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 Post subject: Super newbie question
PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:08 am 
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What's trick to getting high 2nd octave tones out of a whistle. I have a Clarke D, and now a Freeman Mellow Dog in D, and I can get the lower half of the 2nd octave, but it fizzles out around the high B or A. Even the next note down requires some really hard blowing, and the resulting tone sends my dog howling. Should it really that painfully loud? Or is there a trick to it that I'm not getting?

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High D's: Freeman Mellow Dog, Tweaked Clarke original, Chris Wall tunable
Low whistles: Kerry Optima D, Whistlesmith Low D & G
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 16, 2018 11:21 am 
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There are no tricks. Plenty of practice with proper finger coverage of holes and good breath control for each note. Its practice that will get you the two octaves. Whistles vary so learning the nuances of each whistle will take plenty of practice. Enjoy your whistling.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 1:41 am 
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Diaphragm... Breathing from the diaphragm while consciously relaxing the shoulders, neck and arms was how I was taught. It seems to have worked for me. You want to be using the air from the bottom of your lungs for most of your whistling instead of the air at the top of your lungs, but especially push it out from the bottom with your diaphragm for those high notes. Sometimes we tense up when we try to hit the high notes. Let the dog outside and try it for a few minutes at a time off and on for a number of days. :)

When we are exerting ourselves running or whatnot we naturally breath from the top of our rib cage, chest heaving. When you are whistling you want to push up the air from your stomach area. You may be doing this already, but if you aren't. the easiest way to see what I mean is to lie on the floor with an object on your abdomen, a little below your belly button. A book works well. A cat will do. Try to keep your chest really still and breath so your are lifting that book/cat on the inhale and letting it down on the exhale. It should move a couple of inches up and down. When you are sitting or standing playing your whistle activate those same muscles, though not as obviously.

Eventually those high notes will come. It might be easier on the Freedman Mellow Dog. But experiment with both whistles. Clarks seem to vary in my limited experience with them.


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 3:54 am 
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In addition to breathing from "deeper down" I think the muscles around the mouth make the difference between upper and lower octave. In order to get out the high notes cleanly you want to blow with a focussed, cold, fast airstream, not a wide, warm one as for the low(er) notes. I achieve that by tightening the muscles around my mouth a bit - almost like for whistling without an instrument - and giving an clear impulse with my belly muscles. You can test (silently - dog and neighbours will be glad) by blowing against your hand - there actually is a difference in temperature (probably because of airspeed - with fast air you get wind chill...)

Sarah Jeffery explains it well here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S5BJDurzX6M (blowing starts on 6:07 - what comes before is only applicable to the recorder) and in even more detail here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FDGcb0Y ... 5BJDurzX6M (from 2:55)

(If you don't like the lady's style right off - I didn't - it's well worth getting used to because she offers lots of useful information. Mainly for recorder, but some things can be transferred. And she also has videos on advanced tin whistle techniques somewhere which I haven't yet watched.)


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PostPosted: Sat Mar 17, 2018 9:20 am 
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Adding a bit of "tongueing" to get the high notes started helps. Instead of just huffing air into the whistle, use your tongue as if you were saying the letter T or D.Try this with your hand close in front of your mouth (no whistle) and you'll see what I mean. This gives a little added burst of air that helps get some notes to "speak".
If you're not tongueing already, it's also a useful way to articulate any notes if done subtly. Some people avoid tongueing completely,others use it all the time. I use it selectively for emphasis or variation. It's just another tool.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:00 am 
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brewerpaul wrote:
Adding a bit of "tongueing" to get the high notes started helps. Instead of just huffing air into the whistle, use your tongue as if you were saying the letter T or D.Try this with your hand close in front of your mouth (no whistle) and you'll see what I mean. This gives a little added burst of air that helps get some notes to "speak".
If you're not tongueing already, it's also a useful way to articulate any notes if done subtly. Some people avoid tongueing completely,others use it all the time. I use it selectively for emphasis or variation. It's just another tool.


Thank you for all the advice. I did find that tonguing did help to "punch" the initial air blast and kick it into the higher octave. I'll play with that a while until I get the rest of the breathing figured out.

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High D's: Freeman Mellow Dog, Tweaked Clarke original, Chris Wall tunable
Low whistles: Kerry Optima D, Whistlesmith Low D & G
Tony Dixon D flute
Bodhran; 16" Bridget


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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 9:36 am 
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DaveVisi wrote:
What's trick to getting high 2nd octave tones out of a whistle. I have a Clarke D, and now a Freeman Mellow Dog in D, and I can get the lower half of the 2nd octave, but it fizzles out around the high B or A. Even the next note down requires some really hard blowing, and the resulting tone sends my dog howling. Should it really that painfully loud? Or is there a trick to it that I'm not getting?


If the above suggestions don't work you may wish to look at a different angle.

One thing to consider is that your perception of the octaves may be skewed. What you think is the 2nd octave may actually be the third.. I have a Freeman Mellow Dog in D and that thing drives like a cadillac. It really is a smooth comfortable experience. Transitioning on the the octave on that whistle is a snap. There really should be no hard blowing required at all.

You may want to experiment by attempting to pull back the amount of air your pushing through the whistle. You may find that you have yet to discover the first octave.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 19, 2018 7:53 pm 
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Yes when newbies describe these troubles I often wonder what is actually happening. We would have to hear a recording to know.

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PostPosted: Tue Mar 20, 2018 12:42 pm 
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I can compare myself to YouTube videos to see if I'm even close. I can tell the difference between the low octave and the next one up just by running up the scale. My wind gives out hitting the higher notes in the second octave. Practice seems to be the answer.

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High D's: Freeman Mellow Dog, Tweaked Clarke original, Chris Wall tunable
Low whistles: Kerry Optima D, Whistlesmith Low D & G
Tony Dixon D flute
Bodhran; 16" Bridget


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 21, 2018 12:18 pm 
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In my experience with recorders (lots of) and tin whistles (much less) the second octave is easy (enough) up to g and begins to get difficult from a upwards. There's renaissance soprano/tenor recorders around which won't play higher than a at all, others only for expert players. Then came the baroque build with its conical bore and the high notes became (more easily) achievable. But most tin whistles are cylindrical...

So, DareVisi, as the Freeman Mellow Dog should be a good instrument, I suppose you've nailed it: "Practice is the answer." And of course there's no need to run through both octaves on one breath! You might also check against a chromatic tuner (there's smartphone apps) whether you are not blowing with too much pressure overall - I was surprised how very little air is needed for a tin whistle.

Out of curiosity: Are the Clarke D and the Freeman Mellow Dog equally difficult for you to play?


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 22, 2018 8:59 pm 
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DaveVisi wrote:
I can compare myself to YouTube videos to see if I'm even close. I can tell the difference between the low octave and the next one up just by running up the scale. My wind gives out hitting the higher notes in the second octave. Practice seems to be the answer.

Yep. Practice makes perfect, and perfect practice makes you more perfect faster :lol: ! Seriously, like Paul said, tongueing may help. For me, I was taught to "relax" into the higher notes of the second octave, despite the higher breath requirements. That way, you start to find the sweet spot as far as breath control in the second octave goes.
Cheers!


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 23, 2018 8:20 am 
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Tongueing does make it easier/cleaner to jump from a first (low) octave note to a second octave note.
I start the second octave note with a slightly assertive "Chur" (with my tongue rising up a bit towards the roof of my mouth which narrows/concentrates the air stream so that it's Chur instead of Cho). The lower octave note before it, meanwhile, I mouth more like "hoo" or "too".

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