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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:35 am 
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This is a place for Questions and Answers related to your whistle playing this year. Anyone is invited to jump in at any time, beginners and lurkers included. Questions:

1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?

Answer as many questions as you wish. Comments, suggestions, and general banter welcome. Bonus: You may also add new questions to the list.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:44 am 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
I'm a beginner, so I wasn't playing whistle last year. But I'm curious about what other players were able to do in one year.

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?
I want to finish the Ochs handbook, which means learning an additional 60 tunes. I'll also start to add ornaments. And I want to try learning some tunes by ear, since I've depended on sheet music until now.

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?
On high D whistle I'm working on The Bonny Bonny Broom, The Road to Boston, The Parting Glass, and Bonaparte's Grand March. On Bb whistle, I'm learning The Harp That Once Through Tara's Halls, and Niel Gow's Lament for the Death of his Second Wife (my current favorite — such a gorgeous piece :love: ).

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
I'd like to add something in the mezzo range, either an A or G whistle.

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
I most enjoy getting together with my friend to play duets. We are at about the same level. She plays finger-style 6-string baritone ukulele, and we are having so much fun with the whistle/uke combo.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:12 pm 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
Not a lot but had some fun. ;)

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?
To not buy any more, (I've got plenty), but you never know....

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?
Trying to learn Scottish tunes this year, (I'm a slow learner, & can't even remember a simple tune), no particular favourite.

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
None!!! :)

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
The simplicity.

P.S. I've also taken to playing the high 'D' flute/piccolo, I like the airy sound. :D

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 12:53 pm 
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fatmac wrote:
4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
None!!! :)

It's early in the year yet. There's plenty of time for that answer to change. :lol:


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 1:43 pm 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
Learned a couple of tunes and started making my own whistles.

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?
Learn a few more tunes and polish up the ones I know. Make more whistles and start selling them.

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?
"Air on G string" (but I play it on the flute mostly). And I am still often playing "Yellow Tinker" and a Mary Bergin set "Maid on the green/Bank of turf", which were the last tunes I learned.

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
A Goldie High D and a Burke narrow bore brass.

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
I just love making music, learning new tunes and techniques.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:13 pm 
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Maddie wrote:
1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?

Learned new tunes and tried to expand tune interest beyond Irish traditional music to include a few movie themes and TV programmes. My primary focus is traditional music.
Maddie wrote:
2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?

To stay focused on playing whistle thru daily practice. Sometimes I dream of moving on to other instruments while I know that I just want to master the whistle.
Maddie wrote:
3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?

I play with a group of musicians who attend various sessions so there is always an influx of new tunes, but, I only try to learn the particular tunes I like to hear. I also have my few personal tunes agenda that I really focus on home alone because I enjoy them most.
Maddie wrote:
4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?

I have a number of whistles various materials while I prefer wood generally. I'd like to expand into a few more keys beyond the A, Bb, C, D, Eb to the lowest keys, but aging hands and cramping effect the stretch along with much less lung power nowadays. There is no end to the quest for every whistle... with only budgetary limitations and an aging body. I have many duplicates old & new just for updated personal preferences.
Maddie wrote:
5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?

Foremost I enjoy playing whistle alone as I started later in life, much later, for personal pleasure.
As I progressed with a lot of reading here on C&F I began playing with a group of traditional musicians at every experience level who were/are currently extremely tolerant to the beginners struggling to learn music. STIMS is the group I play with regularly so the pleasure(s) have expanded to include socializing and making new friends. As of four years ago, I am also now playing with children, ages 5 - 12, learning the whistle which has drastically increased the overall enjoyment. Children absorb the music so much more easily and faster than I. At this point I would consider myself an "advanced newbeeish" whistler. :D So the whistling is really about having fun, fun, fun.

p.s. Look over to the left at avatar as that's the whistling born on date while I'm still just a pernurious tone-deaf wannabee whistler. Anniversary tomorrow!
p.p.s. For the really interested folks one of the most influential tidbits of learning music I encountered came from a fiddler, Tommy Peoples, (not a whistler) in the tome book: Ó Am go hAm – From Time to Time: page 28 in particular.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:37 pm 
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Considering other instruments -- you could always take up the flute (not necessarily low D, maybe an F or G, if you have problems with the "stretch") -- no need to learn new tunes or fingerings, just the embouchure (which IMO is not as hard as many claim, if you have a good instrument).


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 2:59 pm 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?

I started playing! In ~October 2019.

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?

I want to make some whistles, actually ... and particularly experiment with additional holes for chromatic or mostly-chromatic instruments.

Also, I want to develop my ear so I can improvise more effectively. And explore playing ragas / Indian music on the whistle. The hole layout seems very similar to a bansuri.

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?

I'm progressing through the OAIM lessons. I'm currently on "The Ten-Penny Bit".

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?

Personally made ones :-) Particularly a mezzo A or G with some extra holes. I'll probably experiment with different designs.

Maybe I will make some standard D whistles and given them to friends ...

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?

It's very convenient and sounds nice.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:13 pm 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
I am a rank beginner - I purchased a whistle and tutorial book (Instant tin whistle - Popular). I have essentially no musical background, but the whistle seemed like something I might be able to learn and so far I am enjoying it.

2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?
Complete the tutorials and be able to play the songs in the book fluently. My other goal is to learn some Christmas Carols and be ably to play them at Christmas 2020.

3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?
I'm still at the very beginning of the book - Old Macdonald, Yankee Doodle, Little Brown Jug, My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean, etc. I'm not sure I have a favorite; I'm pretty ignorant music in general and of Irish music in particular.

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
I've been thinking about a Parks whistle because it seems like reducing the volume would make me more comfortable practicing at home with people around.

5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
I like that it's accessible - I can play a tune with no experience - but also has levels of skill that I can aspire to. I also like that my daughter (age 7) is interested - I started on this for my personal enjoyment, but perhaps it will grow to be something we do together.

@Maddie: What key of whistle do you play with your friend?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 4:29 pm 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
Finding some places to practice. I practice mostly outside 3 seasons of the year, or inside after hours over at a university in stairwells.
2. What are your whistle-related goals for 2020?
Learning ornaments, trills, leaps and exploring all the optional keys on a whistle of a given key.
3. What tunes are you learning this month, and which is your current favorite?
I'm not playing anyone else's tunes, I'm focused on composing some music for a high school band, about 20 tunes, various styles, for high school bands to play. So I'm thinking in layers, not so much for solo instruments. Lots of instruments, recorders, who knows what else. It's about fun. Not theory. Fun! Deadline: a year from now.
4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?
Chieftain Thunderbird in G tops the wish list, a Tony Dixon DX001 for a portable practice whistle, an Anak high G or high F whistle (unique soaring buttery tone I love), I like the Milligan whistle sounds, I would love to try a Goldie in low F, an Alba whistle in A, I want to buy another Guinness D whistle (Walton's makes it), because I sold two of them and already used one on a recording so I just feel I should always have one, I definitely want one or two North American First Nations style flute/whistles of good quality very soon, I've been looking into some good quality bamboo flutes from India and I think I'm buying a Goldfinch whistle this year, they impress me as very well-playing whistles with a bird-like tone I enjoy.
5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
Adding to range of musical expressiveness. Learning about whistle design features that help or hinder playing them.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 6:23 pm 
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pandelume wrote:
@Maddie: What key of whistle do you play with your friend?

I only have whistles in two keys so far, high D and Bb. I read everything as if it were written for a D whistle. For Bb whistle, I transpose the tune down a major third with MuseScore, but I keep a copy of the original D whistle part to read. Then my friend writes her part to match the Bb whistle part. Sometimes we'll compose parts for more instruments, such as a fiddle, concertina, or harp. We swap files and practice our respective parts against a backing track with the other parts. When we get together, we plug in an amp to play any extra instruments in the backing tracks.

I'm sure that's more information than you needed, lol.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 7:12 pm 
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Maddie wrote:
pandelume wrote:
@Maddie: What key of whistle do you play with your friend?

I only have whistles in two keys so far, high D and Bb. I read everything as if it were written for a D whistle. For Bb whistle, I transpose the tune down a major third with MuseScore, but I keep a copy of the original D whistle part to read. Then my friend writes her part to match the Bb whistle part. Sometimes we'll compose parts for more instruments, such as a fiddle, concertina, or harp. We swap files and practice our respective parts against a backing track with the other parts. When we get together, we plug in an amp to play any extra instruments in the backing tracks.

I'm sure that's more information than you needed, lol.


Oh, no, not at all - I appreciate the answer. I don't have much experience or knowledge of music theory, but I gather that playing a Bb whistle as though it were a D whistle naturally transposes without alternate fingering. I'm a little more unclear on how you play in Bb (say) on a baritone ukulele, but perhaps it doesn't matter if you're playing individual notes rather than chords?

If you don't mind my asking, are you writing original music or arranging existing songs for whistle and ukulele (and, fiddle, harp, etc.)?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 10:09 pm 
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I'm hijacking my own thread to talk about transcribing for different whistle keys, so anyone is welcome to skip this post and continue reading and answering the original Q & A thread below. :)

pandelume wrote:
I don't have much experience or knowledge of music theory,


I only know enough music theory to be able to muddle along. MuseScore does most of the work for you. It's a free program available at https://musescore.org/en . There's a learning curve, but it's worth it if you want to arrange your own sheet music. Note that the program itself is free from the .org site. The MuseScore.com site has music available to download, but there is a membership fee. You do not have to join the .com site to use the free program. You can also download ABC notation from a site such as TheSession.org and import it into the MuseScore program, all of which is free.

Quote:
... but I gather that playing a Bb whistle as though it were a D whistle naturally transposes without alternate fingering.


Exactly. I'm new to whistle, but I believe you can play any whistle, in any key, with the same fingerings as a D whistle. When you're playing solo, the whistle's pitch doesn't matter. But when you're playing with a backing track or another instrument, that's when the music needs to be transposed so that the pitches match. However, you can still read the whistle part as if you were playing a D whistle, as long as it's written that way.

Quote:
I'm a little more unclear on how you play in Bb (say) on a baritone ukulele, but perhaps it doesn't matter if you're playing individual notes rather than chords?


My friend simplifies the chords that are not uke-friendly. For example, she might play an arpeggio on three strings rather than all six, and she often plays individual eighth notes rather than strumming. The keys don't matter all that much because she reads numbered tabs output from MuseScore.

Quote:
If you don't mind my asking, are you writing original music or arranging existing songs for whistle and ukulele (and, fiddle, harp, etc.)?


We aren't composing our own music from scratch, although we might write supplemental parts to augment a score. Here's an example. I started with this piano piece: https://musescore.com/user/27057308/scores/5362835
I changed the instrument to harp rather than piano. I extracted the top treble clef notes for the whistle melody line, another task that MuseScore automates. The original key is Eb major (3 flats), so I transposed everything to D major (2 sharps) to fit on a D whistle. I duplicated the whistle part, and then transposed the second whistle part and the harp part to Bb major (2 flats) for the Bb whistle. I'm reading and playing the first whistle part, which is in 2 sharps, but that part's audio needs to be muted. The only whistle part that plays audio is the Bb whistle.

At that point, I sent the file to my friend, and she wrote her uke part. From that link above, you can see how portions of the piano's bass clef line would translate well to fingerstyle guitar or ukulele. In other sections, she composed her part based on the harmonies.

That gives you an idea of what's involved, and it doesn't take that much time to do. My friend and I have been using MuseScore for about 2 years now. Playing with that program is almost as much fun as playing whistle. Where it has really helped us learn the music is being able to slow down the tempo for playing along with the tracks. That makes it a great learning tool, and it's a lot more fun than playing with a metronome.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 05, 2020 11:03 pm 
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cng1 wrote:
1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?
I started playing! In ~October 2019.

It's nice to see other beginners here. :)

Quote:
I want to make some whistles, actually ... and particularly experiment with additional holes for chromatic or mostly-chromatic instruments.

Sedi also mentioned making whistles. I can't imagine what's involved in figuring all that out.

Quote:
Also, I want to develop my ear so I can improvise more effectively. And explore playing ragas / Indian music on the whistle. The hole layout seems very similar to a bansuri.

Okay, I'll admit I had to look up bansuri on YouTube. There are so many different styles of music to explore.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 4:44 am 
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Sedi wrote:
Considering other instruments -- you could always take up the flute (not necessarily low D, maybe an F or G, if you have problems with the "stretch") -- no need to learn new tunes or fingerings, just the embouchure (which IMO is not as hard as many claim, if you have a good instrument).


I wasn't going to respond to this but it has been bugging me a bit: I think that post is a gross misunderestimation of what it is to be a traditional fluteplayer.

In the recent ' 'Sé Mo Laoch Patsy Hanly' Catherine McEvoy described the man's playing as 'proper fluteplayi9ng, not playing the tinwhistle on the flute'. Even allowing for the more flowing, less rhythmic and puffy flute styles I think that statement is spot on. The flute would seem the same perhaps, but it is a different instrument with a different mindset.

Sure, you can translate your whistleplaying to the bigger instrument and blow tunes on it but I think you will have to sit down with a few traditional fluteplayers to realise the power and sheer physicality needed to really play the flute. It's not for the faint hearted.

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