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 Post subject: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:19 am 
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Hi together :)

Finally I managed to learn my very first song on a tin whistle :) I've got a Clarke in D :thumbsup:

Since it's my first try, I restricted the ornaments to a few taps and a slide as finishing move.
And I play in a moderate speed yet to not get stressed out.

A big issue for me is to decide when to play legato or staccato.
Is there any rule how to mix those or is one prefered to be used more than the other?
Do you learn that by heart and play a song always the same way or do you improvise during playing and it's different each time you play a song?

Same questions for ornaments. Any guidlines where to place them or simply where you think it sounds best? Do you always play the same or vary it spontaneously each time you play the same song?
I find it very difficult to focus on the correct melody, if I would'nt decide before where to play which ornament and learn it by heart, I suppose I would knot my fingers during playing. The speed of Irish tunes even complicates it. Maybe it's getting more relaxed over time.

And what's the best way to learn a new song?
My current strategy is to learn the main melody of a new song very very slowly until I can play passably fluent. And then add more and more ornaments and speed up.

What is the widespread opinion for adding ornaments to a tin whistle tune? The more and faster the heroic the player or better spare and preserve the actual melody?
Or is that totally personal preference?

Ok, here is a recording of my first tin whistle song, it's about a week of practicing. I would be thankful for all kinds of criticism and tips :)
Express your opinion ruthlessly :tomato:
Since I just started learning to play tin whistle it's not too late to prevent bad habits :D
(There is no cheat slip in front of me, that is my concentrated gaze xD)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zp2oSu0RHiU

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Sun Apr 12, 2020 3:28 pm 
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I'll leave "ornament" instructions to others, since I'm a rookie. When I see top whistle/flute talent like Orlaith McAuliffe, Matt Malloy or Mary Bergin playing, the ornaments are smoothly applied and fully integrated into the structure of the piece and the musical feel of the piece. I often find myself wondering which note was an actual "note" in the piece, and which notes are ornaments or "effects", because it has all become unified. It also allows application of personal style to a piece. A musical piece in sheet music may be just the bare bones of an idea, where a good supply of added feel, some ornaments, some experimenting, can build on that and achieve wonders. Add a pub atmosphere, beers, some giggles, a band, and you've got a real situation!

As for legato VS staccato, to my ear, it depends on the music; what is most suitable for what the music needs at the time; the feel, the phrasing, the flow of it, what it's trying to do, what you can discover it CAN do, what the whistle is doing relative to other instruments, what phase the musical piece is in (the start of a piece, intro, outtro, middle, ending, bridges, instrumental solo, working with a vocal, etc.).

I'd encourage exploring options with ornaments, to discover possibilities as well as build ability to read the canvas of music as a field where ornaments and other playing options can be employed. You might find in one section that a certain type of ornament, like a roll, or a one-note-away tap or cut, just doesn't give you something musically fitting, but some other ornament will, perhaps a fast two-note-away trill or just applying vibrato without changing the note. Maybe it's the right place for a leap, a 3 or more note tap, cut, trill or effect. Even an octave leap can be used in some situations, to pass the musical time in a more expressive way. If the music is slow, it may be sensitive to what other instruments are doing in that time span.

I find that when practicing ornaments, they give so much flexibility to music that just practicing ornaments creates all sort of musical ideas, raw material which thrown in good soil, becomes musical phrasing, musical fibre.


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 7:43 am 
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Meticus wrote:
I managed to learn my very first song on a tin whistle


Congrats!

I see you're a piper, cool. I play Highland pipes and uilleann pipes, I did have a Flemish pipe for a while (by Arie de Keyzer) but I never got very far with it.

Meticus wrote:
I restricted the ornaments to a few taps and a slide


Happily on trad Irish whistle there's not a big catalogue of ornaments to learn like there is on Highland pipes and uilleann pipes.

Basically it's "cuts and pats" as they say, a "cut" being an upper gracenote and a "pat" being a lower gracenote.

Cuts and pats are strung together in various ways to create rolls, semi-crans, and full crans. IMHO full crans aren't really part of the older traditional whistle technique anyway.

Here's my super-quick guide to cuts, pats, and rolls https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nfu_fDUyNHs&t=21s

And my quick demonstration of putting it all together https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=35SqhcSojn8

Meticus wrote:
A big issue for me is to decide when to play legato or staccato.
Is there any rule how to mix those or is one prefered to be used more than the other?
Do you learn that by heart and play a song always the same way or do you improvise during playing and it's different each time you play a song?


Yes the matter of articulation with tonguing is difficult. It took me longer to integrate that (becoming natural and unconscious) than it did the ornamentation.

There are different styles/approaches to tonguing, the best thing to do IMHO is to listen to Mary Bergin as much as you can. For me, she's the best at it.

Years ago I attended a whistle workshop, the workshop leader had fully transcribed several performances of Mary Bergin including all the articulation! I don't think it would make sense to try to recreate that specific Mary Bergin performance by sightreading that transcription. However I found it fascinating and valuable to study.

There's no "rules" per se but there are patterns or habits that players have. One pattern you'll hear is in a reel where there are groups of four 8th-notes strung together is to play the first two 8th-notes legato then separate the two last 8th-notes by tonguing. But you wouldn't want to play in a predictable pattern like that! You would sound like a machine. The phrases of the tune, and your individual style, are the guides to when to tongue notes.

Meticus wrote:
Any guidlines where to place ornaments or simply where you think it sounds best? Do you always play the same or vary it spontaneously each time you play the same song?


Once again for guidelines I would listen to Mary Bergin. She shows wonderful taste and restraint, she never over-does the ornaments.

I have two theoretical/philosophical positions that many will disagree with, but I see you've put much thought into these issues so I'll lay out my attitudes:

1) I believe that there is very little, oftentimes no, ornamentation in Irish flute and whistle playing.

I say this because I view cuts, pats, and the rolls which are built from cuts and pats to be articulation, not ornamentation.

Cuts and pats separate notes, and are an alternate to tongued separation. When you separate two notes with the tongue it's not an "ornament" and neither is it when you do the same thing using the fingers. I call cuts and pats and rolls "digital articulation" rather than ornamentation.

2) I believe that traditional Irish dance tunes and in particular reels are built up from traditional tune-fragments. The longer one plays Irish reels the larger one's vocabulary of these fragments get. These fragments (they could be called motifs or licks) tend to exist in families. Each family has a particular musical function, being built around a particular harmonic idea (or chord if you like) and occupying a particular length. When many trad musicians pick up a tune on the fly by ear they don't have to memorise a specific string of 8th-notes, rather they identify motif-families.

This struck me 30 years ago when I could play a tune to a trad player (a tune they had not heard) and they would play it right back to me, but their version would be quite different, and better, than the way I played it!

So when you play you're not improvising in a jazz sense but rather making selections on the fly about which member of a motif-family to shove into the situation at the last second.

So it's not spontaneous in the sense of composing new material of the fly. You're choosing from building-blocks you've already played thousands of times in an endless number of tunes.

Meticus wrote:
what's the best way to learn a new song?


I think it's far better to learn tunes by ear.

Beyond that, and speaking of the dance music (rather than vocal pieces) the way I was taught, back 40 years ago, was my mentor would teach me a basic version of a tune. This basic version wasn't a dumbed-down version but a performable version with rolls in all the standard places for that tune. Once I had the basic version down he would start playing through variations, exploring what could be done to the tune.

He would say "better to learn 20 ways to play one tune, than to learn 20 tunes." That's how I learned, and when I teach that's how I teach. (You teach how you learned, I suppose.)

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Mon Apr 13, 2020 9:34 am 
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the Original Clarke is a great whistle, as far as playing, i play by ear it seems easier, for me, ornamentation well that just comes naturaly durng the learning process or it would be completly boring :D ,
i dont think anyone plays the same tune the same way, looks like you play pipes, well you got all the ornamentation you need, cuts , taps, triplets, rolls, grips, etc. .There is alot of good players out there to learn from, i bought a book years ago,
the Clarke tin whistle by bill ochs, it was interesting, but got bored.
listened to cassettes and CDs ,Mary bergin , vinnie kilduff, these were some sweet players for sure--- then somewhere arounf 2005 youtube started

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Tue Apr 14, 2020 12:50 pm 
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Thank you all very much for your replies :)

I see, the concern how to play 'correctly' can run very deep and get very complicated.
So if I understand correctly, for me as a beginner it is better to simply play a lot and listen to other players to get a feeling for that type of music. Practise ornaments resp. articulation try legato and staccato and not to ponder too much if it is the correct position.
Then hopefully the rest will come naturally over time.

You all mentioned a Mary Bergin, sounds she is a good address to get some inspiration :D
I will check out some YouTube videos.

I think my second song on my tin whistle will be 'Foggy Dew' :)
I'm a little concerned to get confused with the different fingering, so I decided to not play my bagpipe songs on my tin whistle and vise versa :D

pancelticpiper wrote:
I see you're a piper, cool.

At least I try to become one :D I just started learning to play in January this year.

pancelticpiper wrote:
the workshop leader had fully transcribed several performances of Mary Bergin including all the articulation!

I'm learning to play the German bagpipe with a book. The notes in that book also include all articulations. Now I often place simple ornaments myself, but for a start I found it very helpful to get a feeling.

cavefish wrote:
looks like you play pipes, well you got all the ornamentation you need

I only learn to play the German bagpipe for about 2,5 months now. I know cuts and taps so far.

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 1:11 pm 
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While on my way to a player of Irish traditional music, here a little experiment with my tin whistle.
Topic is a challenge in a guitar forum. Task is an improvisation (mostly guitar, but other instruments are welcomed as well) to a given backing track.
Since I currently have my tin whistle within reach anyway I tried to use it for the challenge. I was surprised how good it fits (didn't know what to do with that backing track at first).
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sbvXQjDxMqo
Of course I did not play the whistle track continuously, I recorded several parts. I'm not such a good player yet and there was not much time :D

Do you have some not so common combinations of tin whistle and other instruments?

Back to the topic, there are some notes which have different fingering, e.g. D+ either all holes closed or all but the first.
Which one do you use? On my whistle there is a very slight difference in the sound but both variants sound correct to me. Is that only relevant for D++?

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Fri Apr 17, 2020 7:22 pm 
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oh yea i always have a whistle at hand ,most everything i own i make or adapt something in wood to fit each purpose,
as far as D finger placement they both work fine XXXXXX for me is clearer, OXXXXX is fine, but depending on your playing , whistle/flute or finger positions at the time either position works out ,i think the real fast guys use differrent positions based on the tune for speed purposes, me i use it in the third octave after a OXXXOO then OXXXXX,,or when ever ,,,its all on the tune for me , Dark slender boy, sullane jig etc. this worked good in the 3rd ocatve
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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2020 5:18 am 
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cavefish wrote:
most everything i own i make or adapt something in wood to fit each purpose

Looks very nice, your decoration! I fear my whistle must be contented lying about somewhere :D

cavefish wrote:
as far as D finger placement they both work fine

Ok, then I keep to the OXXXXX for now. Somehow that one works better for me.

cavefish wrote:
i think the real fast guys use differrent positions based on the tune for speed purposes

Well, I think I'm far beyond such concerns yet. But maybe one day... :D

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 6:37 am 
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Meticus wrote:


You're doing great!

I see you're from Nuremburg. I have friends in Herzogenaurach!

Some of the best made whistle come out of Germany. Check out https://www.colingoldie.de/home.html

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 8:49 am 
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yea bro you look like your on a nice path to becoming if not already very :thumbsup: talented, good job

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 5:37 am 
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technowhistle wrote:
You're doing great!

Thank you :)

technowhistle wrote:
I see you're from Nuremburg. I have friends in Herzogenaurach!

Yes, I live in Nuremberg and work in Fürth, from there Herzogenaurach is just a stone's throw away! :wink:

technowhistle wrote:
Some of the best made whistle come out of Germany. Check out https://www.colingoldie.de/home.html

Oh, didn't know that! I thought all true whistles come from the British Isles :D
Thanks for the link!

cavefish wrote:
yea bro you look like your on a nice path to becoming if not already very :thumbsup: talented, good job

Thank you :) We'll see, I often have the problem that I learn new things very quickly but then reach a level where there is not further progress and I'm stuck :lol:

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:32 am 
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Hi,
now I've learned my second tune on my whistle, "Foggy Dew" :D

Besides some cuts and taps, this time I also tried to add a roll. Learning the ornament was quite easy, but an issue was, where to place it.
I decided to play the roll at the end of the 6th note (the e') and then always added the ornament the same way whenever that part of the tune repeats. I'm not sure if I'm using the roll correctly, but for me it sounds fine :D

Sometimes the transitions between two notes (especially in the area of the d') are not very smooth, it's still a challenge.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IhokWLbLwDk

I'm grateful for further tips and tricks :D

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:54 am 
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Learning the ornament was quite easy, but an issue was, where to place it.
I decided to play the roll at the end of the 6th note (the e') and then always added the ornament the same way whenever that part of the tune repeats.


I am not sure this is the best tune to put rolls in. That said, I can see a few spots that may take a short roll if you really want to but I'd exercise a bit of caution there and wouldn't go too heavy on them. There's ample room for simple ornamentation to support the melody, just perhaps not rolls as such. There are probably more suitable tunes to get your rolls going.

I think it would help if you listen to a few well sung versions of the song and play it like a singer singing it, get some life into it and make it sound less of an exercise.

Rolls are a very light overlay of gracenotes, mere blips rather than actual notes. You may want to listen to some examples and follow those.

Someone uploaded an old tutor book with sound samples that could be useful to you see this thread for links to the downloadable files, both pdf and soundfiles. It's very basic stuff and arguably of its time but it's sound to work from and will give you a solid foundation for your playing.

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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Fri Jun 26, 2020 10:44 pm 
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Very nice, keep it up


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 Post subject: Re: Tin Whistle Beginner
PostPosted: Tue Jul 07, 2020 11:32 pm 
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Hi!

Thank you very much for your feedback! :)

Mr.Gumby wrote:
I am not sure this is the best tune to put rolls in. That said, I can see a few spots that may take a short roll if you really want to but I'd exercise a bit of caution there and wouldn't go too heavy on them. There's ample room for simple ornamentation to support the melody, just perhaps not rolls as such. There are probably more suitable tunes to get your rolls going..

I sometimes watch videos of good whistle players on Youtube to get a feeling for the ornaments, but often it's difficult to find out what's tune and what's ornament :D
Additionally most songs are played very fast and everyone plays them in a different way.

Mr.Gumby wrote:
I think it would help if you listen to a few well sung versions of the song and play it like a singer singing it, get some life into it and make it sound less of an exercise.

That's a good hint, I only learned with whistle tutorials for the melody so far. Getting the song to life is very difficult because I still need a lot of concentration :lol: I hope that gets better over time xD

Mr.Gumby wrote:
Someone uploaded an old tutor book with sound samples that could be useful to you see this thread

Thanks for the link, I downloaded the book, looks very helpful for the beginning.

Narzog wrote:
Very nice, keep it up

Thank you :)

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