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Whistle Question

24 Jan 05 - 12:56 PM (#1387134)
Subject: Whistle Question
From: wysiwyg

If you trim off the right amount from the end of a tin whistle, can it play accurately in a new key?


24 Jan 05 - 01:03 PM (#1387141)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: jeffp

I seriously doubt it. The holes are positioned relative to the overall length. If you change the length, the spacing will be off.

24 Jan 05 - 01:04 PM (#1387142)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: wysiwyg

OK, thanks.


24 Jan 05 - 01:06 PM (#1387145)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: greg stephens

You can buy them in any key, so it's not a problem.

24 Jan 05 - 01:07 PM (#1387149)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: wysiwyg

E flat?


24 Jan 05 - 01:09 PM (#1387152)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: greg stephens

I dont what brands are available in America, but the ones marketed as flageolets in Britain certainly come in E flat.

24 Jan 05 - 01:13 PM (#1387155)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Mooh

That pretty much will answer your questions.

Peace, Mooh.

24 Jan 05 - 02:07 PM (#1387234)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Gedpipes

Anyway don't be so tight WYSIWYG. They only cost a fiver! ;-))

24 Jan 05 - 02:11 PM (#1387244)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Nigel Parsons

Here's that link for Chiff & Fipple


24 Jan 05 - 02:42 PM (#1387307)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: JWB

I've got a Generation whistle in Eflat. I always wondered why such a key was available. Apparently, it's favored by players who want to do a solo piece during a session, since there aren't many other instruments that are particularly easy to play in that key.


24 Jan 05 - 03:54 PM (#1387383)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Snuffy

A lot of Irish players use an Eb because the fiddlers they play with keep making the pitch "brighter" so a D whistle is out of tune with them.

24 Jan 05 - 04:27 PM (#1387415)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: jimmyt

Double check me Leadfingers, but I think a Bflat whistle will work fine in Eflat also. jimmyt

24 Jan 05 - 04:40 PM (#1387433)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Dave Swan

I've got a nice Bb whistle which came from West Coast Whistles. Give them a look.


24 Jan 05 - 04:53 PM (#1387449)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: gnu

Thanks for the link Dave.

24 Jan 05 - 05:02 PM (#1387457)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: NH Dave

Unless the whistle has a lower, unstopped hole that determines the over all pitch of the lowest note, trimming the end a bit would only affect the lowest not on the instrument, raising it a bit. All of the other finger holes will still retain their same relative distance to the the blown end, and not vary in pitch.

    I have known whistle players who have loosened the plastic blown end from the bore and can now raise and lower this blown end, thus making each note a bit sharper or flatter, than it had been, but I don't see as this would be any advantage in playing with others who use some sort of refferenced standard pitch, or who tune by electronic tuners - clamp on bits that show the exact note the instrument is currently playing.


24 Jan 05 - 05:27 PM (#1387501)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Bernard

If the 'mouthpiece' is removeable (as with the 'Generation' whistles), you can sometimes trim a couple of millimetres off the tube length, thus allowing a little more leeway in tuning, but it's drastic and likely to be of little use.

I, too, have an Eb Generation whistle, and a low Bb - which will, as suggested, play in Eb - just as you can play in G on a D whistle.

I have (I think) a full set of Generation whistles, which start at low Bb, C, D, Eb, F and G - and includes a three-hole Tabor Pipe in D which looks like an ordinary D, except for the absence of some holes...!

My tunable low G tabor pipe is something of a rarity, as Generation stopped making it some years ago (mine is 35 years old) - and it doesn't have a plastic mouthpiece. It's entirely brass.

Many keys are accessible from other whistles by learning 'cross-fingerings', but you have to pay more attention to the blowing pressure to stay in tune, which makes it hard work...!

24 Jan 05 - 05:32 PM (#1387508)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question

can't be beat.

24 Jan 05 - 05:37 PM (#1387522)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Barbara

Actually some classical instruments come in Eb -- I think a clarinet does, and I found the Eb whistle (Generation) useful for playing cross whistle in A. Or for playing with people tuned sharp -- like concertinas, or autoharps. I always soak my bits so I can tune them, and you will also be able to pick me out of a crowd of whistle players because when my bits get old and crack where they join the barrel, I repair them using hose clamps.
The first set of Generations I bought, I mail ordered from someplace in NY city, and the entire set came one tube inside another and all the bits in a bag at one end of the box. There were 6, as I recall, and I still have a couple (they would be about 30 years old). Several of them I have never seen for sale in stores -- they were Bb, C, D Eb F and G, from low to high respectively.
The G whistle is about 3/4 the length of a pencil, about that bore, and makes you squinch all your fingers together to play it. It is good, especially in its second octave, for clearing rooms, removing loose paint and fillings, and in delighting small, thieving children.

25 Jan 05 - 04:04 AM (#1387911)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Kaleea

Unless a whistle is terribly out of tune, I would not cut or trim. Whistles are available in most all keys, though they are usually "spelled" in flats and not sharps-thus instead of D#, it's Eb. I also have Generation Eb & Bb whistles. The Bb was my very first whistle-given to me by a Bodhran playing pal in a Ceoli band I used to be in. I played along with pipes & pipe recordings. There are also pipes in keys other than Bb, which makes it necessary for other instrumentalists to play in other keys in order to join in. Also, the "Bluegrass" or "Traditional Music" keys of G & D & A are often not good for singers. Many singers prefer Ab, Eb, and Bb as their voice sounds better & works better or more smoothly in those keys--many church hymnals have more hymns in those keys.

25 Jan 05 - 04:55 AM (#1387932)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: wysiwyg

Thanks, I always wondered about that! I often tune my autoharp a half step low, and I wondered what other folks can do if their instrument is not capoable. :~)


25 Jan 05 - 12:06 PM (#1388125)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Leadfingers

Gedpipes - OK So Generation Eflat is only a fiver - On Overton is over a hundred quid !! And Eflat is a nice key to play on a Bflat whistle as was mentiones above . I tried to turn an Eflat into an E
by trimming off the Mouthpiece end ! Had to do ALL sorts of tweaking
to get it even remotely in tune with itself ! Now I use Chieften - a
good range and NOT quite so pricey as Overton !!

25 Jan 05 - 12:42 PM (#1388172)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Sarah the flute

I had a generation Eb and wanted an E but couldn't find one I liked SO my friend took the plastic top off and sawed off a slice and then replaced the now movable top and it is perfect AND tunable. Great for those stupid tunes in fiddle player keys!!!!


25 Jan 05 - 03:41 PM (#1388345)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: GUEST,Barrie Roberts

I have a photo of John Molineux playing an instrument of his own devising. It consisted of two penny-whistles coneected by a length of rubber gas piping, with a mouthpiece cut in the rubber halfway. One whistle had some of its holes taped over to create a drone effect. He got quite stropppy when I told him that with a little effort and development he could invent the bagpipe!

25 Jan 05 - 06:36 PM (#1388532)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: Pete Fletcher

And if you're accompanying singers Eflat Bflat are great singing keys

26 Jan 05 - 09:41 AM (#1388919)
Subject: RE: Whistle Question
From: GUEST,leeneia

You'll find quite a few pieces with flats in O'Neill's Music of Ireland.