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 Post subject: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 6:56 pm 
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As a relative newbie, I'm curious (perhaps confused) about a couple of things:

Where is the bell note on a High D whistle in relation to Middle C on a piano? Is it the note above, or an octave above or below?

Also, until today, I believed the lowest whistle to be a Low D. Now I see that there's a Low C. Is that the lowest? Or is somebody always making whistles in lower and lower keys?

And, the nomenclature that some whistle-makers use is confusing to me. I understand the need for Low and High to designate C, D, Eb, E, and F whistles. But the middle keys, G, A, Bb, and B are designated by various folks as “alto”, “mezzo”, “tenor”, etc. Why not just call them G, A, Bb, and B since (to my limited knowledge), there are no high or low versions of those keys. I'm so confused. Any help in clarifying will be greatly appreciated. Thanks for reading.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 7:52 pm 
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The bell note of a Low D whistle is D4, one tone higher than Middle C (C4). A standard High D whistle is D5, an octave above that.

Though they are less common, I've heard tell of whistles higher than High D: Eb, E, F and G ... and lower than Low D: C, B and A. Some makers may have gone to even further extremes. Thus, G, A, Bb and B by themselves are not unambiguous.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 24, 2017 8:00 pm 
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Tunborough wrote:
I've heard tell of whistles higher than High D: Eb, E, F and G ...

I once owned a Gen high F. I didn't even know they existed until I saw it among the oddments at a guitar store. It being the only one, I snapped it up. I must have lucked out because it was the sweetest-sounding whistle you could ask for. Despite the pitch, hornpipes for some reason sounded especially good on it. Enchanting, like.

Tunborough wrote:
...and lower than Low D: C, B and A. Some makers may have gone to even further extremes. Thus, G, A, Bb and B by themselves are not unambiguous.

And on the exact opposite, I've seen a low F. Of course the guy was tall with long arms and big hands. The thing sounded like Julia Child.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 3:36 am 
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You might get confused by the fact that conventional whistle notation renders the notes an octave lower than they'd actually appear on a piano keyboard or 'grand staff' notation. It's easier to read that way.

It'd be accurate for a low whistle, but all the conventions for notating whistle music were created before the invention of low whistles. To be exquisitely accurate it should have the 'octavo' symbol applied above the staff, but no one does that.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 4:31 am 
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My Gen. high F is a sweet whistle. Easy player. I also have the (highest Gen., I think) high G, but 1) it's nothing like the F in sound, and 2) I can't really play it because the holes are too close for my fingers.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 8:08 am 
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Tor wrote:
My Gen. high F is a sweet whistle. Easy player. I also have the (highest Gen., I think) high G, but 1) it's nothing like the F in sound, and 2) I can't really play it because the holes are too close for my fingers.

I have small hands, and my fingers are very close together when I play my Eb Blackbird. I can't imagine being able to play anything higher than that.


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 12:09 pm 
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I gave the little Generation high G too, and I have small hands and fingers. It seems to only take a couple minutes to get used to the holes being so close together. The holes on the tiny G are about 30% smaller than the holes on say the Gen Bb, so they're easier to cover. But yes I suspect that a fellow with big hands and fatter fingers might have trouble with the high G whistle. :really:

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:35 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
Tunborough wrote:
I've heard tell of whistles higher than High D: Eb, E, F and G ...

I once owned a Gen high F. I didn't even know they existed until I saw it among the oddments at a guitar store. It being the only one, I snapped it up. I must have lucked out because it was the sweetest-sounding whistle you could ask for. Despite the pitch, hornpipes for some reason sounded especially good on it. Enchanting, like.


Spider Stacy plays one on the song Billy's Bones by the Pogues, which borrows its melody from Mrs. McGrath, a humorous anti-war song, though which war I cannot say. I recently acquired an old high F whistle marked R.Clarke which I believe is pre-WWII


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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Tue Jul 25, 2017 1:56 pm 
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Spider Stacy plays one on the song Billy's Bones by the Pogues


Liam O'Flynn on Planxty's Little Drummer? Mary Bergin's Mo Mhuirnin Ban on the first record?

There are quite a few Victorian little F an G whistles knocking about, more popular then, than they are now perhaps?

My first F came out of an old grocery shop near Hardwicke st in Dublin, in 1979. Only a day or so before I found my first set of pipes nearby. The whistle landed on the flagstones a few times and has a bit of a chipped head but it's still going.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Wed Jul 26, 2017 7:35 pm 
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ceilidhdog wrote:
I understand the need for Low and High to designate C, D, Eb, E, and F whistles. But the middle keys, G, A, Bb, and B are designated by various folks as “alto”, “mezzo”, “tenor”, etc. Why not just call them G, A, Bb, and B...


One problem is that the various makers aren't all on the same page concerting nomenclature.

I like "mezzo" for the middle keys like G and F, which are seen both an octave higher and an octave lower.

It doesn't feel right to me to call the A and G whistles halfway between a high D and a Low D "Low" whistles. It's arbitrary I suppose where the "Low" range begins. For me it includes E, Eb, D, and C.

I like the term "bass" whistles for those below Low C, but again it's arbitrary.

In any case the standard cardboard display thing for Generation whistles had Bb, C, D, Eb, F, and G. So there are hundreds, perhaps thousands, of tiny Generation G and F whistles out there in people's hands.

Alba whistles makes bass B, Bb, and A whistles as a regular thing. I have the Bass A and it's wonderful.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:46 am 
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I can't imagine having the air for a whistle lower than D, nor a finger stretch for C without keys. Susato has made both low whistles with keys, but I couldn't recommend them. I have seen an ENORMOUS whistle once that took 3 people to play because you had to cover the holes with your hands.

IMO attaching labels like 'mezzo' and such is like putting a gown on a goat. Its a folk instrument.

Yours,
Tygh

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Sun Jul 30, 2017 7:28 pm 
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Tyghress wrote:
Susato has made both low whistles with keys, but I couldn't recommend them.


Why is that?

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 6:09 am 
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Tyghress wrote:
I can't imagine having the air for a whistle lower than D, nor a finger stretch for C without keys.


In my experience whistles vary more by maker than by size in the matter of air consumption. Burkes across the board (I've owned them in several sizes from low D to high D) take more air than most; my Burke "session bore" high D took about as much air as my MK and Goldie low Ds.

My Alba bass A takes no more air than my Burke low Eb.

Tyghress wrote:
I can't imagine... a finger stretch for C without keys.


That varies from maker to maker. My Alba low C has finger-spacing more comfortable than some low Ds I've played.

Tyghress wrote:
Susato has made both (D and C) low whistles with keys, but I couldn't recommend them.


In my opinion Susatos get better as they get lower. I had a keyless Susato low C that was a great player, and Susato low Ds are very good. Both were keyless by the way.

I think the keyed Susato low whistles are great for people who are ergonomically challenged by low whistles. I do wish that Susato would use their existing low whistle technology and make much lower whistles. I'd love to have a Susato keyed Bass D.

But I'm with you in that IMHO a Susato low D isn't in the same category as low Ds by Goldie, Overton, MK, Lofgren, Reyburn, Reviol, and Burke (to name a few).

Tyghress wrote:
IMO attaching labels like 'mezzo' and such is like putting a gown on a goat.


Yes it struck me as strange the first time I heard people talk about "mezzo whistles" but Italian words are standard in international music terminology. Their universality makes them useful. If one prefers using the English that's fine too, though "middle G whistle" sounds a bit odd to my ears. (I don't know why; "low, middle, high" seems perfectly logical.)

BTW the word "music" is from Greek, "instrument" from Latin... we wouldn't be able to have much of a discussion about musical instruments if we had to stick to native English words.

It might interest some to know that Leo Rowsome, an Irish player and maker of an Irish folk instrument, used numerous Italian musical terms in his tutor for the uilleann pipes including mordent, appoggiatura, and acciaccatura.

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 Post subject: Re: Newbie Questions
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 8:10 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
BTW the word "music" is from Greek, "instrument" from Latin... we wouldn't be able to have much of a discussion about musical instruments if we had to stick to native English words.


We'd probably just get along with "glee" and "dreamlooms" or something of that ilk. ;)

(< OE gliw, music, entertainment & OE dream, joy, mirth, merriment, music with loma, tool or device)

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