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 Post subject: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 1:55 pm 
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I'm only a couple of weeks into my whistle adventure, but having a great time learning and exploring. I've already purchased more whistles than I care to disclose and it's been interesting comparing them. I've got a lot to learn about breath control before I can adequately compare them, but the most troubling aspect is getting a good c natural. No surprise from what I've been reading here, but on some 0XX000 works, and on others it doesn't, or at least not very well. In addition to the pitch sometimes being off, the tone can also suffer.

So a few questions for those who play quite a few different whistles:

-Do you memorize a specific c nat. fingering for each, and if so how do you stay on track?
-Is half holing a better option if I end up remaining a whistle slut?
-Finally, a thumb hole would seem to be a great way for each manufacturer to address this. I see some high end makers list them as an option, but why are they never there on cheap whistles. Is it just tradition? Or is moving the thumb problematic in how it affects the grip?

Thanks for any insights,
Jack


Last edited by JackJ on Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:21 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:10 pm 
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JackJ wrote:
00XX000

You mean OXXOOO? (You've got seven holes there.)

Quote:
-Do you memorize a specific c nat. fingering for each,

Basically, yes. Sometimes more than one option per whistle.

Quote:
and if so how do you stay on track?

Experience.

Quote:
-Is half holing a better option of I end up remaining a whistle slut?

Half-holing and forked-fingering options are complementary alternatives, so both useful to have.

Quote:
-Finally, a thumb hole would seem to be a great way for each manufacturer to address this. I see some high end makers list them as an option, but why are they never there on cheap whistles. Is it just tradition? Or is moving the thumb problematic in how it affects the grip?

Tone quality changes. C nats produced by thumb holes don't respond to ornamentation or interaction with other notes the same way. And I don't like where they force the thumb to go on whistles, though I've got them on my transverse flutes where they fall in a better place. But I still regard them as an additional option rather than a replacement for forked fingerings.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:20 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
JackJ wrote:
00XX000

You mean OXXOOO? (You've got seven holes there.)



Whoops--corrected my post, but yes, that's what I meant. And thanks for the detailed description. I'm not yet up to working on ornamentation, but I can see how a thumb hole would be problematic in that regard, and hadn't considered that it might also affect tone.

Chris


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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 2:33 pm 
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JackJ wrote:
I'm only a couple of weeks into my whistle adventure...

-Do you memorize a specific c nat. fingering for each, and if so how do you stay on track?
-Is half holing a better option of I end up remaining a whistle slut?
-Finally, a thumb hole would seem to be a great way for each manufacturer to address this. I see some high end makers list them as an option, but why are they never there on cheap whistles. Is it just tradition? Or is moving the thumb problematic in how it affects the grip?


I had the same question when I started. Half holing is a skill you build over time like any other. It sounds like your suggesting that you are wondering if you should give any partiality to it. For that, there is no one correct answer. It's mainly a subjective thing. The way a whistler achieves the notes is really up to them based on what sounds the best. Half holing the C nat typically would allow for some continuity when changing from one whistle to another. Which would have some advantages.

Half holing is something I do quite often. Oddly enough, I rarely use it hit the C nat.. Perhaps its just from habits developed while learning? I have a thumbhole on a G Burke whistle of mine. I tend to use it because it allows me to hit the note very sweetly. But, the idea to go with nothing but whistles with a thumb hole would not at all be a road I would want to tread down.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Thu Mar 01, 2018 7:07 pm 
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Its weird because a lot of fingering charts, online and in books say all open is C# and C nat is OXXOOO. But I'm not sure. Does it vary with different whistles? Which reninds me I must check with my tuner next time I'm playing.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 12:59 am 
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AuLoS303 wrote:
Its weird because a lot of fingering charts, online and in books say all open is C# and C nat is OXXOOO. But I'm not sure. Does it vary with different whistles? Which reninds me I must check with my tuner next time I'm playing.

Those fingerings are standard. But there are differences between different makes of whistle in how in tune or not both C# and Cnat are. The tuning of both is a compromise, because it has to be to make the whistle work at all. (Ask a maker why - I only vaguely grasp the reasons behind this.) And there are some whistles where you might not want to use OXX OOO for Cnat - Sindt for instance. I believe that John Sindt recommends using half-holing for Cnat.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 2:14 am 
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To bring OXXOOO down far enough for a true/acceptable C nat, the top hole (T1, the O before the Xs) has to be smaller, which also impacts the venting for C# because it has the biggest single effect of all the Os in OOOOOO. So enlarging T1 to raise C# also sharpens OXXOOO C, necessitating other fingerings like OXXXOO, OXXXOX or half-holing to bring it back down.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Fri Mar 02, 2018 5:08 am 
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Shading the top hole with the first finger can help to flatten the note slightly if necessary. I gather Davy Spillane uses this technique with the big hole Overtons where OXXOOO is slightly sharp.


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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 7:26 am 
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The half-hole v cross-fingered C natural issue comes up here fairly regularly.

It's not necessarily an either/or thing. As mentioned above you can "shade" or partially open the top hole while doing the C natural crossfingering. That's the classic uilleann pipe C natural.

Here you can clearly see my pipe-style C natural, doing the C natural crossfingering and "uncurling" the top finger

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rJm6BQ-Qxcg

Many whistleplayers myself included partially open the top hole both while fingering C# and while fingering C natural depending on the situation.

I use the crossfingered C natural in the low octave (oxx oox)

Indeed I have more facility in complicated passages using C natural than the open C sharp. There are passages in some tunes which would be challenging, I think, using the half-holed C natural but are easy using the crossfingered C natural.

In the 2nd octave many traditional tunes approach C natural from B, and high C natural often occurs in the sequence B > C > B. In this case I partially open the top hole rather than using a crossfingering. BTW the second-octave crossfingering for C natural is different (oxo xxx)

About the tuning, I want my whistles made so that the crossfingered C natural is bang-on using the same breath as the neighbouring notes. This nearly always means that the open C# will be a hair flat (at least to Equal Temperament) but I'm used to giving that note a bit of a boost to bring it up to pitch. It's a habit I got from years of playing wooden flute and it seems natural to me.

What I don't like is when makers have the top hole too big and/or too high up in a (in my opinion) misguided effort to make the open C# in tune to ET using normal breath, which spoils the crossfingered C natural and sometimes also spoils the use of that hole as a vent for Middle D. As Boehm wrote that hole has multiple functions, even on a Boehm flute.

To me a thumb-hole for C natural is completely unnecessary. I have a Burke with a thumb-hole and there's virtually no difference in pitch or timbre between the C natural I get from it, or the one I get from crossfingering.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Sat Mar 03, 2018 11:46 am 
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Quote:
Many whistleplayers myself included partially open the top hole both while fingering C#

Don't understand, Richard, when C# should be either OOOOOO or OOOXXX?


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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 7:52 am 
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Mikethebook wrote:
Quote:
Many whistleplayers myself included partially open the top hole both while fingering C#

Don't understand, Richard, when C# should be either OOOOOO or OOOXXX?


I might partially open the top hole while the other five fingers are where they would be for C fingering natural, like I'm doing on that video, which is the uilleann piper's standard way of playing C natural. The top finger "uncurls" creating a bend up to pitch. It might end up off the instrument, or it might remain in contact, continuing to shade the note.

Or I might partially open the top hole while the other five fingers are where they would be for fingering C sharp, in this case the top finger not opening the hole as much, and creating a C natural. This is my standard thing for 2nd octave passages going B > Cnat. I'm still fingering B, but cracking open the top hole to get C natural.

The action of the top finger is the same in both instances, you just change how much the top hole is opened to get the pitch you want.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Sun Mar 04, 2018 9:24 am 
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Richard I'm not understanding which hole you mean by "the top hole" in your descriptions. Do you mean the top hole of the whistle, nearest your mouth?(regardless of whether you are fingering it or not) Or the hole nearest your mouth that you have a finger covering over?

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Mon Mar 12, 2018 7:48 am 
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I half hole a lot for Cnat. It's a really useful skill to learn because in addition to Cnat,it gives you the ability to play Bb,Fnat,G# etc.

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 Post subject: Re: C Natural Blues
PostPosted: Wed Jun 06, 2018 11:51 am 
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I know this thread is a few months old but I hope it's still okay to contribute! I'm considering buying a Syn high D whistle but having tried my friend's one, the C natural is EXTREMELY sharp. I asked the maker (Erle Bartlett) about it and he said it's a problem he hasn't yet managed to fix, but he could put a thumb hole in if I wanted one. Now I'm trying to decide whether to go for a thumb hole. I'm pretty crap at half-holing but I don't know whether the thumb hole would make everything else harder, as I've never encountered one on a whistle before. I'd like my C naturals to sound pretty though...


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