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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 5:06 am 
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True, you need proper diaphragm support. I had lessons as a kid so maybe I underestimate the effort for a beginner. Things like the embouchure and diaphragm breathing came quite natural to me but it seems it is more complicated to learn for some. I also often underestimate the difficulties people have with learning by ear. I've been doing it since I was 8 so I always think it's easy.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:35 am 
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I have to agree, finding your embouchure on a flute isn't easy, & they do play a bit differently than the whistle, even though the fingerings may be the same. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:35 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).


Interesting point you make, Sedi. I may give it a shot, but I've heard a few flute players speak of the ergonomic challenges of the flute, not to mention the embrochure challenges. I totally failed when I tried it on the fife, but that is another story altogether. :D


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:41 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
'proper fluteplaying, not playing the tinwhistle on the flute'.


There's an Irish fellow here who only played high whistle at the sessions for years, his style an excellent highly developed style that I think of as a "pure whistle style" akin to Mary Bergin's playing. Then he got a flute, and it surprised me that from the get-go he played the flute in what I think of as a "pure flute style" completely different from how he played whistle. I expected some crossover from his many years of high whistle playing but no.

The influence of the instrument on the style (and repertoire) in ITM has always interested me. Seems that in ITM there are two opposing tendencies, one is the melding or consensus of styles due to different instruments playing together regularly and the other is each instrument influencing style in a unique way.

Back in the 1970s when I started playing Irish flute I listened to all the flutists on albums I could find (there weren't any players here) and it seemed to me that flutists were in two camps: those trying to make the flute sound like the uilleann pipes, and those trying to make the flute sound like the fiddle. Where were the flutists doing a pure flute style, a style that took full advantage of the unique things that the flute does, things that the pipes and fiddle cannot? A style that says the flute is co-equal among the other instruments and doesn't need to derive its style from them?

I found what I was seeking when I listened to the early recordings, the Irish flutists from the 1920s and 1930s. Later I found that this style was alive and well in Ireland, but for some reason wasn't well represented by commercial recordings available in the USA.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:55 am 
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1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?

1) Continue the process of selling off my Burkes in various keys and acquiring replacements for those keys that play more to my liking.

2) Do a modification to a Generation Bb head that resulted in a terrific whistle.

3) Acquire a mezzo F that came with a rather sharp 2nd octave and worked on modifying the blade to bring the 2nd octave down.

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

Get a mezzo F, and Low E, that I'm really happy with. My current whistles in those keys are fairly good but I'd like to find better.

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

No new tunes on the whistle. The Pipe Band is taking up most of my music time, I've been writing harmony parts and rehearsing for the upcoming competition season.

Last March I had to learn a pile of tunes on whistle for some St Patrick's Day gigs, when I sat in with a band. We have two gigs coming up this St Pat's so I'll need to refresh those tunes.

4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?

Same as I mentioned above, I'm looking for a super mezzo F and Low E.

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

Mainly that it doesn't hurt to play it! I had to give up playing flute.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:32 am 
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From earlier in the thread:

ytliek wrote:
Maddie wrote:
5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
... 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.

Is this the group? https://www.shamrockirishmusic.org/index.html
You probably already realize how lucky you are to live close to a welcoming group like that. There's nothing comparable in my area. I'm not interested in performance, but if I could hide within a large enough group, I'd be okay. Then again, it's hard to "hide" playing a high whistle.

Quote:
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.

It's said that the best way to master something is to teach it. Those kids must keep you on your toes.

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At this point I would consider myself an "advanced newbeeish" whistler. :D

Quite a few players fall into that category, advanced beginner, and we need a better name for it. I like the term improvers, which comes from one of Claire McKenna's books. She refers to: Beginners, Improvers, Advanced. I'd call it four categories: Beginners, Improvers, Intermediate, Advanced. Either way, I like thinking of myself as an improver on whistle. I'll be content to remain in that category for years. :D

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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!

Happy anniversary! Yesterday was my one-month anniversary of joining the forum, although I've been reading it for longer than that.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 8:51 am 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
2) Do a modification to a Generation Bb head that resulted in a terrific whistle.

I ordered a Bb Gen last month, and I added Blu Tack. Mine is fine for the price, and I'm enjoying playing it, although I wouldn't call it a "terrific" whistle. You are probably talking about some modifications that are much more involved than my simple tweak. In a perfect world, whistle manufacturers would make them that way off the shelf.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:11 am 
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Maddie wrote:
pancelticpiper wrote:
2) Do a modification to a Generation Bb head that resulted in a terrific whistle.

I ordered a Bb Gen last month, and I added Blu Tack. Mine is fine for the price, and I'm enjoying playing it, although I wouldn't call it a "terrific" whistle. You are probably talking about some modifications that are much more involved than my simple tweak. In a perfect world, whistle manufacturers would make them that way off the shelf.


Initially, I also used to putty-fill the cavity, but to my ears, the Generation Bb sounds better without the putty-fill.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:14 am 
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Sedi wrote:
... I also often underestimate the difficulties people have with learning by ear. I've been doing it since I was 8 so I always think it's easy.

Lucky you! Learning by ear is one of the 2020 goals that I posted yesterday. After years of using sheet music with other instruments, learning by ear just doesn't come naturally to me. I've decided my stumbling block is that I don't like to make mistakes. When learning a new tune, I read the sheet s-l-o-w-l-y so that I make almost no errors. This is because I believe the saying "Practice makes permanent." I don't want to practice a mistake.

The few times I've tried to play a new tune by ear, I've made all sorts of mistakes. Even after I learn a simple tune that way, those early mistakes tend to resurface later.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:31 am 
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Tyler DelGregg wrote:
Initially, I also used to putty-fill the cavity, but to my ears, the Generation Bb sounds better without the putty-fill.

When mine arrived, the two lowest notes were quite weak. I thought the putty improved them, especially the xxxxxx note. The xxxxxo note is still a bit anemic. From what I've read so far, the Blu Tack tweak is supposed to help the high notes, but in this case I thought it helped the low ones. The high notes still sound breathier than I would like, with less of a pure tone. Some people like that breathy quality, though, since it adds character.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 9:58 am 
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From earlier in the thread:

RoberTunes wrote:
I practice mostly outside 3 seasons of the year, or inside after hours over at a university in stairwells.

I've never tried that, but stairwells are supposed to have awesome acoustics.

Quote:
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.

Adding ornaments is one of my goals, too, and I've decided to start playing them even though I'm still a beginner. On whistle, I love the sound of them. Learning them now is following this logic: "Life is short. Eat dessert first."

Quote:
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.

Whoa! That's quite a wish list. I would have a hard time prioritizing which to buy first.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 10:32 am 
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Maddie wrote:
Tyler DelGregg wrote:
Initially, I also used to putty-fill the cavity, but to my ears, the Generation Bb sounds better without the putty-fill.

When mine arrived, the two lowest notes were quite weak. I thought the putty improved them, especially the xxxxxx note. The xxxxxo note is still a bit anemic. From what I've read so far, the Blu Tack tweak is supposed to help the high notes, but in this case I thought it helped the low ones. The high notes still sound breathier than I would like, with less of a pure tone. Some people like that breathy quality, though, since it adds character.


Don't believe everything you read on the internet. You are discovering something that is in the nature of whistles, about the relationship between the strength of the bell note (and lower octave) and the second octave. What were you after? A louder bell note and a quieter/sweeter top of the upper octave? A lump of Blu tack in the head won't do that.

All whistles are a compromise on that spectrum. Generation whistles sit in the area of being a quieter, nimble whistle with a more complex tone with chiff and definite a character that is sometimes labelled as "traditional." And being designed as a quieter smaller bore whistle, they have an easier second octave that doesn't blow your ear drums out.

Blu tak in the head? No, not for me. I experimented with a couple of whistles when I heard about it and it did nothing that I thought positive. The tone felt stuffy, they were less light and nimble to play etc. Sure it "thickened up" the tone, but not in a way I liked and they were no longer really sounding and playing like Generation whistles.

Really don't like Generations? Well, get something different, but, as I say, you'll find that all whistles are a compromise. Maybe you'll be one of those who in years to come try their Generation whistles again and are surprised how they've improved with age. After all, a month of playing is no time at all.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:20 am 
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I suppose I'd ought to help get this thread back on the rails again :-/

Maddie wrote:
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:


Maddie wrote:
1. What did you accomplish on whistle in 2019?


Played music :-P

OK then ... um. Arranged playing more tin whistle in the band. Got to play a few interesting places and festivals. We don't play many (well, any really) folk festivals, which is a curiosity considering what we play. We end up at "alternative" (whatever that is), rock, electronic music festivals ... all sorts. It's an odd "career" for a trad musician.

Bought a full set (and several other) of "old style" Generation whistles. It was partly so that I could have whistles in rolls/bags ready for going to gigs/practicse/sessions and still have others out and ready to practise with at home. It's sort of worked, but not completely.

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


More of the same as 2019 :-) More whistle inserted into band sets and at sessions. Oh, and apparently we'll be playing at least one folk festival this year and maybe more. Forget the stages, I'm hoping for some good festival sessions. :-D

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


No tune is ever learnt (he says piously). I'm forever deconstructing the way I play tunes on whistle or melodeon, and then ending up playing them differently again at a session or something.

On the whistle, I've been going through a hornpipe stage. Remembering, learning and polishing up hornpipes that I remember being played at a session many years ago by a friend who was keen on hornpipes, and played them very well.

Maddie wrote:
4. What whistles are on your 2020 Wish List?


Nothing much really. I ponder the thought of a G whistle, but there's no kind of hurry there. It might or might not happen given the opportunity.

Except ... anyone got a nice loud "windproof" outdoors D whistle (not a Susato) they might exchange for a Yamaha flute?

That's the "Nothing much really" out the window, then :-D

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


The music. Seriously, isn't that why we play at all? The tin whistle was just by chance because I was given one as a kid by my (tin whistle playing) father.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 11:45 am 
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Maddie wrote:
5. What do you enjoy most about playing tin whistle?
... 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.
Maddie wrote:
Is this the group? https://www.shamrockirishmusic.org/index.html
You probably already realize how lucky you are to live close to a welcoming group like that. There's nothing comparable in my area. I'm not interested in performance, but if I could hide within a large enough group, I'd be okay. Then again, it's hard to "hide" playing a high whistle.

Yes that is STIMS. Yes, for a long time I did hide in the back row or chose not to play every gig until I knew tunes very well. I still sit out a lot while I take the photos documenting the various events. Most of the Irish musicians/bands passing through NYC or Boston come thru our area. One thing I learned with STIMS group is traditional music is played all year long and not just at annual festival or St. Patrick's Day Parade. The music may not be everyone's cuppa, yet, we still play throughout the year at schools, special events, parties, and assisted living facilities... just about any occasion.
Maddie wrote:
Happy anniversary! Yesterday was my one-month anniversary of joining the forum, although I've been reading it for longer than that.

Yes, I too was a lurker on the C&F Whistle Forum before asking for help. I received excellent help too. I prefer the Chiff Forums to the various social media sites because this old style forum is searchable and archives a tremendous amount of info. I spend more time researching past threads for the wisdom therein... daily. :)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 7:37 pm 
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Maddie wrote:
I ordered a Bb Gen...I wouldn't call it a "terrific" whistle. You are probably talking about some modifications that are much more involved...


A bit more involved, but really fairly easy and quick to do.

I have a half-dozen old Generation Bb's sitting around and all of them have flat 2nd octaves. In addition probably none of them have the windway and blade optimally aligned.

When that alignment is just right it's like magic. The 2nd octave is sweet and easy, the low octave is full and round, the "action" is light and super responsive, and the whistle is very air-efficient. In other words all the things that happen on the flute if you have a really focused embouchure.

How you get these nice things is by sawing the head in twain right through the middle of the window. You can file the surfaces to take away as much material as you please; shortening the window raises the pitch of the 2nd octave.

When you glue the halves back together (using the smelly dangerous styrene cement) you have a couple minutes when the glue will hold the halves together enough to play the whistle, but still be moveable. You can experiment with various alignments of the windway and blade until you get the sweet spot where everything is optimal.

On the left is a perfectly good off-the-shelf Generation Bb with a rather flat 2nd octave and pretty good voicing.

On the right is best Bb I've ever owned, perhaps the best I've tried. Its tuning is perfection as is the voicing. The modification took less that half an hour.

Image

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


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