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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 12:29 am 
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I can't find it right now, but I read from another poster that the Bb is called the Goldilocks whistle because it's not too high or not too low supposedly just right in the middlr. But to me it still sounds kind of high. And then, when I see two offerings of Bb in the Susato Dublins, I kind of get confused with that. Is one a lower sound because of a larger bore?

Also, as an afterthought, what do you think would be the most useful key of low whistle, with the smallest physical size, and yet still have that low whistle sound? An F?


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:36 am 
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I don't think 'Goldilocks' is common usage. I have never heard anyone, here or elsewhere, use it. Nice pun on Colin's name, but not settled into everyday parlance.

There was a time, before low whistles started to appear (by the late seventies), Bflat was the lowest key available (although Generation for a while went down to G but these were rare, Camac did an A briefly around 1980).

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:15 am 
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I read that somewhere too - my interpretation was that it is about half way between low D & high G, the commonly available keys.

Personally, (& I have all keys from high G down to low G), I seem to be settling on the key of 'A' (a Dixon Trad brass & an aluminium), as my mainstay, with key of 'C' (a Clarkes or Generation), when I want a smaller whistle.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 4:40 am 
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Low whistles first appeared in the early-mid 70s. I still have a couple of Overtons I bought in 1973-4.

I've never heard the term Goldilocks before. Nor did I know Generations went down to G: I have no recollection of ever seeing them.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:35 am 
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Generation whistles go up to high G not down to alto G. Their lowest is the Bb.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 5:40 am 
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@Michael
A larger bore doesn't change the key of the whistle only the length of the tube changes the key (well mostly). However if the bore gets too large the playability will suffer. In part because the whistle comes close to the characteristics of a vessel flute with a unstable pitch that varies more with air pressure and velocity. Narrow bore is more stable.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 7:17 am 
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Narrow bore is more stable.


That's interesting, I thought a wider bore would give a rounder/mellower tone, but you could be right, I just bought an aluminium 'A' & it does take more air than my brass 'A' to get the second octave sounding.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 8:11 am 
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Generation whistles go up to high G not down to alto G


Yes. But, as I said, at one time, and I don't think it lasted long, Generation did make a range going down to low G. They are rare but they do come up for sale occasionally (do a search) and Mary Bergin played the last set of reels on her first recording on one.


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Low whistles first appeared in the early-mid 70s.


That sounds about right, Second half of the seventies, they were becoming more common by the end of the decade, I have hazy recollections of seeing a fair amount of them in shops, Walton's and McCullough-Piggot, in Dublin by 1979, Hohners and Overtons mainly.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:20 am 
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fatmac wrote:
That's interesting, I thought a wider bore would give a rounder/mellower tone, but you could be right, I just bought an aluminium 'A' & it does take more air than my brass 'A' to get the second octave sounding.

It depends -- and I'm certainly no expert, just made a few whistles myself and experimented with different sizes of tubes. There's so many factors that influence the sound. I also have one low D with a huge bore that is rather quiet because the windway and fipple are very narrow. But as a rule of thumb, I'd say -- narrow bore is more stable (in the sense that you cannot blow it out of pitch as much) and easier to overblow and most of the time a little quieter.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:54 am 
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About lower Generations, this tale about Joe McKenna has long fascinated me (as told by Antoinette)

"While shopping in London in the 1970s Joe spotted around 20 large red whistle tops in the window of a junk shop. Upon request and with some amazment the owner climbed into and retrieved the lot, which Joe bought. On returning to Ireland, he went to his pipe workshop and made a prototype... We toured for many years with this prototype low whistles..." (sic)

If there were injection-moulded tops these things were made in quantity. It's not inexpensive! So who made them? When?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 9:59 am 
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So who made them? When?


Generation made them. A member of this forum posted about one he got of ebay in the last year and a half or so, with pics. I have seen one, once, but never saw them for sale in shops so they are likely pre-1970, or were a limited release. I do remember the low Camac ones for sale but never bothered, not liking their Bflat, that I did get, much.

Joe McKenna likely the source of Mary Bergin's (his sister in law) low G as well then, going by the story.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:34 pm 
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Who is Joe McKenna?

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 1:49 pm 
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Who is Joe McKenna?



Piper, (low) whistleplayer from Dublin. More busy touring and recording during the 1980s (with his now late wife Antoinette) but still at it.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:40 pm 
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Thank you, Mr. G. :thumbsup:

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 23, 2018 2:47 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
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Narrow bore is more stable.

That's interesting, I thought a wider bore would give a rounder/mellower tone...

But one doesn't equal the other.

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