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 Post subject: Low(er) or High Whistles?
PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 7:57 pm 
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Dear Friends, I know this might sound a little daft, but...
I am trying to choose just one of my whstles to play almost all the time, instead of switching on and off, back and forth, making myself nuts. Sometimes I even change whistles with every song--not healthy for the music!
I am relearning to love my D whistle, though it's pretty high sometimes (I wear earplugs anyway so it doesn't matter). I love the D whistle because it's "whistly."
I have a Bb whistle by Burke, and I love to play that too. My ears kind of go, "Ahhhh" when I go from the D to the Bb.
However, it seems a lower whistle loses some of the chirp of a high whistle, and they sound more fluty than whistly. And that seems to take a bit of the rush from playing it.
What do you like best, higher or lower whistles? Do lower whistles lose something, in your opinion? Do high whistles irritate you? Do you have a favorite you play most of the time?

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 8:10 pm 
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I could never choose like that. The best way I've found to look at it is to just think of them as two different instruments. You pick up the low whistle when you WANT something flutey, breathy and a little melancholy. You pick up the higher whistle when you want something high, fast and sleek. Or slow but chirpy and whistley.

How to choose? Wow, I don't know.

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:13 pm 
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For me I think A and Bb dont 'lose' much but it does depend on the make of whistle. I don't play the high D very much now and play A or Bb as my high whistle. Chieftain A is bright and responsive and kind to the ears. WW Bb is also superb.


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PostPosted: Thu Aug 16, 2007 10:14 pm 
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My favorite 'whistle' is the folk flute, equivalent to a Low D, but much easier to play ... next comes a C. However, I would not/could not choose exclude all my other whistles from play simply to stick to one key. On the TPE song "Joshua Fit de Battle ob Jericho" (which hasn't been recorded yet) the only whistle in consideration for the recording is the Reyburn Mezzo G. Why? I don't know .... it's the only one that seems to 'fit' what I want to record.

But, if you really want to stick to the high D whistles, just send me the Burke Bb. I promise to give it a good home ... ;)

:mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 7:47 am 
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I personally favor C, D and Eb whistles. For lower whistles I play D, F, and G. If I want a flutey sound I pick up my folk flute or my Olwell Bamboo G. I like to pick the whistle for the tune. Some tunes call for a Humphreys. C tunes call for a Judy. Many tunes call for a Feadog. I love Eb Gens. I seldom play a Bb. The one I play the most is the one on my computer desk which is usually my old beat up Feadog held together with super glue and tape.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:41 am 
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Thanks for all your replies. Connie, I think you hit it on the head for me here:

ConnieS wrote:
I could never choose like that. The best way I've found to look at it is to just think of them as two different instruments. You pick up the low whistle when you WANT something flutey, breathy and a little melancholy. You pick up the higher whistle when you want something high, fast and sleek. Or slow but chirpy and whistley.

How to choose? Wow, I don't know.


...because they do seem almost like different instruments.
I notice hymns and airs do better with the Bb, and Irish jigs and tunes better with the D.

So maybe I can play mostly just two whistles....or three...or four...
:lol:

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 11:56 am 
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kelly wrote:
Thanks for all your replies. Connie, I think you hit it on the head for me here:

ConnieS wrote:
I could never choose like that. The best way I've found to look at it is to just think of them as two different instruments. You pick up the low whistle when you WANT something flutey, breathy and a little melancholy. You pick up the higher whistle when you want something high, fast and sleek. Or slow but chirpy and whistley.

How to choose? Wow, I don't know.


...because they do seem almost like different instruments.
I notice hymns and airs do better with the Bb, and Irish jigs and tunes better with the D.

So maybe I can play mostly just two whistles....or three...or four...
:lol:


I was chatting just now to one of the really big names in the whistle world and he said that around the house he mainly plays an A whistle.


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 Post subject: Re: Low(er) or High Whistles?
PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:02 pm 
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kelly wrote:
Dear Friends, I know this might sound a little daft, but...
I am trying to choose just one of my whstles to play almost all the time, instead of switching on and off, back and forth, making myself nuts. Sometimes I even change whistles with every song--not healthy for the music!

You mean there is another way of chosing the whistle to play??
kelly wrote:
I am relearning to love my D whistle, though it's pretty high sometimes (I wear earplugs anyway so it doesn't matter). I love the D whistle because it's "whistly."

My Clark orig. designs don't require earplugs, only my (orig design) Susato and Burke blacktip brass Session Pro.
kelly wrote:
Do high whistles irritate you?

No, I am a whistle freak!

kelly wrote:
Do you have a favorite you play most of the time?

I think I play my Clarke whistles (D and C) most, followed by my Generation brass Bb tube topped with a Blacktop fipple.


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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 1:38 pm 
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I like higher whistles, because I play flute, and pretend to play tenor recorder, so if I ever need to sound "low", I can just use one of those.

The whistle I always end up playing is a green Feadog head on a nickel Generation body. My feadog body got bent in half (dad and I were wrestling- all in play mind you, lol), and my Generation head cracked (don't know how that one happened... it just fell apart spontaneously), so, yeah. It's the only working D whistle I have right now (besides a leaky Cooperman), but even so, I like it a lot.

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PostPosted: Fri Aug 17, 2007 2:13 pm 
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I would never, never force myself to play only one or two whistles. I have about 11 at present, and have played them all at various times. I do tend to stick to a select few now, but that's only because I've found that I like them better than my others.


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 11, 2007 8:32 pm 
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Yeah, higher whistles irritate my hearing; sometimes even upper octave of my low D!!! A misspent youth working around high-pitched machinery (chain saws, chippers) and no hearing protection. Kids, don't ever try this at home or at work!

That being said, I've lately begun to play my Susato C and Feadog high D in little bits. Though no more than one tune at a time.

I find that certain tunes "fit" certain keys better than others; probably because I mimic the keys that Joanie plays them in (I do whistle karaoke in the truck at stop lights). F'rinstance: Magh Seola (air) = low G; Ned o' the Hill (hey!) = low F (actually key's Bflat); most Scots pipe tunes = Bflat, 'cuz it's "close" to GHB tuning; Foggy Dew = D minor, 'cuz our fiddler knows it in that key; Leaving of Liverpool = low A, 'cuz that's what our singer likes.

I'll also switch around in practise to keep my fingers' muscle memory sharp for each whistle.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:21 am 
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I will try not to divert the thread, but I read alot about the "folk flute" It sounds like a good first flute. I've been tempted to try a flute. Any recommendations?

Jorg

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 Post subject: Re: Low(er) or High Whistles?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 8:34 am 
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Jorg wrote:
I will try not to divert the thread, but I read alot about the "folk flute" It sounds like a good first flute. I've been tempted to try a flute. Any recommendations?

Jorg

I play a Sweetheart flute in padauk. It's a decent flute in the same price range.

kelly wrote:
Dear Friends, I know this might sound a little daft, but...
I am trying to choose just one of my whstles to play almost all the time, instead of switching on and off, back and forth, making myself nuts. Sometimes I even change whistles with every song--not healthy for the music!

This is sound thinking, actually. Breath pressure is different from instrument to instrument, and frequent switches hinder progress to a larger extent than many people realize.

Perhaps a way around the problem of not getting the chirping sound is to play a lower key whistle, such as a Bb or low G, and when you need the higher birdlike whistle sound, play it in the second octave.


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 Post subject: Re: Low(er) or High Whistles?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:20 am 
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Walden wrote:
This is sound thinking, actually. Breath pressure is different from instrument to instrument, and frequent switches hinder progress to a larger extent than many people realize.


I agree with you Aaron. The lion's share of my playing time is spent on a handful of whistles now.


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 Post subject: Re: Low(er) or High Whistles?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 9:31 am 
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kelly wrote:
However, it seems a lower whistle loses some of the chirp of a high whistle, and they sound more fluty than whistly. And that seems to take a bit of the rush from playing it.


It may be worth asking on C&F what makes of lower whistles keep their 'chirp'.

Which Burke Bb do you have? I find the brass models to be two or three times more chirpy than the aluminium ones. If your Bb is an aluminium one you might find that the perfect solution is a Burke brass Bb.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 10:10 am 
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Jorg wrote:
I will try not to divert the thread, but I read alot about the "folk flute" It sounds like a good first flute. I've been tempted to try a flute. Any recommendations?

Jorg


Jorg, I have a Burns folk flute and love it. In order to explain what I found so special in the folk flute, here's a bit of my flute 'history'. First flute owned was a Hall's Crystal flute in G -- didn't have much luck getting pretty music from it. Next flute was a Dixon 3 pc polymer -- also more than a tad frustrating. I wanted to get the sound of a flute and was bombing seriously. In desperation and on the recommendation of alespa (Thanks, Matt!) I ordered a folk flute. Out of the box, put it together, picked it up and played "Amazing Grace" along with a Robin Mark CD that was on! Hot diggety dog -- what a thrill that was!! I could make recognizable music with the Burns folk flute from the get go. This is why I always highly recommend that flute as a starter. Not everyone may have the same luck with it. Ron has one -- maybe he'll chime in.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 11:59 am 
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Thanks, Judy!

I'll look for the Burns

What makes a flute a "folk"?

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:13 pm 
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I personally love my Alba low F. It's the perfect compromise between the chirpiness and the fluteyness ... also, most female Celtic singers can be best accompanied on the Low F.

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 12:50 pm 
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Jorg wrote:
Thanks, Judy!

I'll look for the Burns

What makes a flute a "folk"?


I think he just calls it a folk flute because it is his cheapest flute, more easily affordable for 'just plain folks' ... ;)

Here's a link to Casey's website. Sometimes (although this is not something he advertises) he may have 'seconds' which are perfectly made but will have a flaw in the wood -- a bit a sapwood, or discoloration. There will be a little discount in price if he has any of those available. Mine is one of his 'seconds' and I love the splash of sapwood on it -- adds character IMO.


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 2:28 pm 
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Thanks, Judy

I saw the price Yikes!!

Maybe it's folk as in "Rich Folk"

Gotta go see how much a kidney is worth.

See ya!

Jorg

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 4:57 pm 
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Same here, Brotha!


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 12, 2007 5:19 pm 
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:lol:

Yeah, flutes are not as reasonable in price as whistles. I was browsing Chris Abell's website today (window shopping only) and looked at a flute with a more than $10 grand price. :shock: Yeouch!

A cheaper place to start might be with one of Doug Tipple's PVC flutes. If you just want to try one, I have a 3 piece Tipple D and a Tipple C (high) flute ready to loan out anytime. If I can find it, the Dixon 3pc polymer can have a visiting pass, too. ;)


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PostPosted: Sat Oct 13, 2007 11:00 am 
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I've a Tipple in F, and it sounds pretty good for a piece of plumbing played by a novice flute player. Pretty good way to start if you're not sure whether you're going to take to playing flute.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:05 am 
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As Judy said I have a Folk Flute and it is very good. It is one of his seconds. I asked him what the difference was between the regulars and the seconds. He said the seconds are made from wood that has too much sap wood showing but it is made exactly the same way. The sap wood does not affect it in any way except appearance. I also have an Olwell bamboo in G which is a very nice flute but a bit pricey now. I couldn't play the Olwell very well untill I got the CB Folk Flute. After playing it for a while I picked up the Olwell and found that it now played easily and well. I have also made a few PVC flutes that turned out fairly well.

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 14, 2007 8:30 am 
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RonKiley wrote:
I couldn't play the Olwell very well untill I got the CB Folk Flute. After playing it for a while I picked up the Olwell and found that it now played easily and well


Yeah -- I noticed that, too. My playing ability on all the other flutes improved after playing the folk flute. T'was definitely a surprising, yet wonderful, side benefit of the folk flute.


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