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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:03 pm 
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Ever seen a whistle with an undercut blade?
I'm very curious about the possibility or usefulness of an undercut being put on a whistle blade (the sharp edge in the window where the air is split after it leaves the mouthpiece's windway). Almost all whistle blade designs are overcut designs; are angled only on the top side, so that the lower side of the blade, facing the inside of the whistle, is the unaltered inner surface of the tube itself, be it rounded or flattened.

This curiosity comes about from being a life-long flute player. A flute player can vary the direction of the air flow, from mostly downward into the tube, or much higher across the top of the tone hole. Very different tonal effects in both octaves can happen when you direct the air stream in different ways, either up/down or left/right (off of direct). A whistle with an undercut might allow higher air stream pressure to be directed downwards, and this may alter the tonal balance or allow the whistle to increase it's range of possible tone and loudness under different air stream pressures or staccato note attack pressure. I'd love to hear if this has been experimented with or if there are examples of undercut blades on high whistles or low whistles!

A whistle mouthpiece typically prevents the player from adjusting the angle of air stream approach to the blade edge, an undercut would provide some kind of new option. (The Japanese shakuhachi mouthpiece design is the only design I know that provides the typical whistle edge while allowing the player to adjust the airstream approach to the blade.) The undercut/overcut design balance could be adjusted to make sure the resulting playability in the two octaves achieved a good balance. Also, if the undercut angle was held below a certain level, hopefully any slight increase in chiff, from having a surface for the airstream to flow past, would be kept very minimal. If the edge of the blade was metal, it could be so sharp that any chiff added by an undercut would be balanced out by having chiff reduced in another area; from the edge of the blade.

I searched "Undercut" and found lots of use of the word in the Flute Forum, mostly about key holes, nothing about whistle blades.

Thanks for any thoughts on this at all! It's a very rare issue. Cheers!


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PostPosted: Sun Nov 03, 2019 8:33 pm 
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RoberTunes wrote:
Ever seen a whistle with an undercut blade?
or if there are examples of undercut blades on high whistles or low whistles!

I searched "Undercut" and found lots of use of the word in the Flute Forum, mostly about key holes, nothing about whistle blades.

Thanks for any thoughts on this at all! It's a very rare issue. Cheers!


Are you describing a Native American flute? Note the splitting edge.
https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/ ... natomy.jpg

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PostPosted: Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:50 pm 
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As Tommy says, undercutting is a characteristic of NAFs. It may be related to another characteristic ... switching between registers can be very difficult on some NAFs. In my experience, if a whistle blade is higher up in the airstream, it is harder to hit the second octave; undercutting the blade may lead to the same effect. This isn't a problem on NAFs, but is undesirable in a whistle.

At the other extreme is a whistle with no undercutting or overcutting: the airstream hits a 2 mm high wall at the far end of the window. I have a whistle like that on my desk, and it plays just fine. The break between registers is quite clean, with only a slight tendency to wobble in the transition.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 12, 2019 6:38 pm 
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Undercutting is really depending on how the rest of the whistle is made.
Lot of factors involved (here's a few - but not limited to this)
1. Shape of the windway.
2. Type of windway chamfer.
3. Is the windway floor at the same level as the inside bore surface?

As the other posters stated, it is much more common on Native American Flutes.
This is because Native flutes are usually made by cutting a duct that makes the windway on the surface of the flute. The floor of the windway can be much higher than the bore surface. It's called a "raised nest" and it usually requires undercutting or an "underramp".

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