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 Post subject: Alto whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 5:27 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 19, 2019 3:47 am
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Hi all, I have a question about alto whistles I'm hoping someone can answer for me. I'm a novice whistle player who can't read music, I play by tab, and my knowledge of music theory is sketchy at best. It boils down to the fact that I really like the sound of alto whistles in the keys of A and Bb. I've been learning to play simple melodies such as nursery rhymes to get used to the fingering with tunes I know so I can tell if the notes are right, and I do okay. I have a few soprano d whistles typical of beginners which I like, but the alto whistles have a lovely deeper sound without going to far down towards the low d. What I'd like to know is basically if I played a tune on an alto whistle with the same fingering that I use on a d whistle, will the tune come out okay? Would either the A or Bb whistle work better, or both, or neither? I only play for myself and the kids so there's no other instruments to worry about as of yet.

Any advice would be much appreciated,

Njr


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 Post subject: Re: Alto whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:08 pm 
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Joined: Sat Jan 23, 2010 11:41 am
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You're on the right track.

Basically, you finger the whistles the same, and the tune comes out right. But, in a different key.

So, if you're playing by yourself, no problem. If you're playing with someone else, they will have to transpose.

If you have a D whistle, that means that with all the holes covered you're playing a D note. A tune beginning on that note will usually be in the key of D. If you have an A whistle with all the holes covered you're playing an A. A tune starting on that note will usually be in the key of A.

I've been playing whistles for a millennia or two, but last studied music theory long before I bought my first whistle, so keep the salt shaker handy. There are others on the site who will be able to give you a much more precise and scholarly explanation. (Panceltic...want to pipe up? Sorry, couldn't resist the pun)

To paraphrase Duke Ellington, " If it sounds good, it is good!".

Piper Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Alto whistles
PostPosted: Sat Jan 19, 2019 6:13 pm 
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Joined: Tue Aug 30, 2011 5:39 pm
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Location: Kinlochleven
piperjoe wrote:
A tune beginning on that note will usually be in the key of D.

Have to say the first five tunes starting on D that came into my head after reading that are actually in the key of G, which really isn't surprising because starting on the dominant or fifth degree of the scale is as common as anything. But, yes, the tunes will be fine but in a different key. :-)

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 Post subject: Re: Alto whistles
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:15 am 
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Thanks guys, that's what I'd hoped. Means I can get an alto and keep right on playing, awesome!


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 Post subject: Re: Alto whistles
PostPosted: Sun Jan 20, 2019 3:41 am 
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Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
All whistles will play your tune, with the same fingering, it will just be in the key of that particular whistle, not a problem when playing for yourself.

(I also bought an 'A' whiste because I found the 'regular' ones too shrill.)

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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