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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 1:22 am 
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I play Northumbrian pipes. I used to play whistle. I would like to modify a tin whistle with a low little finger hole and a left-hand back thumb hole in order to train myself for closed fingering. I was planning to bung up the bottom of the neo-chanter in addition.

Is this even possible? Would it work? Has anyone ever done this? (A practice chanter, if you will)


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 7:38 am 
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There are examples of whistles designed to mimic Loud Highland Pipe chanters (e.g., Carbony). Haven't seen one for NSP, perhaps because that's more of a niche market.

Best wishes and stay safe.

Steve

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 9:17 am 
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Location: Wisconsin
Elf Song whistles make whilstles with GHP fingering and whistles using the Galician fingering system utilizing a left hand thumb hole as well as a 7th hole for the right hand pinky. I have one of the latter if you may be interested.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 10:32 am 
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You can buy or make whistles that work with closed fingering, but I doubt they will work over much more than an octave. You won't be able to modify a stock whistle to be in tune with closed fingering.


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:41 pm 
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You can add holes to a whistle if they are the right position and size. What issues that might arise with ease of dealing with each octave, is a matter for R&D that is beyond my experience. However, some have gone ahead and are selling them:

Bracker Whistles has whistles with 6, 7, 8 and 9-holes, to allow more chromatic or modal playing of the Irish whistle. I have never looked at a chanter, so I don't know if this will help that, but just adding two more holes/notes to a regular 6-hole whistle could be done. I'd highly advise starting with a common inexpensive model to try it on, in case you mess up the first one while deciding on method.

https://music.bracker.uk/Whistles/Nine- ... stles.html


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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 2:50 pm 
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Why bother? Expand yer scope
and learn the whistle as just that.
For an nsp practice chanter, buy
the cheapest hp practice chanter
that you can find, plug the bottom hole
and bingo, nsp practice chanter!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2020 5:42 pm 
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The physics of each sort of instrument work so differently, for example:

1 Bagpipe chanter with narrow cylindrical/straight/parallel bore (NSP, SSP, Highland practice chanter)

2 Bagpipe chanter with conical/tapered bore (Highland pipes, Border pipes)

3 Flute or whistle

Closed fingering works well with #1, because for some reason this sort of instrument isn't much affected by whether fingerholes beneath the one from which the note is emitting are open or closed.

So, you can finger a note

x xoo oooo (open)
x xox xxxx (closed)

or any other variation, and the note will sound pretty much the same.

Number 2 and 3 aren't like that; the note emitting from a hole is affected by the whether lower holes are open or closed.

You can test it with a whistle:

xoo ooo (open, you get the true note)
xox xxx (closed, the note is feeble, and very flat)

Even worse is

ooo ooo (open, the true note)
oxx xxx (closed, the open hole functions as an octave vent, and you don't get the true note at all)

What this means is that to make a closed-fingering whistle means reconfiguring all the holes- as you go up the scale the holes have to get bigger, and be placed further higher than their normal locations, to compensate for the flattening effect of having the other holes closed.

BTW I'm a Highland piper and those "Highland" whistles are worthless IMHO. You can't play Highland ornaments on them because, once again, the physics of whistles and chanters are so different.

Now, Highland fingering is not closed fingering like the Northumbrian pipes. The Highland pipes use partially closed fingering, meaning that most of the notes will work on whistle too. It's why a "Highland" whistle is mostly all right, it's just "E" that has the most-closed fingering

x xxo xxxo

which is why "Highland" whistles have to enormously enlarge that hole.

For what purpose I have no idea. A whistle is never going to be a Highland pipe, and visa versa. Each instrument has its own fingering system, ornament system, style, and repertoire uniquely suited to it.

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
1945 Starck Highland pipes
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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 10:57 am 
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Thanks to all. I realise that it is more complicated than I thought. The hole sizes and spacing is different with NSPs and whistle. Maybe I should practice a bit harder! No shortcuts.


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PostPosted: Tue Apr 28, 2020 3:48 pm 
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Despite the differences in the mechanics and the fact that some things simply don't work on a "whistle chanter" -- this guy sounds pretty cool on the Carbony GHP whistle. (But I heard the Elfsong piper's whistle is also very good):
https://youtu.be/LRBToV9YirM


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