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 Post subject: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 5:15 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 07, 2018 5:52 am
Posts: 40
I am wrestling with my first low D at the moment. The pipers grip will do the job over time I’m sure.
I am on my own with no one to to bounce anything off. So here are some questions that will probably sound a little bit silly but I have no one else to ask. Do most people play the low D standing or sitting. There seems to be both on the web. Standing seems easy to me because if I am sitting I have to lean forward to get a good sound and I end up leaning over the instrument. However if I am standing , whilst physically I feel more comfortable, I am having trouble balancing the whistle. I have read that I should use my little finger of my right hand for balance but my particular little finger doesn’t reach the whistle - it can touch it but it can’t act for balance. By the way my little finger finger is small but perfectly formed - that’s a joke. Do players use thumb rests for balance on the low D. My investigations reveal that a number 5 Susato thumb rest should fit the Kerry Optima Low D (outside bore measurement @ 25mm approximately). Also I have been advised by a representative of a Music Store that the thumb rest for a Descant Recorder should also fit. I am assuming ( and we all know that to assume makes an ass out of you and me) that the thumb rest would be placed on the fipple side of the A note ( nearly wrote A hole) in order to rest on the thumb rather than having the thumb balancing on the thumb rest???
Any advice gratefully received.


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Thu Apr 18, 2019 6:19 pm 
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JTU wrote:
Do most people play the low D standing or sitting...


I do either one, for me it doesn't affect the way I hold the whistle or play.

JTU wrote:
I have read that I should use my little finger of my right hand for balance...


That's a complex subject intertwined with the subject of the various approaches of fingering the whistle.

I learned to play whistle in a manner that at the time I perceived as an "old-school" way, in which either the lower-hand ring finger or lower-hand index finger is usually in contact with the whistle, and the lower-hand little finger is uninvolved with supporting the whistle.

You can watch videos of Mary Bergin to see this fingering approach in action. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdJYbOkbetQ

There are fluteplayers and whistle players who leave the lower-hand little finger in constant contact with the instrument.

You can watch Matt Molloy to see this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dS7NxJDp4zQ

Then there are fluteplayers and whistle players who put the little finger down at certain times, the little finger's action being more or less part of the fingering of each note. You might see somebody leave the lower-hand little finger off for D, E, and F# and put it down for G, A, B, and C. Actually whether the lower-hand little finger is down or up also depends on the context, so that the lower-hand little finger might be down for G or up for G depending on the notes that precede and follow G.

In truth all of this becomes automatic and experienced players often don't have any idea of the fingerings they're using. They might finger one particular note three or four different ways depending on the notes that precede and follow it, or other factors such as using vibrato.

One thing to be aware of is that leaving the lower-hand ring finger down for B in the 2nd octave works fine on traditional high whistles but on Low Whistles the 2nd octave B can have trouble sounding with that finger down.

JTU wrote:
Do players use thumb rests for balance on the low D...the thumb rest would be placed on the fipple side of the A note...


Where the rest goes on the tube depends on where you happen to place your thumb. My first instrument was Highland pipes and I learned to hold my lower-hand thumb rather low, between the middle finger and ring finger. (It's handy if they happen to drill a hole for the minor 3rd on the back!)

I don't care for thumb rests but I did use a strap for a while when I was playing a very heavy solid brass Low D Whistle.

I found that a Bari Sax strap was perfect. It has a plastic clip that clips on the bell of the whistle.

But alloy/aluminium Low Whistles weigh practically nothing and I don't need any extra support.

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Richard Cook
1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 2:14 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
Being a recent convert to low whistles, (& flutes), I find that I only put my little finger on the tube when I play the all fingers off note, C# on a low D, otherwise, it tends to hover over to the side of the whistle.

I have an ABS & a brass low D, & an aluminium low F, (personally) I don't feel a need for a thumb rest at all.

(But if I did, I think that I would just put a bit of cloth tape above where my thumb sits, to prevent it slipping.)

P.S. I have 'normal' man sized hands.

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Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:02 pm 
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I do use a thumb rest. I find it allows me to lighten up my grip and I can play with a bit more facility.

Rather than the Susato thumb rest I buy clarinet thumb rests and stick them on the whistle with heavy-duty double stick tape.

The tape usually lasts several months and it's only a matter of a few minutes to replace it.

To decide on placement I simply play without it and then mark the spot where my thumb naturally wants to be.

Maybe I should point out that I use low D whistles (Reyburns) with offset holes and finger low D with my little finger. Sounds weird but it only took a week or so to get used to it. I have right hand issues that preclude using my ring finger to cover the low D.

Piper Joe


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 12:16 pm 
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I'm not much of a low D whistler. I have noticed that I can play better standing. I also noticed that the make of low whistles vary in finger stretch, air requirement, material and weight. The weight wasn't something I used to consider but now I do and especially for longer playing times. I do not use the thumb rest although I do have them.

A beginner low whistle video came out today and might be helpful for those individuals beginning... me.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wTTiCBkkE4


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 1:49 pm 
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I feel more comfortable playing whistles standing up. The bigger the whistle the more marked my preference. I am not sure why.

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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 4:16 pm 
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I don't feel a difference between standing or sitting, but I DO like to angle it slightly to the right - seems to make the "stretch" on my Thunderbird more manageable. I do keep my little finger resting on the tube, btw.

Pat

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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Fri Apr 19, 2019 7:49 pm 
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piperjoe wrote:
finger low D with my little finger


I've played around with that and yes it doesn't take long to get used to.

It makes the lower-hand finger-spacing very comfortable, and you can keep the lower-hand ring finger down all the time for nice support.

It would be cool to have an F natural hole drilled between Hole 5 and Hole 6, giving the Irish whistle the same partly chromatic lower-hand fingering of the Bulgarian Kaval:

xxx xxxx D
xxx xxxo E
xxx xxoo F
xxx xooo F#
xxx oooo G

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:05 am 
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I only have slight problems with my MK Kelpie as it has a rather slippery coating. I simply hold it a bit more horizontally - works fine for me. BTW - I sometimes play my low Ds lying on the sofa :). Guess I am just a lazy b*stard ;). Definitely the most comfy position :D.


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:24 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:

It would be cool to have an F natural hole drilled between Hole 5 and Hole 6, giving the Irish whistle the same partly chromatic lower-hand fingering of the Bulgarian Kaval:

xxx xxxx D
xxx xxxo E
xxx xxoo F
xxx xooo F#
xxx oooo G

Great scottish piper-sax-low whistle player Fraser Fifield has a bottom 7th extra hole on his Low D to play the mimor third (F natural on a low D). Btw, he plays kaval too.


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 Post subject: Re: Low D Need Some Help
PostPosted: Sat Apr 20, 2019 6:54 am 
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On Scottish smallpipes one sees a hole for that minor 3rd drilled in the back, for the lower-hand thumb, which has the advantage of not altering the normal fingering on the front.

But this Kaval-Low whistle thing is brilliant, if you want to play in D minor etc. (A good Bb can be had by crossfingering on many Low Ds.)

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
Goldie Low D whistle


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