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 Post subject: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:34 am 
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I have been told by some people it may be best to start out on an alto/low whistle like a G or F or E since the fingering on a Low D may be a problem. My question today is that since most all Irish music I see is written in the Key D how does one go about playing the music on the Low F? Do you just transpose all the music up to the Key F and go for it since the lowest note is F? I guess you need to just get some type of software on the computer to write your own music so that it would be easy to print out. Also since I would like to use it with our church band I am just limited to playing in Keys of F and Gm? Thanks for any info.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:25 am 
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If you're reading from sheet music, then all fingers down (aka all 6 holes covered) is always the D on sheet music. It comes out as F, but you read and think of everything as if you're just playing a D whistle.

By the way, this is exactly what it means to be a transposing instrument, although with Irish music we refer to the D fingering as the reference, whereas classic music uses the C fingering as the reference note.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:29 am 
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I'd question that initial statement. For me it is by no means easier to play an F or G opposed to a D. For me (I have large hands) an F whistle is just at the "border". Not big enough for a comfortable "piper's grip" and almost too large for a normal grip. I'd go straight for the low D and learn the low D whistle grip. To me that is more comfy to play than an F. The reason is that the larger holes on a low D are easier sealed with the fleshy parts of the fingers between the knuckles. Which doesn't work too great for me on an F or G.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:44 am 
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I'd agree with Sedi. Just take the leap and learn the pipers grip. This way, you can play any low whistle. It's not too challenging to master if you're willing to put in some time. I love the low F whistle for it's size, easy breath requirements and general fun factor. But, switching back and forth, Low F to Low D, is not a big deal if you're using the pipers grip.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 11:57 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
If you are playing on your own, just treat it like a 'D' as regards to sheet music, i.e. all fingers down.

If you intend playing with others, then you will need to play it as an 'F', otherwise you won't fit in very well at all. :wink:

The 'A' is the biggest size that can usually be played with the finger tips, depending on your finger stretch, you may be able to play a low 'G', but usually, from a low 'G' down will need the pipers grip.

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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:36 pm 
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BKWeid wrote:
I'd agree with Sedi. Just take the leap and learn the pipers grip. This way, you can play any low whistle. It's not too challenging to master if you're willing to put in some time. I love the low F whistle for it's size, easy breath requirements and general fun factor. But, switching back and forth, Low F to Low D, is not a big deal if you're using the pipers grip.


I have used the piper's grip when I had a low D many years ago. I got fairly used to it but I think the biggest problem I had was the wind efficiency. It seemed I was just blowing into a large pipe and not enough air to really play nicely. I had an Obrien and a Kerry Chieftain V3. I hear the Kerry Optima is much better as far as wind efficiency and may just go for one of those. I just figured a low F would easier to blow and also easier to finger.
Thanks,
Frank


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:00 am 
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The V5 from kerrywhistles is pretty air efficient. As is the MK Kelpie that I have. But Phil Hardy has redesigned the Thunderbird low D and made it more air efficient, too.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:20 am 
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Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
Quote:
I just figured a low F would easier to blow and also easier to finger.


My main players are a Chieftain in 'A' & a Kelpie in low 'F', they seem to be reasonably easy players, & not take much wind.

I use finger tips on the 'A', & pipers grip on the low 'F'.

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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:30 am 
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Sedi brings up the pertinent issue of the same player using different "grips" for different sized whistles, and on the continuum of whistle sizes (from High D to Low D, for example) just where do you change.

I have various "grips" (finger postures) and when I pick up a whistle I unconsciously will use whatever grip feels good, but as Sedi says there are in-between sizes where I've gone back and forth.

This video is a good demonstration, because I'm not conscious of what grips I'm using, and I'm going from High Eb down to Bass A. Interesting to see where I switch grips, I use the same High Whistle grip (using the endjoint pads of all fingers) down to the mezzo/alto A, then switch my low hand to the Low Whistle grip (using middle-joint pads for the index and middle fingers) for the mezzo/alto F. My upper hand starts to move over for the mezzo/alto G and below, then when I get to the Low C my upper hand is in the full "pipers grip" position (using the middle-joint pads for the index and middle fingers)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7-fQhvleWq8&t=10s

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 5:58 am 
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scottie wrote:
I figured a low F would easier to blow and also easier to finger.


For sure there's something to that.

Due to the current stay-at-home order here I'm doing more practicing than I've done in many years.

I have my whistle roll beside me, and I switch between various whistles as I practice.

Interesting that I am indeed gravitating towards those middle (mezzo/alto) sizes. I'm doing all my playing on my home-made mezzo A, my Colin Goldie mezzo F, and my Alba Low E.

I love my Colin Goldie F! It's my newest whistle, and just maybe the best whistle in the roll. Its' super easy to finger and incredibly air-efficient. The low notes are strong and the high notes are sweet.

The Alba Low E is what I would call a narrow-bore whistle, it uses the tubing size normally used for mezzo/alto F whistles. (Many makers use their Low D tubing for their Low E.) So it's very comfortable in the hands, has more closely-spaced holes, and takes little air.

After spending an hour playing these, my Low D feels like playing a telephone pole. (My Goldie Low D is a fantastic whistle! But not as comfortable as the sleek higher whistles.)

About transposing, no, I just grab whatever whistle I want and play the same sheet music, fingering every size whistle as if it were a D whistle.

That's how trad whistle players are: regardless of the size of whistle, the notes are reckoned as if a D whistle were being played.

D is probably reckoned as the Concert Pitch whistle because it plays the same notes as an Irish "concert flute" in D and "concert pitch" uilleann pipes in D. So players can switch between whistle, flute, and pipes of any key and call the "three finger note" G (for example).

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


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Thu Apr 30, 2020 12:14 pm 
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I think the actual question asked by the original poster Scottie is essentially, how do you play with others at a session when you are not using a D whistle, high or low. Responses that tell the poster to use another whistle do not try to address his question as to how to use his F whistle. For the poster's F whistle, the notes available without unusual cross fingering are F G A Bb C D E or Eb. The playable scale for a D whistle is D E F# G A B C OR C#. So the F whistle cannot play the following notes within the D scale: F#, C# and B. (Without unusual cross fingering ) To answer the original question, Scottie would have to find tunes that avoid the notes F#, C#, or B, or employ unusual half hole fingering. Not easy. The other approach is to omit or modify the notes that are inconvenient.

Similarly, I have looked at tunes for an A whistle that can be played at a session. This is easier and I found several. Standard fingering notes on an A whistle scale are A B C# D E F# G or G#. So the A whistle does not conveniently allow you to play C natural, or F natural. Consider the common tune Dawning of the Day, which on a D whistle starts

D E F F F E F A A B A F D E D D D You get the same notes on an A whistle by fingering notes that are analogous to these on a D whistle.
G A B B B A B d d e d B G A G G G
Some other tunes that work out this way are, Rattling Bog, Galway Belle Polka.
There is also the issue of the transposed tune falling within the range of the non-D whistle. Corrections welcomed.


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 Post subject: Re: Low F whistle ??
PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 11:55 am 
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i think its one of the better whistles myself

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