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Moisture in Tin Whistles

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GUEST,GUEST 06 Oct 04 - 06:58 PM
radriano 06 Oct 04 - 07:56 PM
The Fooles Troupe 06 Oct 04 - 08:33 PM
MudGuard 07 Oct 04 - 02:02 AM
Liz the Squeak 07 Oct 04 - 02:06 AM
MudGuard 07 Oct 04 - 02:08 AM
breezy 07 Oct 04 - 04:36 AM
Wilfried Schaum 07 Oct 04 - 06:26 AM
Jeanie 07 Oct 04 - 06:53 AM
GUEST 07 Oct 04 - 07:38 AM
Vixen 07 Oct 04 - 08:19 AM
Wilfried Schaum 07 Oct 04 - 08:26 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Oct 04 - 09:57 AM
Chris Green 07 Oct 04 - 10:04 AM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 AM
leeneia 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 AM
Vixen 07 Oct 04 - 11:57 AM
Shanghaiceltic 07 Oct 04 - 07:47 PM
Bernard 07 Oct 04 - 08:03 PM
ThreeSheds 07 Oct 04 - 08:09 PM
The Fooles Troupe 07 Oct 04 - 08:24 PM
Snuffy 08 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Oct 04 - 09:11 AM
Vixen 08 Oct 04 - 11:13 AM
Bernard 08 Oct 04 - 12:57 PM
The Fooles Troupe 08 Oct 04 - 07:47 PM
GUEST 10 Oct 04 - 08:10 AM
Peter K (Fionn) 10 Oct 04 - 12:28 PM
GUEST,Pur 11 Apr 10 - 12:58 PM
Paul Burke 11 Apr 10 - 02:15 PM
Tootler 11 Apr 10 - 03:35 PM
Tootler 11 Apr 10 - 05:07 PM
The Fooles Troupe 11 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM
Jack Campin 11 Apr 10 - 06:52 PM
Rowan 12 Apr 10 - 01:17 AM
Rowan 12 Apr 10 - 01:31 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Apr 10 - 01:51 AM
Rowan 12 Apr 10 - 01:57 AM
IanA 12 Apr 10 - 05:58 AM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM
Rowan 12 Apr 10 - 05:39 PM
GUEST,Nick E 12 Apr 10 - 06:11 PM
The Fooles Troupe 12 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM
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Subject: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: GUEST,GUEST
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 06:58 PM

I seem to have persistent problems with moisture accumulating in tin whistles a short time after playing. Although I use a brush to remove moisture frequently, it seems to build up again quickly and tends to make the sound less pure and a bit weak. Perhaps I just produce too much saliva? I find not drinking (even soft drinks) helps a bit.

Also, and possibly related to this, I find it very hard to get a good loud but pure tone in tin whistles which can be heard above the sound of voices and guitars, etc (admittedly these are usually amplified), yet another (admittedly much better) player who uses the same type of whistle (Generation in key of C or D) seems to do much better in this respect. I find if I blow too hard I just get the note in the next octave up. Perhaps I just don't have enough lung power!

I have also noticed that some tunes (which can be instrumentals or songs) which are reasonably easy to play (on harmonica or tin whistle) can sound quite difficult, therefore if you play them reasonably, it can make you sound quite proficient (I suppose this is a type of cheating really!) and conversely some which sound reasonably easy are difficult to play really well (perhaps it depends on the instrument). An example of the latter to my mind is "The Irish Washerwoman" (sorry I can't think of any good examples of the former at present). I would be interested in other Mudcatters suggestions for tunes in both of these catergories, BASED ON ACTUAL EXPERIENCE OF PLAYING THEM.

P.S. I am just a pretty amateurish player in an informal music session held once a month in a local bar.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: radriano
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 07:56 PM

Moisture accumulation in the thipple is a problem for me as well. Some players use a style that uses less tounging attacks and that can help a bit. In a session you can stop playing for a few seconds, move the whistle further into your mouth so that the sound hole is blocked and then blow into the whistle. This will clear out built up moisture. I do this in between tunes routinely.

I think other players only seem to do better with your whistle. When you are playing the sound travels away from you and is harder to hear in a loud session. Its easier to hear a whistle when someone else is playing, especially on low notes, during sessions.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 06 Oct 04 - 08:33 PM

An old trick is to put the tiniest spot of liquid washing up detergent on the tip of the fipple. This reduces the surface tension, and makes the water flow easier. Another trick I found with my all metal whistles was to pre-warm them in cold weather.

Over-blowing is what gives you the overtone series, the first of which is the octave. You can only blow a fipple instrument higher in pitch, not volume. An instrument can be played slightly louder or softer - I find changing the shape of the inside of the mouth helps a bit, but it it mainly 'bends the pitch'. if you want ot play a differing range of volume, you need more than none instrument.

As for your tune selection allowing you to sound better than you think you are, this is an old secret for performing musos. Us experienced ones could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you!

:-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 02:02 AM

I think the moisture is not saliva but the moisture which is in your breath (the same moisture which in cold wheather makes you look like you are steaming). As the whistle is usually colder than your breath, the moisture is condensing on the surfaces of the whistle (same effect as you have when you breathe against a mirror).

If - as foolestroupe suggests - the whistle is pre-warmed up before playing, the moisture does not condense so easily, so the effect is not as strong.

I also noticed that if I play for a longer time, the effect gets less and less - probably because the whistle gets warmed up by the breath during playing.

More powerful lungs won't help - as you noticed yourself stronger blowing just leads to higher, not louder, notes (ok, there is a small range of loudness which you can control by blow strength but it is not very much).


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Liz the Squeak
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 02:06 AM

Have you tried using a plastic whistle? There is a firm whose name escapes me, that make plastic tin whistles that come apart for easy carriage.

The plastic is a 'warm' material that tends not to make so much moisture.

Alternately, learn a sideways style like the flute, that lets the drips go into someone else's beer.

LTS


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: MudGuard
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 02:08 AM

Alternately, learn a sideways style like the flute, that lets the drips go into someone else's beer.

ROFLMAOBTC ... ;-)


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: breezy
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 04:36 AM

This is a filthy instrument, breaking all the rules of health and hygiene ,wait for the directive from Bruzzels

acceptable spitting in sessions seems to describe what this amounts too.

Try using a bellows!

Dont blow.

Have a spittoon slung below the end.



Overton whistles, see Kerrywhistles.
plug for a friend in need


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 06:26 AM

... or change to a bamboo whistle. I own some, they give fine sound without condensation.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Jeanie
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 06:53 AM

Glad I'm not alone in this. The goo that oozes its way to the bottom of my (plastic Tony Dixon) whistle is definitely not condensation. Far to gooey for that. This is Spit Proper. I like Liz's suggestion of sideways dripping into someone else's beer - but why let just one person be honoured with it all ? My suggestion: between each tune, wave the whistle around in the manner one of those salad spinners, so that everyone gets a bit ? All part of the charm of live entertainment !

- jeanie


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 07:38 AM

Liz, plastic may feel warmer than metal but both are the same temperature, i.e. room temperature.
Metal feels colder to a warm blooded animal such as you or me, because it conducts the body warmth away quicker.
Both will probably condense moisture the same amount.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Vixen
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:19 AM

For more than you ever wanted to know about whistle moisture and all other things whistle related, check out

www.chiffandfipple.com

(for some reason I can't make a blue clicky...)

V


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Wilfried Schaum
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:26 AM

Vixen's link to chiffandfipple


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 09:57 AM

And for some reason I was afraid this would be a dull serious thread... gee - thanks guys!

:-)

Metal whistles just seem to condense more moisture - since Mr Anonymous most likely isn't an experienced whistle player - or he would have identified himself - there in no real evidence that he knows what he is talking about. The whistle is not necessarily at room temperature: depends on where you store it, how you carry it, and the relative weather/temperature of the air outside the room (which is where it was before) you are trying to play in.

Plastic instruments seem better if when they start off, they are about as warm as the instrument gets after playing for a while. If they have been in a cool area for some time and then you bring them into a warm area, they will act up too, and they seem to take longer to settle, because the rate of heat transmission through the material is lower.

I have a couple of all metal instruments that need to be prewarmed (especially around the fipple area) under a hot water tap in winter, or they will take about half an hour to play easily: they choke up, sputter, and generally throw a tantrum unless I do that. Sometimes I want the tone they produce, and if I am swapping whistles in mid bracket, those have to be held with the mouthpiece under the armpit or they will cool down and start to act up again.

"I also noticed that if I play for a longer time, the effect gets less and less"

Yup!

The detergent trick ameliorates the 'muffling' effect of large accumulations of moisture, which can severely affect the tone and sound production capabilities of the whistle.

You don't HAVE to hold the whistle out in front of you - and a surreptitious flick (while holding on tightly to the instrument!) can clear the moisture, depositing it with a surprising degree of accuracy wherever desired. Of course, if you lose your grip, you could probably take up a secondary career as a 'reasonably accurate knife thrower'... now let's see who knows the song :-)

And for Jeanie, yes, whistle players can drool into the mouthpiece... :-)

Robin


Robin


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Chris Green
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:04 AM

I think the plastic whistles are Susato. Our whistle player uses them - great tone!


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 AM

I've got one each of their Low D conical and cylindrical bore jobs - good whistles, but a bit 'straight' - one gives a nice reedy sound.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: leeneia
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 10:56 AM

I like the detergent idea, and plan to try it. Thanks.

Other thoughts: tuck the whistle into your waistband well before playing it, to warm it up to body temperature. Stay in the warmest part of the room. Since a metal whistle will cool fast, have a spare in place. They're cheap.

I bet that the other player you mention, who gets more volume from the same kind of instrument, just has a superior instrument. It may be the same maker, but more expensive. It may be broken in better. It may be random variation in the quality of the product. Maybe it's a "Wednesday whistle."

For best results in the long run, forget the low-cost whistle and play something of higher quality. Whistles are cheap for a reason.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Vixen
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 11:57 AM

Just a few thoughts on the topic...

1. the "soap in the fipple" trick works a treat--and if you use a *very* dilute solution of Dr. Bronner's PEPPERMINT, it won't have an unpleasantly "soapy" taste. Also, it's my understanding that most folks could drink a bottle of Dr. Bronner's and, while it would have interesting repercussions in the digestive tract, it wouldn't actively *harm* them, unlike some of the unknown chemistry they put in other soapy stuff these days.

2. temperature and humidity affects more than the moisture build-up. When Reynaud and I are playing out, I keep my whistles and recorders close to my body because when they're cold they go flatter and get sharper as they warm up. Strings, on the other hand, get sharp when they get cold. This causes interesting "situations" when Reynaud's and I are playing duets on fiddle and pw. If you're getting funny looks from the string section, you may have this situation.

3. In a pinch, you can warm up a whistle or recorder fairly quickly by wrapping both hands around it (to cover all the holes and have as much warm body contact as possible) and blowing in the "window"...the opening toward the bottom of the fipple.

4. When it's breezy out, I've found that by wearing a large-hooded sweatshirt with the hood up and pulled well forward, and turning my back into the wind, I get a good enough windbreak to play reasonably reliably. My Susatos are best on windy days, but I'm finding my new Sweet is doing pretty well too.

5. *sometimes* I can clear accumulated moisture into my mouth by inhaling through my mouth through the fipple when I take air, instead of through my nose or open mouth. Always, of course, being cautious not to inhale the moisture into my lungs, cough, choke, turn blue and ruin the tune.

My $0.02--fwiw--your mileage may vary.

V


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Shanghaiceltic
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 07:47 PM

Just to add a bit of science, I work for a company that sells moisture measurement equipment.

Even though whistles might be at room temperature, when blown through you are blowing a stream of warmed humid air. If you use metal whistles then there is more chance of a condensate forming as they are more likely to warm up quicker than a plastic one. The walls are thinner and metal is a better conductor of heat.

If the room is cooler than your breath and whistle then the condensate forms more rapidly. If the humidity in the room is higher then the air you breath and exhale is also carrying even more moisture.

I too am learning to play whistles and mine dribble! The humidity here in Shanghai is high as is the temperature so the air can carry much more moisture in a gaseous form.

As the temperatures and humidity drop I am just hoping I will dribble less!


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Bernard
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:03 PM

I've found stirring my beer with it works wonders!


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: ThreeSheds
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:09 PM

Why not piss in them


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 07 Oct 04 - 08:24 PM

Shanghaiceltic

you are absolutely correct - a lot of ignorant waffle is bandied about on this subject by those who do not understand.

Beer may well act to reduce the surface tension in the whistle just as it reduces the tension in the player.


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Snuffy
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 08:39 AM

Vixen,

Playing outdoors for a Morris side, I don't have the option of either wearing a "hoody" or turning my back to the wind - you have to face the dancers. But I found putting the fipple on upside down (with the "window" underneath) certainly helps reduce the wind problems


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 09:11 AM

I actually found I could play the small D rotated 180deg - with all the holes facing my body. You wrap your hands around - it's not as hard as it looks actually...


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Vixen
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 11:13 AM

OHO! Cool breezes invert fipples?

Who'd a thunk it!

I'll have to give it a try...

V


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Subject: RE: MOISTURE IN TIN WHISTLES
From: Bernard
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 12:57 PM

Some Red Indians play a special kind of whistle which has no fipple... there are exactly five hundred of them, and they are known as the Indian Fippleless 500...!!

Sorreee!!


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 08 Oct 04 - 07:47 PM

'I found putting the fipple on upside down (with the "window" underneath) certainly helps reduce the wind problems'

Not eating baked beans works better.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: GUEST
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 08:10 AM

Clear as mud!

I have tried holding the whistle sideways like a fife, and yes, it does help a bit though it is a bit more awkward for fingering.

I play in 2 local pubs in all seasons, autumn, spring, summer and winter, but the problem is year round (in winter there is often a fire and in any case the air temperature does not get too low, perhaps because there are often a lot of people). Indeed the problem is often getting too hot in summer!

I also have the same problem with excessive moisture with a Hohner Melodica, and the manufacturers have presumably anticipated this as (a) the mouthpiece is removable (b) There is a small metal button in a hole. which if you push it, air and hence (if you blow hard) moisture comes out the bottom. In extreme situations you can unscrew the keys which hold on the keyboard and remove moisture that way.

I think my problem is mainly spittle and not condensation (some people just produce more than others). Although I will check with the other tin whistle player I am nearly certain he uses the exact same brand and model. It is not just him who seems to produce a louder sound with the same type of whistle.

Perhaps in response to my earlier request, someone could make a few suggestions about tunes (on harmonica or whistle, either originally purely instrumental or vocal) which are reasonably easy to play but sound reasonably difficult, the whole point of this being to sound more proficient than you are!


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Peter K (Fionn)
Date: 10 Oct 04 - 12:28 PM

But IS Shanghaiceltic right, Foulestroupe? Surely the condensation occurs when warm air his a cold surface, is thereby cooled, and dumps its moisture content. Plastic whistles, as poor heat conductors, will not often fall to the same temperature extreme as tin, and therefore attract less condensation. Look around a steamed up bathroom and it is fairly obvious that some surfaces attract more condensation than others, even thought ambient room temperatures is the same for all of them. Thus warm surfaces, such as heated radiators, will not attract condensation, whereas window glass, losing temperature to external atmosphere, will.

A method more effective than Radriano's for clearing moisture is to cover all the holes (including the end-hole, using right-hand little finger), offer the instrument to the mouth piccolo-style, and then blow through the sound hole. This expels moisture through the only remaining exit, the mouthpiece, which should accordingly be pointed in a suitable direction.

This is also possible on low whistles, but only by blocking the end hole on the knee or other convenient surface. A degree of contortion is required as the mouth must now be offered to the sound-hole, rather than vice-versa. Where the mouthpiece end of a whistle can be detached (to allow tuning rather than for ease of transport, Liz) it is even more effective, and much easier, to blow through the reverse end of it, blowpipe-style, with the sound-hole covered. Again, as with a blowpipe, this method allows fairly reliable targeting.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Pur
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 12:58 PM

I am really enjoying this thread .... seriously, quite a few questions I had about issues were answered here and I got a good laugh as well at some of the responses. ;-)

I am a noobie at playing the tin whistle, (about 4 months practicing) and I wondered why the dang lil' thing would sound so odd at times, especially when I would first pick it up and play. As for the moisture problem, I just kinda sling it onto my lap where I keep a cloth handy that catches most of the moisture. I also use a very large pipe cleaner when it acts up really bad. Seems to help, but I don't know if it could be damaging the inside of whistle or not.

I thought about purchasing a Susato Kildare S-Series whistle in high D to see how it sounded. My poor little Celtic Clarke whistle has a very soft sweet tone but I am thinking it is way too soft for sessions playing, which I am very interested in doing in the future if the opportunity arises. I must say I love playing this lil' whistle though, even if it was an inexpensive one. :-)


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 02:15 PM

Moisture in wind instruments can be a serious problem. Just last night, I was playing flute in a scratch band and was severely censured by the guitar player for dripping on his (balding) head during a particularly frenetic set.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 03:35 PM


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Tootler
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 05:07 PM

Sorry about the empty post above. I clicked on "Submit Message" instead of "Forum Home"

There seems to be a little confusion about the causes of the moisture in the windway of a tin whistle. It is quite simple, you are blowing warm, moist air into the instrument. When the warm air of your breath contacts the cold surface of the instrument, moisture condenses out of the air and forms droplets in the windway. These moisture droplets will partially block the windway causing the problems with the sound described by the OP. As stated in the second post, the droplets are simply water. There are two ways to deal with the problem. The first is to place the soft pad of a finger over the aperture containing the fipple and blow hard to blow the water drops out. The finger over the fipple apperture is to prevent the instrument sounding, but do make sure it is the soft pad of your finger so as to avoid damage to the fipple. With a bigger instrument such as a low whistle or tenor recorder, it might be better to wrap your whole hand round the head of the instrument.

The second method is to suck hard briefly, drawing the water back into your mouth. Some people find this latter a bit repulsive, but it is only water and you produced it in the first place so it won't do you any harm.

All duct flutes (whistles, recorders etc.) are prone to this problem because the narrowness of the windway means that the droplets will bridge the top and bottom of the windway blocking it.

As the instrument is played, the interior of the windway warms up until it approaches the temperature of your breath and the condensation will occur further down the tube beyond the fipple as that section will take longer to warm up so the problem will not occur with a warm instrument. Similarly, warming the head of the instrument up before playing should also reduce problems of condensation in the windway.

The dilute detergent down the windway is a useful dodge (but make sure it is really dilute - 20:1 is suggested as a minimum). The detergent being a surfactant will coat the windway and as the water evaporates a thin film of detergent is left on the windway passage. This will lower the surface tension of the condensing moisture so it in turn forms a film on the windway rather than droplets. Recorder makers Moeck sell little bottles of "Antikondens" detergent ready diluted which works well and is non-toxic and perfume free (the latter a problem with domestic detergents).


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM

"the interior of the windway warms up until it approaches the temperature of your breath "

Hold the whistle with the mouthpiece tucked into your armpit - it keeps it warm.

"thinking it is way too soft for sessions playing"

This is the market pressure that drives whistle makers to make the things sound shriller and louder, and loses the delicacy of timbre.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Jack Campin
Date: 11 Apr 10 - 06:52 PM

Another non-toxic wetting agent is the stuff they use for cleaning contact lenses.

And photographic wetting agent (maybe not so easy to come by now - you used it before hanging processed film up to dry, to stop droplets forming).


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 01:17 AM

The second method is to suck hard briefly, drawing the water back into your mouth. Some people find this latter a bit repulsive, but it is only water and you produced it in the first place so it won't do you any harm.

Not only is it "only water" it is actually rather purer than the water you get out of a tap, unless you've used one of the surfactants described in the various posts above. Antarctic expeditioners quite often are seen with it frozen into their beards and moustaches and I can assure you that when you suck on it, it melts into your mouth with no taste whatever.

Hold the whistle with the mouthpiece tucked into your armpit - it keeps it warm.

When daughter #2 is presenting for eisteddfods or exams (she's on the Northern Tablelands, where temperatures can be cool, and is a demon on the recorder) I usually put the whole recorder up my sleeve, especially the treble, and even the tenor if the ambient temperature seems at all cool; even descant recorders have a higher 'thermal mass' than tin whistles because of their more 'massive' construction and such prewarming minimises condensation.

Another non-toxic wetting agent is the stuff they use for cleaning contact lenses.

As is the 0.05% methyl cellulose used as a wetting and lubricating agent used by wearers of 'hard' contact lenses. And, if I were to use pipe cleaners or anything else poked up the barrel of a whistle, I'd be careful to avoid contacting the fipple with it; they tend to be sensitive little beasties.

Perhaps in response to my earlier request, someone could make a few suggestions about tunes (on harmonica or whistle, either originally purely instrumental or vocal) which are reasonably easy to play but sound reasonably difficult

Not being an actual player of whistles I'll leave specific suggestions to others but, as a general principle for any instrument I'd suggest trying tunes of songs and gaining proficiency on them before trying out dance or session tunes, which tend to be full of little notes played fast. It worked for me on harmonicas where, as an anglo concertina player (who knows his way around dance and session tunes) I limit myself to song tunes.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 01:31 AM

"thinking it is way too soft for sessions playing"

This is the market pressure that drives whistle makers to make the things sound shriller and louder, and loses the delicacy of timbre.


I almost left one of the sessions in the Session Bar at the (Oz) National over Easter because of a player (piano accordion, in this case) who seemed to prefer speed over expression; the arrival of another player, with an equally volumed instrument, saved the day for me. Even session tunes ought to be played with expression, where delicacy of timber is desirable, and 'softness' ought not be a barrier to acknowledgement of good, expressive, session playing.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 01:51 AM

Rowan

My dad was a very good amateur Classical Violinist - was 2nd lead when a teenager in a private orchestra before WWII started.

When I had been taking piano lessons for a year or two, and knew everything, I said "Hey Dad, look how fast I can play!"

He stopped what he was doing, smiled to my Mum, got out his violin, set up, and the drew the bow across one string so slowly from frog to tip that it almost was not moving. When it reached the tip, he reversed. The tone was soft, clear and unwavering.

Then he smiled and said "Son, any fool can play fast and loud. It takes Talent, Training, and Practice to play slow and soft."

I have never forgotten, no matter what of the many instruments I dabble with, is in my hands.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 01:57 AM

Robin, I reckon your story above (which I've seen on a couple of other threads) is one that bears repeated reiteration; in this case, the latter is not tautologous.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: IanA
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:58 AM

As Rowan has said, pipe cleaners can be lethal. Here's what you do - get an egg cup and fill it with water, add two or three DROPS of detergent and mix. Then sneak up on any unsuspecting budgie and yank out a tail feather. Dip the feather in the very dilute solution of detergent and 'paint' the inside of the windway. Leave to dry. Problem sorted (except for those unfortunates who actually do drool to excess - in which case I would advise against playing in places where they serve bacon butties). You can hit the sound-producing edge as many times as you like with the feather and you will not damage it.

If you have patience, you could always wait for you budgie to moult. Flight feathers will do as well - any feather with a 'spine' to it. In extremis, a bit of thin card, cut to shape, will do the job once but feathers can be re-used.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:33 AM

"Dip the feather in the very dilute solution of detergent and 'paint' the inside of the windway. Leave to dry"

Doesn't the budgie object when you paint the inside of his windway?


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: Rowan
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 05:39 PM

I've been reminded of a technique for warming a transverse flute that almost certainly can't be applied to fipple flutes but is worth mentioning.

When I first met Bronnie Evans, she was a PhD student in biochemistry at the ANU and a red hot flautist; she played what classical musicians call a concert flute (silver, Boehme system I suspect, rather than the "Simple system" favoured by the Irish and called by them a concert flute) and had recently picked up tin whistle. At the Kapunda Celtic Music comp. she stunned everyone with how her flute filled the hall with liquid sound; her teacher was a clarinettist who concentrated on her intonation and it showed.

Her technique for warming the instrument involved, as I recall, controlling the embouchure and overblowing hard enough to produce ultrasounds, ie above the normal frequencies heard by us humans. I watched her embouchure closely, as I was a bit sceptical, but it was different from the usual versions she used while playing and the body of the flute appeared warmer to the touch.

Bronnie later turned her attention to Macedonian kaval and was so good she was given a lovely pair made specially for her by a visiting Macedonian expert whose name I forget; their bores were kept clean and moisture-free by the paired rods on which the kavals were stored. Australian folk music lost a great talent when she concentrated on the careers as a research biochemist (at which she has been extremely successful) and a wife and mum (which presented extremely taxing responsibilities) and used classical piano (in private) as her only musical outlet.

Cheers, Rowan


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: GUEST,Nick E
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:11 PM

When moisture builds up in my whistle first I suck in, then I hold the wistle by the bottom end and give it a couple of flicks towards the floor.


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Subject: RE: Moisture in Tin Whistles
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 12 Apr 10 - 06:40 PM

"she was given a lovely pair made specially for her by a visiting Macedonian expert whose name I forget"

Drool... oh, sorry....

"give it a couple of flicks towards the floor"

A natural technique for guys....


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