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range of d penny whistle/note problems

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GUEST,Adam 19 Jul 04 - 03:00 PM
Vixen 19 Jul 04 - 03:06 PM
GUEST,Adam 19 Jul 04 - 03:06 PM
MudGuard 19 Jul 04 - 03:20 PM
Sorcha 19 Jul 04 - 03:50 PM
Leadfingers 19 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM
Blackcatter 19 Jul 04 - 06:08 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jul 04 - 06:59 PM
The Fooles Troupe 19 Jul 04 - 07:07 PM
Peter K (Fionn) 19 Jul 04 - 08:10 PM
georgeward 20 Jul 04 - 02:19 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jul 04 - 02:30 AM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jul 04 - 03:16 AM
Geoff the Duck 20 Jul 04 - 05:52 AM
VIN 20 Jul 04 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,leeneia 20 Jul 04 - 10:03 AM
Blackcatter 20 Jul 04 - 10:04 AM
Leadfingers 20 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM
jimmyt 20 Jul 04 - 07:44 PM
Leadfingers 20 Jul 04 - 08:16 PM
GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty 20 Jul 04 - 11:17 PM
The Fooles Troupe 20 Jul 04 - 11:26 PM
GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty 20 Jul 04 - 11:34 PM
Bob Bolton 20 Jul 04 - 11:50 PM
VIN 21 Jul 04 - 04:29 AM
The Fooles Troupe 21 Jul 04 - 08:17 AM
Vixen 30 Sep 04 - 08:11 AM
The Fooles Troupe 30 Sep 04 - 10:01 AM
Vixen 30 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM
The Fooles Troupe 30 Sep 04 - 11:16 PM
Bassic 01 Oct 04 - 03:57 AM
The Fooles Troupe 01 Oct 04 - 09:08 AM
GUEST,Alex 19 Jun 14 - 10:17 AM
GUEST,Alex (same Alex as last post) 19 Jun 14 - 10:30 AM
GUEST,Alex (same Alex as last post again) 22 Jun 14 - 04:47 PM
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Subject: RE: Pennywhistle Problems
From: GUEST,Adam
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:00 PM

I just got a (waltons) penny whistle (in D), and I can get the notes from D-B to sound what i think is right but on Cand C# (on the staff) they both sound very airy and not right. Also what is the full range of a D penny whistle the fingering chart goes from D to high B. I have some sheet music that goes up to high C , the book is for D penny whistles I'm asuming that the book is for normal D whistles since it goes down to the D just below the staff....also on the the chart that came with the whistle it says," Notes on the tin whistle" is a penny whistle and tin whistle the same thing ?
Thanks Adam


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Subject: RE: Pennywhistle Problems
From: Vixen
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:06 PM

WOW--

Talk about coincidence. I'm having the same problem Philibuster describes only it's with all my whistles on the 6th note of the upper register. (and sometimes the 5th) They're not right--either I attack them wrong, or they "fall off pitch" after being correct. This is happening on all my D whistles, my low D Susato, and both of my C whistles. Since I've only got Left Index playing a note, I don't think it's a leak...

Any ideas are gratefully appreciated.

V


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Subject: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Adam
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:06 PM

I just got a (waltons) penny whistle (in D), and I can get the notes from D-B to sound what i think is right but on Cand C# (on the staff) they both sound very airy and not right. Also what is the full range of a D penny whistle the fingering chart goes from D to high B. I have some sheet music that goes up to high C , the book is for D penny whistles I'm asuming that the book is for normal D whistles since it goes down to the D just below the staff....also on the the chart that came with the whistle it says," Notes on the tin whistle" is a penny whistle and tin whistle the same thing ?
Thanks Adam


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: MudGuard
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:20 PM

tin whistle and penny whistles are two names for one instrument.

If the notes are for a D whistle, it does not matter whether it is for a high or low D whistle - with a high D whistle the music will be just higher (by whole octaves) than when you play it on a low whistle.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Sorcha
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 03:50 PM

And, on cheap ones, the pitches are not always true.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Leadfingers
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:00 PM

A Tin Whistle or Penny Whistle (or to be REALLY pedantic the flageolet) will have a range of Two Full Octaves plus one note IF the
mouthpiece is working at all . The inexpensive ones can often have intonation problems AND problems getting a 'decent' note in some places . If the shop wont let you try it before you buy it , then you dont buy it !


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Blackcatter
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:08 PM

I second that Leadfingers, Cheaper whistles can have problems with some of the fingering holes so that just some of the note might be bad.

I'd suggest returning the instruments if you have trouble with getting clear notes. Anyone who has messed around with a whistle at all should have no problem getting a full 2 octaves + one.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 06:59 PM

On some whistles, I can get 3, sometimes 4 notes in the third octave. This involves using special fingering, which is usually slightly different for each whistle. This also involves carefully controlling the overblowing. On some instruments, I get better control by keeping the top three holes closed, and using the overblow 'tabor pipe' technique. It must be remembered that some of the produced notes, if you look at the musical theory, are not 'on pitch' for the tempered scale, but can be 'blown in' to be close enough. Also, one is using the 'harmonic series' of the overblows, (cornet players know what I mean) so some tones are microtonally 'off key' and one must skip some of them intentionally.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 07:07 PM

The original poster mentioned the C & C# notes not being 'on pitch' with the supplied recommended fingerings. On some instruments I have, the 'standard fingerings' have to be varied somewhat by changing which fingerholes are open or closed for these notes. However, when playing very fast, some of these instruments produce notes which, while 'off' are not noticed to be objectionable.

Also if one if not playing 'Classical Symphonic Orchestral Ensemble' style music, but 'Folk Music', some of the notes being slightly 'off' is accepted as part of the 'character' of the music.

Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 19 Jul 04 - 08:10 PM

Good advice from Foolestroupe about C/C#. The gap between these two notes is frequently narrowert than perfection demands, but don't dwell on it and it won't be a problem. It might occasionally be exposed in a chromatic run where you are required to play the two notes in sequence, such as might be encountered in some Northumbrian pipes tunes. In that case find ways to flatten the C natural a little, for instance by underblowing or covering all the holes except the top one and the one next to bottom - or both. Or go the Mary Bergin route, and get C natural by part-covering the top hole with all the others uncovered.

Ensuring accurate pitch across two octaves and into the third is a tall order, usually achieved only on high-end whistles. It invariably requires the inner bore to be perturbed by someone who knows what he's doing.

Just a thought on range, Leadfingers. You've forgottent he C# below the stave. The first person I saw and heard getting this note in fast play was the one-time all-Ireland champion Willis Patten. His disciples live on, and it's now second-nature for many a youngster in Northern Ireland. It's achieved by part-covering the end-hole with right-hand little finger. Obviously this note is not playable on low Ds, except possibly by MudGuard!


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: georgeward
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 02:19 AM

Gawd! A new note. And it works. Peter, you've made my day.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 02:30 AM

"invariably requires the inner bore to be perturbed by someone who knows what he's doing"

As a whistle player for some years, I'm often perturbed (even the audoience is at times, if not bored!), but the instrument is apparently not affected... :-)

Isn't music really all about perturbing one's inner bore?

I have a Overton 'Low Whistle' which is a fippled pipe with no fingerholes. It is played by overblowing and cupping the hand around the end hole. A mongrel to play... :-()

Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 03:16 AM

BTW, forgot to mention - it is a "Low G" note when sounded naturally with the bore unrestricted. It is 'coaxed' down (by impedance loading) to 'Low D' - it can be microtonal, or even glissando (slide). It gets a bit more tricky with the overblowing octaves - if you can play a Tabor pipe, you can handle the fact that you only get half a scale on each particular overblow pressure. On a normal whistle, and this is no exception, each successively higher note also does require a slightly stronger breath pressure to voice correctly.

You definitely need a well controlled diaphragm and a good set of ears to play it.

Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Geoff the Duck
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 05:52 AM

Leadfingers - if we want to be REALLY PEDANTIC a flageolet is NOT a tin whistle. It is an earlier form of whistle and different variants of it had different arrangement and number of holes. The arrangement which is often quoted has TWO Thumb-holes and four holes for fingers (http://www.webster-dictionary.org/definition/flageolet).
And here are some pictures - BLICKY (although I think they are on an auction website, so will probably not be there long).
As for producing specific notes, certain brands of whistle never seem to play true. The ones which do often work on the power of thought. This is particularly true of the three hole tabor pipe, where producing the top notes depends more on thinking what you want the note to sound like more than what fingering you actually cover.
Quack!
Geoff the Duck.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: VIN
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 07:41 AM

Sorry to sound an ignorant git but for one who just plays by ear this all sounds very technical. I'm sure it's all very simple really (a bit like maths, which used to frighten me to death at school) I have tried learning the stave/notes/scale thingy but got a bit tangled when actually applying it the instrument. I must be missing out on a lot.

P.S One of the best whistlers i ever saw/heard was Packy Byrne on stage with the Spinners yonks ago. Now i'm showing me age. Then there's Terry Walsh and Vin Garbutt.......one day.

Happy whistling folks!


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 10:03 AM

I have never succeeded in getting a whistle to play high notes sweetly, and I'm a pretty experienced woodwind player. I suspect that when you hear a beautiful song on a whistle, then the musician is playing that contradiction in terms, "the $150 penny whistle."

But perhaps you will have better luck, so try these things:

1. blow into the whistle at an angle when you get to the high notes.

2. using the right fingering does not guarantee that you will get the note you want. Sometimes you need to blow hard or softer, or to shape the note in your mouth and throat in order to get it.

I play recorders in groups, and when we get to a long note, we've been taught to listen to the group and to adjust our note so as to get a beautiful chord. It is amazing the way a person can do this without really verbalizing what is done. I believe it has to do with the way that hearing is located in "the lizard brain," part of the brain which is not good at talking. Anyway, it works.

3. I had one whistle which was so useless that I took the mouthpiece off (run warm water on it) and looked inside. The fingerholes were surrounded by metal splinters left in place when they drilled the holes. Such workmanship! (Take a magic marker and draw a line to mark where the mouthpiece was before removing it.)

4. When you play with others, the tin whistle is playing higher than the other instruments. If you are playing fast enough, listeners won't get the chance to notice that certain notes are not in tune. They will just know that there is a happy, interesting sound going on.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Blackcatter
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 10:04 AM

VIN,

A lot of it can be used by those of us who don't read music. I read in only at the minimal level, but hearing discussions like these and messing around with the whistle helps me learn. Finding out how to make a note lower than the "lowest" is wonderful. There are a few songs I play where I typically "ignore" a lower not, since I play the whistle in a way to avoid going back and forth between the lower and upper octavs through the whole song. Now I might be able to do that and still play the song correctly.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:47 AM

I didnt bother mentioning the half note flatted below the bottom by half covering the end of the whistle as I can only do this on High Eflat and smaller whistles as my little finger is just NOT long enough > I cant do it on a D so I dont suggest any one else should what I cant demonstrate


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: jimmyt
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 07:44 PM

Let me first say that this is one of the best and most instructive threads I have read in a long time. I want to mention, though, that it is remotely possible that Adam is playing the upper octave on the whiastle and has ont been able to articulate the lower octave, and is confused about the range. If this is not so, Adam, I apologise, but I just thought it warranted mentioning. I will be thrilled to try the half hole over the end of the whistle!!! Good one! jimmyt by the way, I am going to write a book called "Everything I know about whistles I learned from Leadfingers!"


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Leadfingers
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 08:16 PM

Thank you Jim - Its a point I hadnt considered , Adam , IF you are blowing too hard to start with you WONT get two octaves . Blow as soft as you can and see what happens . Otherwise , it might well be a duff whistle .


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:17 PM


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:26 PM

When trying to start off playing the whistle (or any fipple instrument!), one point to note is that many people DO blow too hard. Which is why school kid recorder bands sound that way - they are slightly over-blowing - blowing harder on a fipple instrument does NOT make it louder, only sharper in pitch! :-)

A tip for trying is NOT to try to get the Lowest note: put only the top three fingers on, leaving the bottom three holes open. This note is actually the easiest to blow on the whistle. When you have got this note sounding OK, gradually work down, one finger at a time, blowing more gently until you reach the bottom note.

The key to whistle (and recorder) playing is NOT fingering, but breath control.

If you want to REALLY accelerate your breath control, do the following set of exercises:

1) Jump up and down from EACH NOTE to its octave!
2) When this is comfortable (and under control!), gradually increase the exercises to jump up and down from EACH low octave note to EACH (in all variations) note in the upper octave!

Nasty at first, but if you can't handle this technique, you have not yet begun to master the instrument! This set of exercises, while also jumping around the fingering, is impossible to handle without good breath control.

Works on all instruments actually, even strings... (but there you are not working on breath control, except to not swear...)

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Ingrid the Crafty
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:34 PM

This is a fascinating thread. I have played pennywhistle, or tinwhistle, for about 25 yrs. While whistles come in several keys, if you half cover some holes, or "half-hole" them you can play in virtually any key on any whistle. Try running scales of half and whole covered holes, or sliding fingers off the holes and back, and you will hear what I mean.
    While I do read music, I learned pennywhistle entirely by ear. Perhaps that is why I find it easy to follow many different styles of music on the whistle.
    Getting the high notes and the octave transitions to sound right is more a matter of breath and finger control than anything else. I usually manage to make reasonable music on anything with six holes and a fipple. (recorders drive me nuts!)
    Someone mentioned having trouble with the octave transitions. All I can say is "Keep practicing!" I still have trouble with some pieces in that area. Some day I want to play "The Black Nag" fast enough for the dancers!

Ingrid


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 20 Jul 04 - 11:50 PM

G'day Foolestroupe,

It's interesting to read of your "natural" whistle, sans any fingering. I actually made a quite similar whistle when I first played around with making my own whistles during the time, in 1965, when I was drilling for tin in Northern Tasmania and living with a family on an old farm which had an unused smithy.

I had used the old hand-cranked drill press to drill holes in scrap copper pipe and used the anvil to shape whistle mouthpieces around mandrels I ground to shape on an equally hand-cranked grinding wheel. After making C, high f and high g whistles (and a straight-bored descant recorder) I tackled some larger pipe to make a Low G whistle. I only got as far as fitting the hardwood fipple and tuning the length of the whistle when I found that the simple whistle kept playing a reasonably full harmonic series.

At that point I panicked and wrote off to anyone who knew anything about about whistles (not many ... or much!) to see if this overblowing and harmonic playing was ever used - but nobody had heard of it. The poor old whistle is probably still mouldering away behind the smithy! (I probably hadn't really made the whistle's mouthpiece all that smooth and even at this stage, so it may have been "richer" in overtones than a smoothly crafted low whistle, and thus more responsive to this type of modulation.)

Since then I have heard of whistle traditions which do use an unfingered pipe (somewhere in Sweden ... ?, in one instance) ... either just by blowing pressure, or by introducing a finger in the bore in much the way of a natural horn. I have also seen reference to Overton's unfingered whistle ... without it really impinging on the old memories lurking deep in my memory. I guess I'll have to knock up a few low G whistles without any holes and listen more carefully to what the instrument wants to do!

BTW: I have not heard of any attempts to introduce pertubations into metal-bodied whistles - it would be far simpler in wooden ones. I have seen websites that regard Terry McGee, in Canberra, as somewhat of a guru on such pertubations in wooden flutes and fifes ... although Terry seems to credit a friend and mentor whose principal area is bagpipes.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: VIN
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 04:29 AM

Cheers blackcatter, i shall persevere with my tutor book and cd. As has been said, Tis a good thread.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 21 Jul 04 - 08:17 AM

BB,

The Chiff & Fipple Site had some articles or links on modern metal whistle makers perturbing whistles - even remember seeing some very basic articles somewhere on the web a while ago about some basic tips, including polishing some areas of the bore. The Forum there had some stuff on that too a while ago, I seem to remember. If anybody locates the stuff, please post a link here, as I have lost all my old stuff.

[I probably hadn't really made the whistle's mouthpiece all that smooth and even at this stage, so it may have been "richer" in overtones than a smoothly crafted low whistle, and thus more responsive to this type of modulation]

Interesting point that I had not directly thought about...


Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Vixen
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 08:11 AM

I knew this was out here somewhere--Thank Heavens (and Max!) for the search function.

Ok--here's the situation. I've done Robin's exercises--the octave jumps. I've done what Leeneia suggested about "shaping the note" in my mouth. I now can comfortably and reliably hit the high sol and la on my pennywhistles and both soprano and alto recorder. According to my tuner, they're a few cents within being on pitch (they waver a bit, but not much). Now, here's the new problem--to me and to others, they sound harsh and shrill. If it was just me, I'd write it off to the upper frequency distortion in my hearing aids, but my estimable Reynaud says the notes really do sound shrill and harsh.

I'm about to hop over to chiffnfipple and see what ideas may be over there, but I thought I'd post here first.

Any thoughts?

V


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 10:01 AM

If you overblow, you push the notes up in pitch and they seem shrill. This is why schoolkid's recorders always sound terrible - a more advanced player usually get get a better tone out of the same instrument. Part of this is due to the fact that if you start the tone off shrill, it will tend to stay there - it's to do with the balance of the overtones. Gently pushing from the diaphragm seems to give better tones that puffs from the cheeks - but it involves more breath control skills.

If you have any leakage due to fingers not sealing, this will not help.

The shape and positioning of the fipple may affect the purity of the tone at some parts of its range, also 'perturbations' in the bore have some effect on this.

Tapered instruments have a different % balance of overtones from cylindrical instruments.

You may find that some instruments will always be harsh and shrill, especially in the very top notes.

It is possible (perhaps it involves shaping the mouth and throat!) to THINK mouth blown instruments pitch and timbre to shape! Don't ask us! If we really knew exactly how it works, we''d be out there making a fortune teaching the secrets!



Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Vixen
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 11:04 AM

Robin--

"It is possible (perhaps it involves shaping the mouth and throat!) to THINK mouth blown instruments pitch and timbre to shape!"

In all seriousness, I see shrill notes as pointed and brittle like snowflakes, but when I can get the picture of "raindrop" to stay in my head, the tone improves a bit. That, however, seemed altogether too hokey to articulate. It's what I do, but I can't call it "technique," and (like so many other things!) I can't consistently achieve it.

I think it was Emerson who said a "foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of small minds" but I'm beginning to suspect there are times when consistency is a hobgoblin much to be desired, regardless of cerebral mass and volume.

Chiff n Fipple didn't have much help...shrillness seems to be an occupational hazard of high notes on wind instruments, and it varies from instrument to instrument.

Back to the practice session, visualizing big, heavy, soft raindrops.

V


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 30 Sep 04 - 11:16 PM

I had my father's violin refurbished by a nice Greek chap who makes violins. I went to him because I met and thoroughly liked him and his attitude to life as well as music.

He said when he was a child in the mountains of Greece, he heard the shepherds playing the pipes (flutes) to the sheep, and the tone was so pure and sweet. He tries to make his violins to sound like that sound he still keeps in his head.

The human mind is an amazing gestalt machine.

Robin


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: Bassic
Date: 01 Oct 04 - 03:57 AM

Just a suggestion, try a few singing lessons.

I`m not a whistle player though I do dabble. However it is interesting following this discussion on "thinking" a sweetness of tone into the upper register of whistle. Singers often have a "harshness" of tone in their upper register and it is a wonderful experience hearing upper notes in the human voice register sung with a delicate sweetness and a lightness of touch. Almost always this skill comes from a well trained voice. The untrained voice usually sounds strangled and strained in the high registers which comes from a tension in the throat and lack of breath control. "Belting" the high notes is usually the only way untrained singers can overcome this but it results in a vocal quality that may well be at odds with what is artistically wanted.

Trained singers, as I understand it, develope their breathing to control the volume and "place" the voice in the "head" for such notes. (It feels like the sound is comming from behind the eyes and bridge of the nose). In other words using the body`s natural resonance in the head to give the sound its "sweetness" rather than the chest, (for lower notes), or the throat (which gives that "strangled" sound). I`m sorry if I havnt explained this very well but I hope you get my drift!

My thought is that perhaps an adaptation of the "head sound" is what is happening to those skilled whistle players who can "think" a sweetness into the upper tones of a whistle, (is it me or do I think I see simmilar body language with trained singers going for high notes? Head forward, eyebrows raised, chin dropped rather than thrust forward?) so maybe a few singing lessons would help others find that sound? The breathing excersises for singers would do no harm in any case! :-)

wadya think folks?


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 01 Oct 04 - 09:08 AM

I find that opening the back of my mouth/top of my throat helps reach the lower register of the whistle easier...

I did undergo singing training as a youngster: on a good day I can quite a range from low to high, by 'thinking' the pitch and timbre.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Alex
Date: 19 Jun 14 - 10:17 AM

I suggest filing the inside and the holes you're having trouble with. I have a D Generation Whistle and have the same problem. Came on here looking to see if anybody agrees but... Well, no. :-/


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Alex (same Alex as last post)
Date: 19 Jun 14 - 10:30 AM

Sorry about the late date guys. Found this forum on google and only just realized that it's from 2004. lolz.

Think I found a solution. Blow a little harder on the higest note (top finger off, all others on). The fingering chart would be this:

.
.
.
.
.
-

Given that . = finger on and - = finger off.


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Subject: RE: range of d penny whistle/note problems
From: GUEST,Alex (same Alex as last post again)
Date: 22 Jun 14 - 04:47 PM

lol. Sorry, fingering chart upside-down. This is proper way:

-
.
.
.
.
.


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Mudcat time: 19 June 2:48 AM EDT

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