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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 6:52 pm 
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Just watched the video! He is amazing and I lve the sound. Thanks for directing me there.

Jane


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Tue Apr 23, 2019 7:55 pm 
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It’s cool that he can do that, but it’s worth listening to the same piece on an actually chromatic instrument, like, say, the Boehm flute.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8p0qo30LUfo

Which was specifically designed to play chromatically with even volume and consistent timbre in all registers.

There’s something great about pushing the limits of your instrument. There’s also something great about not trying to make one instrument be something it’s not.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 3:56 am 
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A Boehm flute is Chromatic "by nature." That is, Boehm ignored the conventions of the wooden flute altogether produced an instrument that easily played chromatically. It very quickly became the standard flute in orchestral work, in jazz, in pop music. Why? Because it's chromatic "by nature," designed that way from the ground up.

People still play the "irish flute:" I do, for example, and it's great. It has a distinctive sound and feel. People still play acoustic guitars even though leo fender solved all the problems of the acoustic guitar when he invented the telecaster. But people don't play the "irish flute" in orchestras unless they are specifically playing music from the era before Boehm. Because while you can make it play chromatically, it's not chromatic "by nature."

It seems to me that all instruments have strengths and weaknesses. A sax has great dynamic range and volume but cant play chords. A piano has great dynamic range and volume and can play chords but isn't portable and you can't have vibrato. A guitar can play chords and is portable but has lousy volume and dynamic range and you can't sustain a note. etc etc.

You can make a whistle play chromatically and great, pushing the limits of the instrument is useful and cool. It sounds terrible, to my ears. playing the Toccata and fugue, which was written for the organ, an instrument that's chromatic" by nature." I might listen to it as an example of "wow that's cool" but I wouldn't listen to it as music, if that makes sense.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:06 am 
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But, just for your information:

http://thebarclayflutestudio.com/getting-started/

https://henglerwoodwindresourcefile.weebly.com/uploads/2/3/8/2/23823569/oboe_fingering_charts.pdf

http://hautboy.org/fingerings

https://www.dulcians.org/fingerings.htm

https://i.pinimg.com/originals/8d/08/7b/8d087b582891f1735801f4ff27550fb9.jpg

http://www.flageolets.com/music/bainbridgepreceptor/

http://www.anne-bell.woodwind.org/ABCtutor.htm

http://wenner_floeten.s3.amazonaws.com/assets/151/Grifftabelle_Csakan.pdf

https://www.reddit.com/r/tinwhistle/comments/7ximys/whistle_fingering_chart/

These are fingering charts for simple systems wind instruments -- flutes, oboes, clarinets, bassoons, whistles, csakans, flageolets -- most of which are old. Fingering charts go back to Pretorius and probably before, for as long as young nobles have had to learn how to govern the ventages of their instruments. They are all chromatic. Most of these instruments don't have more than one or two keys (and those are usually for the bottom notes) and many have no keys at all.

I'm not posting this to belabour the point, but, to say that the whistle is a non-chromatic instrument is plain wrong. The evidence weighs against this argument, which as I've said before, is probably more due to the overwhelmingly diatonic tradition the penny whistle gets used within (ITM). The tin whistle derives from a very long tradition of simple system wind instruments the players of which had to cope with chromaticity without having the luxury of Mr Boehm's work.

Most of these fingering charts were constructed by men far more knowledgeable than me: Quantz and Hotteterre being two names I know well. They certainly knew what they were doing when they constructed their fingering charts for all these "diatonic by nature" instruments. I don't claim for myself any authority, but as you might guess from my name here, I have more than a couple tin whistles. Most of the whistles (and assorted wind instruments) in the Museum I have owned at one time or another. I have studied works on old instruments. I've played a number of old & simple system instruments including clarinets, flutes, oboes, bassoons, flageolets and whistles.

To a one, they are chromatic. Do they have keys? No. Does every note along the gamut share the same levelled tone quality? No. That's a design feature of the Boehm style of instrument. These other instruments are simply not designed that way.

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 10:14 am 
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Well! I can see that there are as many different opinions regarding whistles as there are regarding fifes. Although I find everyone's input fascinating, I find one's individual ability with any instrument to be
what appeals to me. Yes, certainly a piece written for one instrument will surely sound better when played on that instrument, but the ability of an individual to learn how to play it recognizably on any other instrument has to be impressive. Thank you all for your input and your links. I love this forum.

Jane


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 11:10 am 
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What1cand0 wrote:
Well! I can see that there are as many different opinions regarding whistles as there are regarding fifes. Although I find everyone's input fascinating, I find one's individual ability with any instrument to be
what appeals to me. Yes, certainly a piece written for one instrument will surely sound better when played on that instrument, but the ability of an individual to learn how to play it recognizably on any other instrument has to be impressive. Thank you all for your input and your links. I love this forum.

Jane


Thanks for being the sane(est) one in this thread!

Even though I disagree (vehemently!) with PB&J on this, you're spot on about this forum. You get all kinds of generally very good, very experienced opinions on just about everything imaginable.

Sometimes even about whistles! :D

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 2:14 pm 
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Did you notice that, with the exception of the dulcian and whistle, all of the fingering charts show holes either fully closed or fully open?

Basically, the generally agreed-upon definition of a chromatic instrument is essentially that all notes of the chromatic scale are available without half opening or bending notes.

A whistle requires half-holing notes, and is generally considered as a diatonic instrument, albeit one not as limited as "true" diatonic instruments that can only play one diatonic scale. There's certainly a grey area because of forked fingerings (also think of an instrument like an early valveless French Horn that uses hand position in the bell to achieve chromaticity, or at least close to it), but it is generally agreed that whistles are not true chromatic instruments, even if close to a full chromatic scale can be played on one.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2019 8:48 pm 
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NicoMoreno wrote:
Did you notice that, with the exception of the dulcian and whistle, all of the fingering charts show holes either fully closed or fully open?


Yep! On those instruments, you either half hole or fork-finger. That's just how they evolved to solve the problem! Some whistle don't like to be fork fingered, others are more amenable. The c-nat being the most commonly known that can be done both ways.

Later steps in the evolution were adding a key here and there, then a couple more keys, to facilitate chromatic playing; then eventually partial and full mechanisation.


Note that only flutes, saxophones, sarrusophones and ophicleides are fully mechanised with covered keys (some flutes have open keys -- key pads with holes). Oboes are mostly mechanised and clarinets are a hodge-podge still.

It's all a balancing act, really. Mechanisation makes chromatic playing so much easier! Press a key and get a perfectly in tune and tonally stable huge & voluminous sound. The trade off is the loss of the "quaint", "sensitive" character of the old instruments in the hands of master players. (Happily, we still enjoy that sound here in ITM world!)

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 4:22 am 
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I'm certainly aware of the history of efforts to get tubes with holes in them to play chromatically in the hands of creatures with ten available digits of limited reach.

You can easily interpret this as a history of technology problem. Man invents whistle. Eureka! It plays easily in one key. He's having a great time! Chicks dig him! Oh but he wants to play songs with notes out of that key. If only he had more fingers! He starts experimenting--what can I do to get more notes out of this thing?

Over centuries, the design of the finger hole tube is refined. Conical bores. More fingerings are tried. Fingerings plus embouchure. More holes--split holes, like on a recorder. Keywork is introduced. Meanwhile the laws of physics are elaborated. They appear to be grim and inflexible. People with extra fingers rarely appear, and when they do they don't have enough fingers. Herr Mozart frowns at you because he can't count on your chromatic notes to be loud enough or consistent enough or in tune: in his head, the sound consistent and true. It's a constant subject of discussion among musicians and instrument makers: how to get effective chromaticism out of tubes with holes in them? Herr Mozart complains about the cost of candles as well, but waddya gonna do? It's 1780. And ten digits remains the norm.

Then hey presto instruments based entirely on keywork come along, and it's game over for the finger hole tube unless you are engaged in deliberate anachronism, like your recorder consort, your baroque wind ensemble or your irish session band. The problem of chromaticism has been solved, and everywhere you look you see clarinets, saxes, oboes, and Boehm flutes built from the ground up around the necessity of mechanical keys.

All forms of music are great and fun. Your irish sessions and early music ensembles are great. They have a sound: the sound of either "sticking with a couple keys and letting it rip" or the sound of "struggling with chromaticism."

The latter is what i hear with the guy playing the Toccata and Fugue on the tin whistle. It's great that he can do it, but if I want to hear the toccata and fugue, which depends heavily on regulated, even, consistent chromaticism, I'm going to listen to it on an instrument that's chromatic "by nature."

If you consider the musical finger hole tube in terms the history of technology, it's clearly not a chromatic instrument. It's a diatonic instrument, the limits of which people have applied mental and technical ingenuity to try to overcome. We wouldn't need the keywork if we had eighteen widely spaced fingers. We'd still have tuning problems, and issues of uneven volume, because those pesky laws of physics, but we'd be eight steps closer.


Last edited by PB+J on Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:53 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 5:38 am 
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It's very simple, as it stands, a penny whistle is a diatonic instrument.

It doesn't have all the full & half notes of an octave, it only has the notes of one diatonic key built in.

Take the key of C, it lacks all sharps & flats, therefore cannot be chromatic, by its very nature.

The fact that someone may be able to produce an extra note by some other means than that provided by the instrument, will still not make it chromatic.

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 6:43 am 
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Very few whistle makers design into their instruments anything more than a two-octave diatonic scale with flattened seventh. Some don't even include the fork-fingered C natural on their radar. If you can get other chromatic notes out of their whistles with exotic fingerings, well, good for you ... but that's not what they're aiming for. Nor should they be, because doing so would compromise the whistle for its primary function.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:26 am 
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Hey Guys! Please don't fight. I get it. They are diatonic by nature and a few artists have learned tricks to play it chromatically. The fun thing about a whistle is that you can play it anyway you want. It is a very personal instrument. I get that some of you dont like to hear it played chromatically. That's okay. I thought it was amazing that he was able to do so and shared it on youtube. I also love a good Irish jig. For as long as humans have existed, we have tried to stretch the limits of everything we get our hands on. That's what makes us human...wanting more...doing more...and thank goodness for that. Better yet, we have tge freedom to like or dislike whatever we want. On this forum we all like whistles. How we choose to play it should be a personal choice. Lighten up and teach me the best techniques you use. I would appreciate that. Thanks!

Jane


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:36 am 
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You blow into it and open and close holes. :D Anything after that really depends on the type of music you want to play on it.

Given your interest it may be useful to find some music suitable t othe period, perhaps in a book like the one included here. I say that with the caveat I don't know the book but only ever see it come up in connection in civil war whistle related contexts.

The blurb:

Quote:
Compiled and Arranged by Dr. William E. White. The airs in this collection are appropriate for playing on the tin whistle and are suitable fir a fife, flute, or violin.

Here are the popular tunes of the 18th century - the music that set colonists to whistling, humming, and dancing. Let the music students in your class recreate sounds of the past with these simple and delightful melodies. We hope the musicians in your classroom enjoy them as much as I we have!

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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 7:48 am 
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Thanks for the tip!

Jane


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 Post subject: Re: Tin penny whistle
PostPosted: Thu Apr 25, 2019 8:39 am 
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I hope it's clear m not fighting, I'm discussing! :party:


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