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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 5:46 pm 
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Hi;

I have been lurking, researching and doing a lot of practice on my old D oak. I've memorized the Isle of Skye and can do a somewhat credible job.
I promised myself I wouldn't buy another whistle until I could play at least one song (I'm working on others :lol: ) and do a decent job at it. I just ordered a brass Killarney Whistle in D and I'm like a kid waiting for Santa to arrive.
I am thinking of getting a high B or a Bb whistle to use while learning new songs or when around others as not to annoy them. My dog especially doesn't like any of the high notes, even when blown correctly. For that matter the high notes kind of hurt my ears as well. I mostly will be playing by myself. Once I get the hang of a song I can transition up to my D.
The only B's I can find are online generations, or tweaked Freeman generations. The others I spotted cost more than the Freeman's.
I have a few questions: 1. Should I get a B or B flat Bb? Most I see online are Bb. 2. How big a stretch is the fingering? I handled a clarinet OK. 3.One of these days I'd like to learn the low whistles. That is the sound that really attracts me. I'm assuming the finger spacing on them is farther apart than The High Bb? If so I though this might be good practice for stretching. 4. What tends to be more mellow on high notes brass or nickle?

Thanks.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 9:42 pm 
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A Bb whistle is great for practicing tunes. The Generation Bb is a pretty decent whistle even before it is tweaked. And the tweaked ones are very nice. The stretch won't be too bad if you played clarinet. It will be a bit weird going back and forth, but not too weird. And playing whistles in different keys can be fun. I am assuming you can play the tunes with the same fingerings without having a problem. Some people have a hard time with hearing the tune in its original key while trying to play it in another. Many don't have that problem. Just have the finger patterns in your head and go with it.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 10:14 pm 
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busterbill wrote:
A Bb whistle is great for practicing tunes. The Generation Bb is a pretty decent whistle even before it is tweaked. And the tweaked ones are very nice. The stretch won't be too bad if you played clarinet. It will be a bit weird going back and forth, but not too weird. And playing whistles in different keys can be fun. I am assuming you can play the tunes with the same fingerings without having a problem. Some people have a hard time with hearing the tune in its original key while trying to play it in another. Many don't have that problem. Just have the finger patterns in your head and go with it.


I'm currently learning songs from music with finger tabs after I get the song in my head. I will still just match the diagrams. I'll have to relearn how to read music again.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 20, 2019 11:32 pm 
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I am sure reading music again will come in time. And playing tunes by ear is a skill you may pick up. The playing tunes by ear skill can come in handy when playing with others and sharing tunes in the future. Also just FYI, for some reason I have yet to understand in Irish Traditional music we refer to instrumental music as tunes and music with words as songs. This is a nomenclature I've not run into in other genres. But it is a definite "thing" in Irish Trad. So if that is the music you are heading towards it will be handy to keep that in mind. :D


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:13 am 
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maiingan wrote:
I have a few questions: 1. Should I get a B or B flat Bb? Most I see online are Bb. 2. How big a stretch is the fingering? I handled a clarinet OK. 3.One of these days I'd like to learn the low whistles. That is the sound that really attracts me. I'm assuming the finger spacing on them is farther apart than The High Bb? If so I though this might be good practice for stretching. 4. What tends to be more mellow on high notes brass or nickle?

1. Bb
2. Stretch is a bit larger or course but still easy.
3. Yes, holes are farther apart on a low D but with a proper "low D grip" (called "piper's grip", though it is not exactly the same) the stratching is minimal. In fact it is more comfy to play a low D with the proper grip than a low G or F with the pads of your fingers.
4. I don't think there is much if any sound-difference between brass or nickel. The nickel is just a thin coating on the brass tube. Brass tends to feel more sticky but the Generations have a thin coating over the brass which tends to wear off.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:14 am 
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A Generation Bb will serve you well, (not much difference fingering it) - you don't really notice any 'difficulty' until you get down to a low G, when you may need to start to use the 'pipers grip'.

The sound of a low whistle can't be beaten to my ears, & I find the low F particularly appealing.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 3:42 am 
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busterbill wrote:
I have yet to understand in Irish Traditional music we refer to instrumental music as tunes and music with words as songs. This is a nomenclature I've not run into in other genres. But it is a definite "thing" in Irish Trad.


It’s a thing everywhere. Ask yourself how weird it feels if you say ”sing a tune” or ”whistle a song”! Actually I suppose you could whistle a birdsong but that’s a different species altogether.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:13 am 
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bwat wrote:
busterbill wrote:
I have yet to understand in Irish Traditional music we refer to instrumental music as tunes and music with words as songs. This is a nomenclature I've not run into in other genres. But it is a definite "thing" in Irish Trad.


bwat wrote:
It’s a thing everywhere. Ask yourself how weird it feels if you say ”sing a tune” or ”whistle a song”! Actually I suppose you could whistle a birdsong but that’s a different species altogether.


Not to be a contrarian but maybe not "everywhere." in Native American flute music they are referred to as flute songs. It is considered that the flute has a voice and it sings the feelings of the players. Somewhat akin to Irish airs representing the voice of a singer.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:17 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
Not to be a contrarian but maybe not "everywhere." In Native American flute music they are referred to as flute songs.


In which Native American languages is this construction used? (Not to be a contrarian, just a linguist.)

It would make for a fascinating study, musical terminology and concepts in various Native American languages.

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 2:39 pm 
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maiingan wrote:
I've memorized the Isle of Skye


I'm not familiar with that tune. Does it perhaps go by another name?

maiingan wrote:

Should I get a B or Bb?


That only really matters if you're playing with others. For Church music, Bb is necessary for Be Thou My Vision, which fits perfectly on the Generation Bb. For playing with uilleann pipers, B (natural) is handy, because many pipers have a B chanter in addition to their D chanter.

maiingan wrote:
How big a stretch is the fingering? I'd like to learn the low whistles. I'm assuming the finger spacing on them is farther apart than the High Bb?


Yes the finger-stretch gets bigger and bigger as you go lower. The bigger whistles take some getting used to! And are more comfortable if you learn "pipers grip".

maiingan wrote:
What tends to be more mellow on high notes brass or nickel?


Many people say they can't detect a difference, and many other people say they can, and that brass is a tad warmer/darker in tone while nickel and aluminum are brighter in tone.

You might like seeing/hearing this short video I did where I play a dozen different sizes of whistle from a High Eb to the huge Bass A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-fQhvleWq8&t=159s

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 5:49 pm 
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bwat wrote:
busterbill wrote:
I have yet to understand in Irish Traditional music we refer to instrumental music as tunes and music with words as songs. This is a nomenclature I've not run into in other genres. But it is a definite "thing" in Irish Trad.


It’s a thing everywhere. Ask yourself how weird it feels if you say ”sing a tune” or ”whistle a song”! Actually I suppose you could whistle a birdsong but that’s a different species altogether.



It is true, but in the American folk tradition, most classical, jazz, kid's classical and band music and many other folk traditions, often everything is a song, though in some context referred to as a tune. It is not uncommon to be at a concert and hear an artist refer to the next piece he is going to do as a song, only to hear a completely instrumental number.

When I was a kid in band or taking piano lessons, my teachers would say, "I think we're ready for a new song" all the time. We hadn't been singing anything. And the new piece on the next page didn't have words either. :D

And you are right colloquially: whistle a tune is a more common phrase. When I was in high school myself and a friend of mine worked up a nice whistling duet for the Star Spangled Banner complete with complex harmonies and hitting all those high notes. It was great fun. And most band directors would likely refer that as a song, tune, piece, march or anthem if they were introducing it in a concert or they were handing out the sheet music whether or not it was performed by two kids whistling, a brass band or there were any singers scheduled to appear in the concert. While in the trad tradition if we had a piece that was sometimes played by instruments only or sometimes sung by a singer, it would be referred to specifically as a song or a tune depending on whether a voice or only instruments were in the mix.

I know when my kids were learning cello, violin, saxophone, guitar, piano, non-trad banjo et al, each piece was referred to as a song or a piece, seldom as a tune.. "We are going to begin a new song on page x. (Again, no one was singing.) :D

In bluegrass, folk, pop or old time music concerts I have attended I have often heard one artist on stage turn to another and say, "Give us a tune" only to hear them sing a song.

Seldom have I heard the word tune or song relating to any specific piece of music as distinctly and specifically as I have in Irish Trad.

I'm no musicologist but do find it interesting.

It is a great tool for learning and communicating in this specific tradition. The distinction is a clear and useful way to function in a session setting. :D


Please forgive me malingan for hijacking this post. You will find it often happens and is usually done in the spirit of fun and sharing. :D

And yes, I'd recommend the Bb whistle. :D :thumbsup:


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 21, 2019 7:20 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
maiingan wrote:
I've memorized the Isle of Skye


I'm not familiar with that tune. Does it perhaps go by another name?

maiingan wrote:

Should I get a B or Bb?


Opps, I meant "The Skye Boat Song". Just my speed. Does anyone know slow airs or ballads without tons of high notes?

That only really matters if you're playing with others. For Church music, Bb is necessary for Be Thou My Vision, which fits perfectly on the Generation Bb. For playing with uilleann pipers, B (natural) is handy, because many pipers have a B chanter in addition to their D chanter.

maiingan wrote:
How big a stretch is the fingering? I'd like to learn the low whistles. I'm assuming the finger spacing on them is farther apart than the High Bb?


Yes the finger-stretch gets bigger and bigger as you go lower. The bigger whistles take some getting used to! And are more comfortable if you learn "pipers grip".

maiingan wrote:
What tends to be more mellow on high notes brass or nickel?


Many people say they can't detect a difference, and many other people say they can, and that brass is a tad warmer/darker in tone while nickel and aluminum are brighter in tone.

You might like seeing/hearing this short video I did where I play a dozen different sizes of whistle from a High Eb to the huge Bass A

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-fQhvleWq8&t=159s


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:42 am 
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Song ... a combination of lyrics and tune. I don't want to be funny here, but try checking a dictionary.

One reason for the spread of calling everything a "song" (I don't play "dance songs" at a ceilidh) I suspect is computer programmes and websites that list every track as a "song."

Being British I was also brought up on stuff like this :D

One song to the tune of another

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 4:49 am 
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Answering the question, as it's been posted elsewhere on the board I'll quote my answer on another thread.

Quote:
The spread of holes on a Generation Bb is only about an inch more that the D. That is an inch further from top to bottom hole than on a D whistle.

The Bb whistle is not a "low whistle" (a rather nebulous term in itself), it really is very similar to play to a C or D whistle. I wouldn't anticipate any issues, especially given your comments about paying the Clarinet.

As for Generation Bb whistles. They're fine whistles, and cheap so that you're not risking much. You mention the high notes on the D whistle and how practising with one can be wearing on your own hearing, let alone family members and your dog. A Bb can help with that, I often practise on a Bb, both because I wish to play one generally, but also because of the lower pitch whilst practising.

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 22, 2019 9:35 am 
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Thanks everyone! I think I'll order a Generation Bb then. It is too bad the low whistles have a high price. :lol:


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