug 12 - 06:54 PM
Ole Juul 16 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM
GUEST,Stim 16 Aug 12 - 10:56 PM
Mrrzy 17 Aug 12 - 01:30 AM
Ole Juul 17 Aug 12 - 02:57 AM
GUEST 17 Aug 12 - 04:22 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 17 Aug 12 - 04:29 AM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 12 - 04:53 AM
Dead Horse 17 Aug 12 - 05:12 AM
GUEST,Peter Laban 17 Aug 12 - 05:18 AM
Jack Campin 17 Aug 12 - 08:52 AM
GUEST,highlandman at work 17 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM
GUEST,leeneia 17 Aug 12 - 10:50 AM
GUEST,Jane of 'ull 17 Aug 12 - 10:57 AM
Bernard 17 Aug 12 - 11:15 AM
Tootler 17 Aug 12 - 03:53 PM
GUEST,leeneia 18 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM
GUEST,trews 18 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM
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Subject: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 02:10 PM

Picked up my penny whistle the other night, which I've had for years (about 20 years I think!) and had a little tootle (which I haven't done for quite a few years). It sounded slightly off key, not quite right. Do they go out of tune? Or am I losing my way (or my sense of pitch!)


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: s&r
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 02:29 PM

You might have lost your lip a bit Jane. If it's one of the plastic headed ones, you can tune them )might have to loosen the glue holding the mouthpiece on)

Stu


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 02:31 PM

You might also want to give the head a good wash in some hot (not boiling) water to clear any gunk out!


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 02:35 PM

Perhaps it never was in tune and your sense of pitch has improved?


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Jane of 'ull
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 02:36 PM

Yes it's one of the plastic headed ones.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: gnu
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 03:02 PM

Jack... hahahahaa!

The maker's site may give you instructions specific to your whistle. Or, Leadfingers can tell you exactly what to do when he arrives... or some other expert. Not that others who have already posted can't give you detailed instructions. ?


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,loki
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 05:37 PM

I assume it isn't a tuneable whistle. The head can move if you keep it jangling about in a bag with its mates.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: s&r
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 06:14 PM

There have been a number of threads on this: to tune it put the plastic in hot water which will soften the glue, and remove it. Take off as much of the glue residue as you can and the result should be a tuneable head whistle - push mouthpiece further on to sharpen; pull further out to flatten. Put a smear of vaseline or cork grease on the joint.

Stu


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Leadfingers
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 06:54 PM

I find Generations tend to be morte or less stable unless the mouthpiece HAS been loosened and moved a tad !Most 'clip on' tuners will work on a whistle as long as you can maintain a steady blow !
Tune to the middle of the whistle rather than top or bottom |!


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 07:03 PM

Actually Jack's comment about your perception having changed is not out of line. We tend to apply our personal psychology to our hearing. Why not check it with a tuner?


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,Stim
Date: 16 Aug 12 - 10:56 PM

If you feel strongly, you can always save up and buy a new one. Music stores are often liberal with credit, as well.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Mrrzy
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 01:30 AM

The first thing I thought was, you get what you paid for, LOL


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Ole Juul
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 02:57 AM

The first thing I thought was, you get what you paid for, LOL

We don't know if it was paid for.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 04:22 AM

It would have been a cheap one. Think I'll invest in a new one! I like the low whistles too, but I don't want anything that sounds remotely like a recorder - too many bad school memories of kids bellowing Go And Tell Aunt Nancy over and over again!


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 04:29 AM

..that last post was me btw. I'm cookieless at the mo..


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 04:53 AM

Generations are usually out of tune and their quality control hasn't improved one bit in the last 40 years.

About the only thing that sounds like a Generation while being reliably in tune is one of Jerry Freeman's "tweaked" Generations.

Higher-end whistles sound more like recorders the more expensive they get, for the good reason that any good whistle maker realizes that 500 years of experience in the recorder making craft counts for something.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Dead Horse
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 05:12 AM

I had one that went flat after falling under a steam roller.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 05:18 AM

Generation whistles play well enough once you move the head into the right position (they come with the head glued on in a random spot)and realise they're not tuned to an equal tempered scale. The rest is pretty much up to the player.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Jack Campin
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 08:52 AM

They're not usually tuned to any scale originating from outside the Generation factory.

I usually play recorders in sessions. They give me a bit of flexibility in tuning, from somewhere near ET to somewhere near meantone, by variations in fingering and breath pressure. I can play in an exact unison with a high-end whistle (Burke, Sindt, Alba, MK or Copeland) so we sound like one instrument. With a Generation it takes a player in Cathal McConnell's league to make that possible. Usually I just drop out when a Generation player starts up because I don't want the resultant bloodcurdling dissonances in the high register attributed to me. They can just fight it out with the fiddles and smallpipes on their own.

Some keyless flutes are just as bad at 50 times the price.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,highlandman at work
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:22 AM

Another tack -- make sure there's no finger gunk making some of the holes smaller. It happens on my bagpipe chanter with disturbing frequency, considering that I really do wash my hands now and then.
-Glenn


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:50 AM

Hello, Jane. I play recorders and flutes, and I have attended many workshops conducted by professionals. Here's something the instruction books don't tell you:

***Just having your fingers on the right holes doesn't guarantee that your notes will be in tune.***

No, playing a wind instrument is an act of co-operation between the instrument and your breath. You have to listen to the notes, and sometimes you have to change something withing your body you to get them right. (I think this is a largly unconscious process controlled by "the lizard brain.") If you are playing in a group, listen to the group. All you have to ask yourself is, "Does this sound good?"

I play every month with a group of friends, and one day after a workshop, I tried something radical. I told the flute players to listen to the guitar. The guitarist got nervous and protested - "Nobody's ever listened to me before!"

I explained that our guitarist is a good player with a good instrument, and it's in tune. She's the underpinning, the framework against which the rest of us play. So the flute players repeated the song, listening to the guitar and shaping their notes to harmonize, and it made a noticeable improvement. I would estimate their playing improved 15%. That's a lot.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,Jane of 'ull
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 10:57 AM

Thanks leeneia, that's interesting. With reference to my earlier post, the recorders we were given at school were those cream plastic Hohner ones in the 1970s. Not good quality instruments I think.

Yes I think you have to grow a 'third ear' to play with other people, once you've learned to do this it makes the sound better!


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Bernard
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 11:15 AM

I usually swill the head of mine around in a pint of Guinness before playing. It doesn't improve the tone or the tuning, but it makes them taste better!!

;o)


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: Tootler
Date: 17 Aug 12 - 03:53 PM

I understand your feelings about the recorder, Jane but a plastic Yamaha descant will be more accurately in tune and have better intonation across the range than any cheap whistle - and for about the same money.

You still need to listen and adjust to keep yourself in tune with others, but I will play recorder in preference to whistle in sessions any time, though my preferred instrument for sessions these days is harmonica.

I generally play flute and recorder (mostly tenor and bass) in our band. The flute is keyless and it's definitely not ET. I usually try to ensure I'm in tune with our fiddler as he is usually spot on. Needs a bit of work with the lip to do it, but it's got a smashing tone.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 09:41 AM

ET?

We need to listen and control the tone when playing alone as well as when playing with others. In particular, on a C instrument, the D is unreliable. On an F instrument, the G is. No doubt the corresponding note on the various whistles is the same.

In a workshop I learned to add a finger, starting at the bottom, until the high D was in tune. (That's for when the D is long enough to bother about.)

At my church we have piano, violin and recorder. Our violinist says that during heating season, the piano gets sharper throughout the service. I deal with this by listening to the violin like crazy. All I ask myself is, "Are our notes the same?" Apparently it works.

Thanks for your observations, Tootler. I just bought a Yamaha plastic soprano as a gift for a friend. It played a nice scale from low C up to high G. I rejected the first one I tried because its highest notes were too furry. They were in tune, though.


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Subject: RE: Can a penny whistle go out of tune?
From: GUEST,trews
Date: 18 Aug 12 - 12:25 PM

just had the devil of a job getting the 2 parts of a tuneable whistle to separate - an engineer friend says that aluminium parts can bond together in time. the solution is to smear a little copperslip on the joint when you buy it.


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