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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 6:15 am 
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Let's say you wanted to play anything in a hymnal, for example, with minimal half-holing (only for some accidentals). What whistles would you prefer to own?

So far it seems to me that G, C, D, and Bb would cover a lot of bases. What else would you think would be needed? Eb?


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PostPosted: Tue Sep 04, 2018 8:41 pm 
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See attached for a cheat sheet I made a while back for folks wondering the same.

https://bit.ly/2Nf9HLz

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:12 am 
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zaulden wrote:
Let's say you wanted to play anything in a hymnal, for example, with minimal half-holing (only for some accidentals).


I'm sort of a Hymnal guy, I own a pile of Hymnals from a large number of denominations due to researching Hymn tunes several years ago.

So if we're talking traditional hymnody which is Hymnal-based and organ-based (as opposed to contemporary praise music) an important thing is that it's about the range rather than the key.

The presumed starting range is C to c (for one-octave tunes) or very close to C to c, sometimes you'll see D to d.

Then as tunes get wider in range, they push out equally upwards and downwards from that C to c starting point.
Which is why you'll nearly always see Be Thou My Vision (SLANE) in the key of Eb, the lowest note Bb and the highest note eb, due to pushing downward a full step from C to Bb and upward a step and a half from c to eb. (It fits perfectly on a Bb whistle.)

The point is that you will encounter, in traditional Hymnals, every key from four flats to four sharps, whatever key is required to get the desired range. In the Hymnals I have in front of me now (just two) I don't see anything beyond four flats or sharps, and those are fairly rare. The vast majority stay in the three sharps to three flats range.

Staying in the traditional whistle keys that you get by using both C# and C natural fingerings, each whistle gives two Major keys.

So if you're staying within the four flats to four sharps range of keys you'll need the following whistles:

Eb (for Eb Major and Ab Major) (three and four flats)

Bb (for Bb Major and Eb Major) (two and three flats)

C (for C Major and F Major) (C and one flat)

D (for D Major and G Major) (two and one sharps)

E (for E Major and A Major) (four and three sharps)

As I've mentioned I've had church gigs where I've only used an Eb and E.

But there's not only the keys that whistles can play, but also the favoured range, which means bringing more whistles to the gig.

For example you can play in D Major on a D and A whistle.

G Major on a D and G whistle.

Eb Major on a Bb and Eb whistle.

And on and on.

To get all the ranges I like, and because I sometimes do encounter keys beyond four sharps or four flats at gigs, I end up bringing whistles of nearly every chromatic key to gigs.

Yes I've had to use the C#/Db whistle, and the B/Cb whistle, at gigs. I stuck labels on them so I can grab what I need at a gig.

Image

(I switch the C Generation head between the C and C# bodies, the Bb Generation head between the Bb and A bodies.)

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 5:34 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
zaulden wrote:
Let's say you wanted to play anything in a hymnal, for example, with minimal half-holing (only for some accidentals).


I'm sort of a Hymnal guy, I own a pile of Hymnals from a large number of denominations due to researching Hymn tunes several years ago.
...


That is a lot of great information! Thank you! This is a really big help. I've noticed that C-to-C starting point. In that regard, a C whistle really lends itself to many baseline hymns if there's no flats or sharps aside from Bb.

The range thing seems to be a big deal (it seems the lowest note the hymn asks you to play is a big deal as I go through some hymnals). If a song asks you to play a few low Gs or As (for example), even if your D whistle could play the rest of the song, you'd need to use a whistle lower than a D unless you just skip those notes. "Great is Thy Faithfulness" is a good example of a song that I've found in the commonly in the key of D but hits a single low C#! I guess an A whistle would help there, unless you just skip the low C# using a D Whistle or play the entire song an octave up (ouch!).

I'll need some more whistles at some point for certain songs, but for now I cover some good bases, I think:

Low D, Alto G, Bb, C, D

I think I'll add whistles as I need them.

By the way, I love your whistle roll.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 7:39 am 
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You're 100% right about lower whistles being better for hitting the low notes of a song. Probably few if any hymns go above the range of an (mezzo) A whistle, but loads of them will go below a bottom-of-the-staff D. So an A whistle is my default choice for songs in the key of D or A.

Also, while I'm guessing pancelticpiper is correct about the written keys used in hymnals, it's probably worth noting that my old school piano/organ teacher back in the 1980s taught me to be able to play hymns in the other key with the same note name, "transposing" on the fly. So for instance, if a hymn was written in Bb, she would make me also read/play it in B. This allowed for a nifty key change -- modulating up a half step -- between verses. If a hymn was in C, you could modulate twice, starting in Cb, going to C, and then finally C#. So if your actual goal is to play with an organist, there's a chance that any and every key might be in play.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 8:41 am 
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colomon wrote:
You're 100% right about lower whistles being better for hitting the low notes of a song. Probably few if any hymns go above the range of an (mezzo) A whistle, but loads of them will go below a bottom-of-the-staff D. So an A whistle is my default choice for songs in the key of D or A.
...


Great tips! Thanks. I guess there's nothing like going through a hymnal to give you a serious case of WAD (Whistle Acquisition Disorder).


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 05, 2018 2:14 pm 
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It's funny to see us discussing songs and using the term appropriately. My brain exploded for a second there. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 5:50 am 
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colomon wrote:
an A whistle is my default choice for songs in the key of D or A.


Me too, I usually prefer an A whistle for the key of D Major, and a G whistle for the key of C Major. Not only do you have the low notes available but you have a greater range of ornaments available on the note D on an A whistle than you have on Bottom D on a D whistle.

colomon wrote:
my old school piano/organ teacher back in the 1980s taught me...transposing on the fly.


That's great. I wish more church keyboard players could do that. But many just play everything as written, and to play a hymn in a different key they have to find sheet music in that key. I've found that most church choirs and organists are stuck in whatever key they usually do things in, so it's me, the whistle player, that has to be adaptable.

It's interesting the range of abilities I've come across, amongst church organists. Many if not most just read the music. Some insist on professionally printed music; I once handed an organist an organ arrangement (that another organist had written out for me) and he turned up his nose, handed the arrangement back to me, and sniffed "I do not play from manuscript."

Few church organists can play from a Lead Sheet, which is a bummer, because I have full organ arrangements of only a few pieces but Lead Sheets for loads of tunes.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 06, 2018 6:00 am 
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busterbill wrote:
It's funny to see us discussing songs and using the term appropriately. My brain exploded for a second there. :)


Yes in traditional hymnody a distinction is made between Hymns (sets of words, utterly tune-less) and Tunes (melodies, utterly lacking words).

Which is why I said Be Thou My Vision (SLANE) where Be Thou My Vision is a Hymn, a set of words, which could be sung to a number of different tunes, and SLANE is a tune which could be, and is, used as a vehicle for a number of Hymns. (Tune names are traditionally rendered in all-caps.)

So, as a Highland piper, when people ask me to play Amazing Grace, I know they mean NEW BRITAIN. The pipes cannot render Amazing Grace (a set of words) because the pipes can't pronounce words.

But when asked to play Amazing Grace I could also play KINGSFOLD

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sCBrdCK7u9c&t=44s

or I could play FIDUCIA (my favourite Amazing Grace ever)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WmFKZmcGAW0

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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Goldie Low D whistle


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 09, 2018 8:05 am 
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I play a lot of non-ITM and prefer the sound of a whistle over other comparable wind instruments. As such, I'm always on the hunt for new products, namely in terms of chromatic playing. I recently purchased one of the 10-hole chromatic whistles over at Musique Morneaux. Prior to purchasing, I found a lot of pro/con info out there regarding both this whistle and the maker. Regardless, I've found the whistle to be an exciting challenge by way of learning a modified fingering system to that of the traditional 6-hole. Every note can be played without half-holing (or with minimal cross-fingering). Prior to this whistle, I relied heavily on my full Syn set. It may be something worth looking into, if you're interested.


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