Praise Whistlers Abroad
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Balanced Octaves
http://praisewhistlers.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=19&t=6446
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Author:  Clarke [ Sun Jun 03, 2012 1:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Balanced Octaves

I've said in other posts that I've been making my own whistles, following Guido Gonzato's guidelines. I feel they have a pure, sweet tone. I only play hymns and gospel songs, so I'm not too concerned about what some folks call traditional whistle sound.

One shortcoming my whistles seem to have is a lack of balance between octaves. For instance, on a D whistle, once past the second E, the notes seem to require a lot more push and are a lot louder and shrill. Also, I can hear some of the first octave present in the second octave.

I hope there's a workaround. I was given a James Becker whistle and although it has more of a traditional Irish sound than I desire, the volume and cleanness of the octaves seems fairly equal.

I tried decreasing the space between the fipple and lip on the whistles I've made, but lost the two lowest notes when I did.

Any suggestions?

-Clarke

Author:  Judy K [ Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:26 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Clarke, it has been a few years since I've made a whistle, but you might try tuning each octave as you go. Stacy O'Gorman of Alba Whistles suggested that a whistle needs to be tuned in both octaves. I always started with a tube, added the mouthpiece, then tuned the length of the tube for the bell note in the low & higher octaves. Each note, working up the whistle, was tuned the same way. Balancing the tuning between the octaves as the whistle was made seemed to help. FWIW (for what it's worth) I like a longer beak on a whistle -- just 'fits' better in my mouth.

Hopefully Mack & Tommy will chime in with better & correct help.

Author:  Clarke [ Sun Jun 03, 2012 7:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Thanks for your reply Judy. It's not the tuning that I'm referring to. Mainly, it's that the upper half of the second octave requires considerable push and is a lot louder and shrill. Also, you can hear some of the first octave note when playing the second octave. For instance, if I play a second octave D vented, it's very clean. If I play the same D with all holes covered, I hear the first octave D mixed in. Being new to whistles, I don't know if this is normal or not.

-Clarke

Author:  Judy K [ Mon Jun 04, 2012 12:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Hmm ... let's see. I would usually make the fipple block so that it had wings that extended the width of the window, undercut the blade edge just a bit, and put a tiny bevel in the edge of the fipple block. Not sure if any of that would really help with your problem though.

You might send Tommy or Mack a PM if they don't see this thread.

Author:  Clarke [ Mon Jun 04, 2012 5:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Regarding the fipple block wings, I've read that the walls beneath the window focuses the sound. I'm not sure what that means though.

-Clarke

Author:  Judy K [ Mon Jun 04, 2012 10:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

The fipple block wings ... picture the block being long enough to meet the blade. Cut out the middle section that would be under the window leaving 'wings'.


|_|*****|_| <-- a bad drawing, but it might give you an idea.

Author:  Clarke [ Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:15 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

I understand what the wings are. What I meant was, what does focus the sound mean? Direct more air to the lip? Make the tone clearer? Make the tone richer or sweeter? Louder?

-Clarke

Author:  RonKiley [ Tue Jun 05, 2012 5:53 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Many times there is a comprimise between the back pressure you are describing and the amount of air the whistle needs. You can have an easy blower that takes a lot of air or low air requirement but lots of back pressure. Many people like the high back pressure. I prefer something in between. I have a C whistle made by Judy that is just right. I do have some high back pressure whistles such as my Alba low F. I have some which have no back pressure but require a lot of air like the Clarks. I believe that the length and other dimensions of the windway control this.

Author:  Clarke [ Wed Jun 06, 2012 5:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Yes Ron, the windway and window affect back pressure. I made a Bb whistle using 1/2 in cpvc which is really too narrow for a Bb. I thought I could get the bell note to play easier if I shortened the windway to slow the air movement. Well, it didn't work. I ended up with a 13mm long windway and a whistle that needs a lot of air. The bell note doesn't accidentally flip into the second octave any more, but now sometimes it doesn't want to sound at all. It's been rather warm (upper 90s) in these parts and I haven't had the gumption to start over in a hot garage.

Anyway, my original question was basically, how do you make a mouthpiece that will play through two octaves with fairly equal loudness?

-Clarke

Author:  RonKiley [ Wed Jun 06, 2012 3:40 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

That is the information that many makers have been searching for. Some whistles that I have that are well balanced and play easily in both octaves are a Humphreys D, a Burke brass D and a Burke aluminum Bb. My Alba Q1 is fairly well balanced but has higher back pressure. Of the inexpensive whistles my Feadog D is the best balanced.

Author:  TBG [ Sat Jun 16, 2012 10:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Hi, I'm new to the forum but would love to be part of the community here. :)

I also make whistles using CPVC pipe. My designs are also based off of Dr. Gonzato's, using copper fittings for the mouthpiece as well as a connector. I prefer to go through the extra work to add a tuning slide. Plus I can swap barrels for extra keys while using just the one mouthpiece. The windway on my whistle comes out to be the length of the copper fitting that I use to enclose the mouthpiece, which comes to around 28 mm. I've found that cutting the windway 8 mm wide, and a space for the window between the end of the fipple block to the blade being 7.5 to 8.5 mm works well for me. I bevel the fipple block and line it up just behind the edge of the mouthpiece fitting. I use oak dowels for the fipple block, coating them with cork grease before inserting them into the mouthpiece for some moisture protection.

All of this seems to produce a moderately loud whistle and decent balance between octaves, although the second octave is requiring a little more push. I'm working on fixing that. ;)

Author:  KittyR [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:45 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Welcome TBG!

(hmmmmm, I think I need more whistles...)

Author:  Clarke [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 7:08 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Glad to have you here TBG!

If I understand correctly, the "window" of your whistle's mouthpiece is pretty much square, about 8X8. On my whistles, the space from the end of the fipple to the edge of the lip is around 4mm on a D whistle. As an experiment, on occasion, I've tried increasing that space. It did strengthen the lower notes, but seemed to have an adverse effect on the higher ones. I have so little experience in whistle making that it takes a lot of trial and error for me to voice the whistle the way I like. I'm not into Irish traditional music. I just enjoy playing hymns and gospel tunes, so I like a more flute-like quality to the sound of my whistles.

-Clarke

Author:  TBG [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 3:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Thank you for the welcome!

It's always rewarding to have whistles that others have made. It's even more satisfying to make the whistle you want. There are plenty of opinions on the variety of whistles, but what matters is that you're happy with what you've made. I'm sure you'll get the sound you want!

Author:  jrc [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 5:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Greeting TBG! welcome aboard!

Author:  Judy K [ Sun Jun 17, 2012 10:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Welcome, TBG! :)

Author:  TBG [ Mon Jun 18, 2012 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Here's one of my whistles, showing the window size for reference. (I've read plenty about the extra length of a diagonally-cut pipe regarding its pitch and volume. Personally I don't think it does anything, rather it serves to enhance the look of the whistle.)

Author:  KittyR [ Mon Jun 18, 2012 6:49 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

I hereby officially volunteer to audition one and write up a review. :mrgreen:

Do you make 'em in B? I also need a nice C. And a Bb.

I still have my Thin Weasel in C if you want to try it out while I try out one of yours.

Kitty

Author:  TBG [ Mon Jun 18, 2012 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

I'd be happy to send one over for audition! :)

Author:  Clarke [ Tue Jun 19, 2012 5:33 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

TBG wrote:
Here's one of my whistles, showing the window size for reference. (I've read plenty about the extra length of a diagonally-cut pipe regarding its pitch and volume. Personally I don't think it does anything, rather it serves to enhance the look of the whistle.)

V-E-R-Y nice!

-Clarke

Author:  ConnieS [ Mon Jun 25, 2012 10:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Balanced Octaves

Hi, TBG. :wave:

I like the look of that diagonally-cut barrel. I've never seen anything quite like it.

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