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 Post subject: Do you really need an Eb
PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:41 am 
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In the various videos I've been watching lately I've listened to a lot of high D's, C's, Eb's and Bb's... and for the life of me I can't figure out if you have a D and a C why you would NEED a Eb.

Maybe my ears are just so untrained that I can't tell, but to me the Eb, depending on the video, sounds so close to either a D or a C as to not make any real difference. But yet there they are when sets of high whistles are included together you have the Eb. So there's obviously a reason for it. Maybe it's just the videos. Are they really that different in person?

Also, as an aside, I'm surprised there's no YouTube videos of somebody playing I'm O'Briain Improved Tin whistle.

I have no intentions of getting a Eb or an O'Brian at this point anyway. I was just curious.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:45 am 
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I can hear if it's a C, D, or Eb, the latter gives a brightness to the tune that's not difficult to hear (MB plays it in several recordings). And my F is very bird-like. But the biggest reason would be that when you play with other people you would like to be able to (easily) play in the same key (or a matching key). There's for example a tune some friends play that's in F, for that tune the whistle part is played with a C whistle. So, if I don't have one, it's hard to play.
(My actual high F I've not found much use for though).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:28 am 
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At the end of then day, you really don't NEED any whistle after the first one. The brightness of the e flat and it's ease of handling make it a joy to play. It's a whistle that's like a sunny spring day, full of life and without worry. There is a reason why whistle players use the eflat to play and record.

My first whistle was an eflat, bought in 1970 and remaining my nicest whistle until I got the Killarney e flat a few years ago.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:35 am 
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MichaelRS wrote:
Maybe my ears are just so untrained that I can't tell, but to me the Eb, depending on the video, sounds so close to either a D or a C as to not make any real difference.

Eb is a semitone higher than D and three semitones higher than C, so much closer to D.

Quote:
But yet there they are when sets of high whistles are included together you have the Eb. So there's obviously a reason for it.

For playing tunes or songs in flat keys (where you may need that pitch because your singer requires it), or perhaps because you just like the brighter sound for things that nominally fit the D.

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Maybe it's just the videos. Are they really that different in person?

Yes.

Here's another question: is it really necessary to be in tune? If you're 10 cents out, that's 10% of the difference between a D and an Eb, so isn't that so close as to not make any real difference? For solo playing, it really doesn't matter but, if you're playing with others...

(Flutes at diapason normal 435 Hz are about 20 cents flat of our modern standard 440 Hz and just don't work at the latter!)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 3:55 am 
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An Eb is quite a bit smaller than a D or C, so is easier to carry in a pocket, the hole spacings are closer together, if you play from notation, having a 'flat' whistle for certain tunes makes using one easier, & some people just like to play the higher whistle. ;)

Needed? No. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 7:47 am 
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Never been a fan of little Eb whistles.

With flutes, I'm not alone in really liking playing Eb flutes. For many years I had a Boosey made in the 1880s that had the greatest crack to it. Everything seemed to work better: a more powerful "bottom D", sweeter easier high notes, amazing flexibility and facility.

When I went back to my D flute it felt like playing a log, fat and sluggish and cantankerous.

No wonder Matt Molloy played his Eb so much, back in the day.

Joe McKenna used to play uilleann pipes in Eb. Interesting that he played a flat set (in C#?) then jumped right over D to Eb.

I've been at sessions where everyone was in Eb, flutes and pipes and whistles. Not sure what the fiddlers did, crank up their fiddles I suppose. Likewise sessions where everyone was in C, or in B.

Except for that rare Eb session, I've only used my Eb whistle (Low Whistle) for studio gigs and church gigs and so forth. Many Hymn-tunes are sung in three or four flats and fit nicely on an Eb.

As I've mentioned there are been gigs where I've only ended up using two whistles, Eb and E, everything in three or four flats or three or four sharps.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 8:33 am 
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-Enough with the messing, link removed-

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Last edited by Mr.Gumby on Thu Dec 20, 2018 1:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:42 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
The brightness of the e flat and it's ease of handling make it a joy to play. It's a whistle that's like a sunny spring day, full of life and without worry.


My sentiments entirely (expressed better than I would have bothered to).


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 10:47 am 
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Quote:
My sentiments entirely (expressed better than I would have bothered to).


I was having a florid moment. :P

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:20 am 
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Some really great insight and practical instruction passed along here. Thank you everyone, I really appreciate it


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 11:49 am 
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I'm also thinking, why wouldn't you want a whistle in every key? I've anxiously awaiting my O'Briain Eb and still don't have a F or G but I think my fat fingers may be too much for the wee G and the high D does the job. Playing with others "in tune" aside; I like to play the same tune over in different keys when I practice solo.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:05 pm 
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Polara Pat wrote:
I'm also thinking, why wouldn't you want a whistle in every key? I've anxiously awaiting my O'Briain Eb and still don't have a F or G but I think my fat fingers may be too much for the wee G and the high D does the job. Playing with others "in tune" aside; I like to play the same tune over in different keys when I practice solo.


Oh there is absolutely merit to that. I probably could have phrased my original question better to something more like, why is there even EBb whistle to begin with?
But bear in mind that that question arose from videos where, to me, the sound difference didn't really come out.

By the way, do you have the website for the O'Brian improved whistles? I got a Facebook page link but that's all that came up on my search...besides discussion topics on them.

Edit: stupid talk text. It just proves the point that I do my best editing and proofreading AFTER I hit send :lol:


Last edited by MichaelRS on Wed Dec 19, 2018 1:14 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 12:42 pm 
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Oh there is absolutely married to that. I probably could have raised my original question better to something more like, why is there even EBb whistle to begin with?
But bear in mind that that question arose from videos where, to me, the sound difference didn't really come out.

By the way do you have a website for the O'Brian improved whistles? I got a Facebook page link but that's all that came up on my search. Besides discussion topics on them[/quote]


EBb? If you go to O'Briain FB page there is a link to contact them directly or through Messenger. The website doesn't give much info. Just email them with questions.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 2:11 pm 
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I have to admit the first time I realized there was an Eb I was all like "really? they want a whistle that's smaller and MORE piercing?" But it sounds pretty good in the right hands


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 19, 2018 5:00 pm 
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I have wondered whether Generation developed their Eb whistle before the D whistle, since Eb would have been a useful key for playing with bands, the Sally Army, etc. Hence the bore diameter is optimized for the key of Eb whistle, and should perhaps have been a fraction wider for the D whistle. This is my theory for why a Generation Eb is so perfect to play.


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