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 Post subject: Whistle Tuning Blues
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 8:46 am 
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Location: Peterborough NH
Greetings fellow Praise Whistlers,

I recently purchased an electronic tuner, to tune my whistles. WHAT A HEADACHE!!!! When I get the second octive close, the first octive is way off, and vise versa. Sometimes I think I was better off being totally oblivious, to whether I was in tune or not. :roll: Is there some kind of tuning download I could get? I'm really tired of the piano, and guitar players telling me I'm flat, and my ear's not good enough to tune to the piano. ( Especialy in the short time I have, before Sunday morning worship.)

Your eternal bro,
Ron

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 9:28 am 
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Just my own tunnel-vision opinion here, but if your ear is not good enough to tell when you're playing flat, playing with a group may not be for you.

I'd have to seriously ask the Lord about being in the worship band if it were me. After all, he could give you a better ear if you asked, or he could show you another way to play in the band in spite of your weakness. Or, he might tell you that your whistle playing is just for his pleasure (and ours - we like your clips).

Kitty

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:44 am 
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Actually, my main function on the worship team, is singing. I've been singing all my life, and am a natural tenor. I also have a lot of requests to sing solos. My whistling is pretty much secondary, but have had lots of compliments, from the congregation, as well as the worship team members. I'm often asked by the team leader, to acompany him on the whistle, while he plays the piano"as The Lord leads me," as people are coming in. I love doing this. Just letting The Holy Spirit flow through me, and letting go. I usually use my low d for this, closing my eyes and forgeting where I am, until the piano stops, and I open my eyes and see evryone sitting down.

Anyway, back to the subject. My tuning isn't so flat that most people would notice. In fact it's so minuscule, that adjusting it just a hair is all that's needed. Unfortunately, most of my whistles are so tight, that when I try to adjust them on the spot, they move 2 or 3 hairs, instead of just 1. (all of my whistles are pvc, exept for my obriens)

That's why I picked up the tuner. So I could tune them before church. I was just wondering why, when it's in tune in the second octive, it's flat in the first. And if that really matters.

Thanks for your input.
Ron

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 10:54 am 
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It could be that you just need to tune for one octave, and then remember to "lip it up" a little in the other octave, sort of adjusting the tuning a little with your mouth.

LisaD can tell you exactly which notes on which of her whistles tend to be a little flat or sharp. I'm not quite that obsessive, but she really sounds good for it!

Kitty

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 11:08 am 
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:P I just leaned my tuner against my Hoover low g, to prop it up, and when the tuner tapped the whistle, it registered a perfect g. I thought this was odd, so I tried it again, and got the same results. Who would have thought that a whistle would have perfect percusion tune.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:28 pm 
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Your TUNER is a good friend and will even substitute for having a good ear to some extent, read below.

It is important that your whistle, flute, recorder is warmed up properly before tuning it whether to your tuner, the keyboard or to another musician. If it is not warmed up when you tune then it will start playing sharp almost instantly after you start performing and continue to sharpen.

At home take your tuner and your warmed up whisle and tune to the G (or top three fingers of whatever flute, whistle or recorder you will be playing). This note has to be in tune. Now test every other note against your tuner. This will tell you firstly if the instrument is in tune with itself, secondly you will learn how much you have to change the amount of breath needed to keep every note in tune for both octaves. This exercise is invaluable if your ear is not yet sensitive to notice if you are out of tune.

You are playing with a piano rather than a keyboard. It is probably best to check the tuning of that with your tuner. If may not be exactly in tune to A=440.If it is out you will need to tune your whistle accordingly.

When tuning a whistle or recoder you must tune at the volume you intend performing at. It you tune quietly again you will be sharp when performing.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 12:52 pm 
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I tune my lower octave a tad sharp a lot so that it doesn;t take quite as much breath to blow in tune. What this does though is when I blow harder to get to the second octave it brings that octave in tune.

I am gonna have to disagree with Kitty on this one. Far as I am concerned for instruments that is why God allowed tuners to be invented. :) I know plenty of musicians who cannot tell when they are flat or sharp when playing in an instrumental band setting or even vocally. Have had plenty of times when I had to ask them to tune just to prove it. I also know musicians who can hear when something is off but can't tell you if they are sharp or flat just that it is wrong and not in tune.

Playing whistile even a tunable one with other instruments can be a challenge. I have whistles that are perfectly in tune with themselves but not with anything else. A guitar for example has to tune to the whistle. This is a non tunable whistle. And even tunable whistles tend to not be completely tunable IE able to be made flat or sharp. With any slide instrument once the slide is all the way down it doesn;t go any further sharp :) So the fact is your whistle might not be able to tune to the piano.. of course its not like piano's STAY in tune forever. :) Does the band use a tuner or does it tune to the piano? If the later than perhaps it is the PIANO that needs tunig.

You could just need to find a whistle that will tune to the rest of the band. And that might not be your favorite whistle.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 1:31 pm 
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Sorry you got the blues, Bro.

Tuning is not as exact a science as we'd like it to be. Musicians are likely to have sharp ears while you probably are ministering quite well to the people in your congregation.

A week ago Sunday I was playing Kitty's Amazing Grace and didn't hear the big difference in first and second octave. I cringed big time listening to the tape. But then Josh, our whistler, who can tell you if the note you just played is an A or A#, told me he hadn't noticed at all. :roll: Go figure.

Also, it may be important to know at what level of being pushed in the manufacturer intended the whistle to be pitch perfect. That's where upper and lower octaves will be closest. My Water Weasel was pushed all the way in, which isn't ideal for that whistle.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:07 pm 
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I tune the bottom and octave Ds only. The bottom D is the most important and the octave D may have to be "blown" into tune, especially with the cheaper untweaked whistles and non-conical whistles.

That is one reason I like the Clarke Original design whistle, as the other notes are more "bendable" with breath pressure while still retaining the sweet breathy tone.

Blow the bottom D as hard as you can without breaking the octave to tune it. Whistles and flutes need that "edge" on the note to play in tune best.

You may have to buy several Clarkes (or be able to tweak them) to get some in tune ones. I usually have about a 50% acceptable rate, although I haven't ordered any in several years.

If you can tune against a D drone, you can listen for any "beats" between the D and the note you are playing and then learn whether to "lean into" or "back off" of a note.

Every make of whistle plays differently, I have found.

YMMV


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:41 pm 
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fancypiper wrote:
Every make of whistle plays differently, I have found.


heh every whistle I own plays at least slightly differently even those of the same make and model :)


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PostPosted: Tue Mar 27, 2007 6:38 pm 
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i agree with what connie said. i don't have a great ear but i'm getting better now that i need to get better. playing with the folk group at church is all about blending. when a whistle doesn't work for me and a specific song, i play the guitar or the harmonica.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:37 am 
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shadoes wrote:
fancypiper wrote:
Every make of whistle plays differently, I have found.


heh every whistle I own plays at least slightly differently even those of the same make and model :)


This is one of the great things about whistles. Each one has its own character. They are kind of like people. You can pick a whistle to match your mood or the mood of the tune you want to play. Tuning is never a problem for me since I have never played with anyone else except at a whistle workshop at the Gettysburg Irish Fest. There were so many differences in tuning it was funny. But remember the whistle is a folk instrument. C is a note somewhere between B and D.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:00 am 
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Thanks for your input everybody. We do use a keyboard rather than a piano.

I'm not going to worry too much about being in perfect tune. I'm playing for The Lord, and I know he likes it whether I'm in tune or not.

Thanks for the tip about tuning to the G, Adrian, I'm going to try that.

Also, I keep my whistles in my car, so I'm sure the temp. is playing tricks on me.

Thanks again, and God Bless,
Ron

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 9:33 am 
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if it is an electronic keyboard then most like it could be tuned as well with a nob somewhere on it. Again does the rest of the band tune to the keyboard or does everymember tune to the SAME tuner? Found out a long time ago that not all tuners are equal even tuners of the same make and model. Bandmate and I had the same tuner but they did not tune exactly the same. Tuning with the same tuner fixed the problem.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:38 am 
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Yes, I have noticed the guitar, and cello players tuning to the keyboard.

We have one gentleman, who plays a Gibson hollowbody electric, who tunes to a tuner, and then ends up tuning to the keyboard. :P

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:41 am 
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eternalbro wrote:
Yes, I have noticed the guitar, and cello players tuning to the keyboard.

We have one gentleman, who plays a Gibson hollowbody electric, who tunes to a tuner, and then ends up tuning to the keyboard. :P


I'd check the keyboard ... with a tuner and with the onboard settings.

What type of keyboard is it, do you know?

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 10:55 am 
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Don't know what kind it is, but it's brand new. Just got it a couple months ago.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:07 am 
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Depending on the keyboard and the patch/sound used, tuning could be a very subjective operation.

I have an s90 ES and the piano voice I use is 'stretch' tuned - that is, the bottom is just a bit flat and the top is a bit sharp (about 20-25 cents at the extreme), as is a real grand piano. Any 'chorus' effect could also affect the tuning as it is a pitch/phasing effect.

IMHO, the tuner should be the final authority, rather than the keyboard. You can play them together after both are tuned to check if the 'agree'. Also, check the settings on both the tuner and the keys to verify both are set to 440hz and go from there. You can't blow a whistle to pitch if everyone else is in different places, pitch-wise.

Just my 2-cents ...

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 11:22 am 
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eternalbro wrote:
Thanks for the tip about tuning to the G, Adrian, I'm going to try that.


You're welcome. Learnt that from the recorder world.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 3:22 pm 
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i would like someone to invent a device that i could stick my guitar in and the device would automatically tune my guitar.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 7:41 pm 
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Well I want a "tune guitar" button back on the sound board! :mrgreen:

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2007 8:17 pm 
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mutepointe wrote:
i would like someone to invent a device that i could stick my guitar in and the device would automatically tune my guitar.


I think that would be a ''guitar shop.'' ;)


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:06 am 
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What I need is a guitar that will instantly retune itself for every key I play in and for every chord I use.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 3:08 am 
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What do trombone players do when others are tuning their instruments?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2007 6:34 am 
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Adrian wrote:
What do trombone players do when others are tuning their instruments?


Throw em all off by playing while everyone else is tuning.
lol

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