Thumb hole in Burke whistles

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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Mr.Gumby »

cross-fingering (as we know this doesn't work well for F natural and G sharp)
It does depend on the design of the instrument: I have some conical 19th century French whisltes that do the full gamut of cross fingerings rather well.

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and there's ofcourse the ultimate solution:

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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Nanohedron »

RoberTunes wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:14 pm If a whistle has no holes except the window and the end of the freaking pipe, it's still a whistle.
Albeit one of little purpose. Just stating the nakedly obvious ...
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by david_h »

RoberTunes wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:14 pm If a whistle has no holes except the window and the end of the freaking pipe, it's still a whistle.
Only if 'the end of the pipe' is the end you blow into :D

I think to the English speaking 'person on the street' a whistle only has two holes Image

@Mr Gumby - that keyless whistle. Does XXXXOO give F# or is it more like recorder fingering? the 'F hole' looks small.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Mr.Gumby »

david_h wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:57 am

@Mr Gumby - that keyless whistle. Does XXXXOO give F# or is it more like recorder fingering? the 'F hole' looks small.
It's the regular whistle scale. The taper of the body and inserts in the holes that provide a bit of chimney height allow equal spaced and sized holes.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by david_h »

Thanks.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by ecadre »

Tunborough wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 1:23 pm
ecadre wrote: Wed Aug 18, 2021 1:09 pmPoint is, that there is no such thing as a tin whistle with recorder fingerings and no recorder/whistle hybrids. Just fipple flutes that successfully (did that really need to be said?) use a recorder fingering pattern and are called "recorders."
If it doesn't sound like a recorder, then it isn't one. Putting a Porsche steering wheel on a Volkswagen doesn't make it a 911.
Every recorder makes the sound of a recorder, just like all my tin whistles make the sound of a tin whistle. By definition, they can't help it.

The car steering wheel analogy makes no sense ... except that it reminds me that Volkswagon own Porsche, which also means nothing in this context.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by hans »

Narzog wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:55 pm [...] On my Burke A, the cross finger is horribly out of tune, and to me is very obvious. The thumb hole note on the other hand is perfect and sounds like every other note. Michael Burke doesnt try to make a good cross finger on his whistles because they have a thumb hole option, or you can tape the hole (which is what I did on my low F). Many other makers just make a good cross fingering because most of us don't want to use the thumb hole.
[...]
Sorry for jumping in late on this discussion! Does Michael offer thumb holes because the cross-fingered Cnat (using D whistle nomenclature) is not working so well? I do not know. But Burke whistles are tuned in the harsh tuning system of ET, equal temperament. Which means (among other things) that the C# is too sharp for playing sweetly (correct for ET), and a standard cross-fingered Cnat, using OXXOOO, is too sharp. Cnat with OXXXOO fingering works somewhat, but it seriously shades the note. So, yes, a thumb hole for Cnat is a solution on these ET tuned whistles.

But even on more sweetly, not ET, tuned whistles, where a cross-fingered OXXOOO Cnat works, a thumb hole may be of use, especially on low whistles, since it offers a less shaded, more powerful option for playing Cnat. It can also offer an extra option for playing C#: it can raise the C# pitch slightly, which may be otherwise slightly too low, by design, to allow for a good cross-fingered Cnat (a whistle maker needs to make a compromise tuning C# and cross-fingered Cnat, it cannot be avoided).

I agree that Cnat thumb holes have not catched on much in the whistle community, because it requires extra effort to learn, it locks the thumb into a particular position, and it can cause problems with water condensation dripping out while playing, making it uncomfortable. But a strong Cnat (as strong as the other notes) can be really desirable. That note seems to be much more used than the C#, and deserves to be as good as it can get.

For any Burke whistle I would recommend the thumb hole, because of the nature of ET tuning all Burke whistles got, as far as I know.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Narzog »

hans wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 2:04 am Sorry for jumping in late on this discussion! Does Michael offer thumb holes because the cross-fingered Cnat (using D whistle nomenclature) is not working so well? I do not know. But Burke whistles are tuned in the harsh tuning system of ET, equal temperament. Which means (among other things) that the C# is too sharp for playing sweetly (correct for ET), and a standard cross-fingered Cnat, using OXXOOO, is too sharp. Cnat with OXXXOO fingering works somewhat, but it seriously shades the note. So, yes, a thumb hole for Cnat is a solution on these ET tuned whistles.

But even on more sweetly, not ET, tuned whistles, where a cross-fingered OXXOOO Cnat works, a thumb hole may be of use, especially on low whistles, since it offers a less shaded, more powerful option for playing Cnat. It can also offer an extra option for playing C#: it can raise the C# pitch slightly, which may be otherwise slightly too low, by design, to allow for a good cross-fingered Cnat (a whistle maker needs to make a compromise tuning C# and cross-fingered Cnat, it cannot be avoided).

I agree that Cnat thumb holes have not catched on much in the whistle community, because it requires extra effort to learn, it locks the thumb into a particular position, and it can cause problems with water condensation dripping out while playing, making it uncomfortable. But a strong Cnat (as strong as the other notes) can be really desirable. That note seems to be much more used than the C#, and deserves to be as good as it can get.

For any Burke whistle I would recommend the thumb hole, because of the nature of ET tuning all Burke whistles got, as far as I know.
I've done a bit of research on the topic, and I think ET is only part of the problem. Because ET whistles can still oxx ooo. I have a ET reyburn which can (he makes ET and JI ones, this one is a specific ET order). I believe MK whistles are technically ET and can. And my DIY's using your calculator set to ET also can haha. I talked to Ronaldo Reyburn because I expected his ET one to have to oxx xox and was pleased when it could oxx ooo. He said the one I got (alu low g) has a thicker tube than the brass ones which helps get a good oxx ooo. My MK and DIY's all have decently thick, 1.5mm+ walls. Burkes have less than this.

Another thing is how hard you have to push notes to make them play in tune I think. The MK does feel like it takes a little more push to play the ooo ooo in tune than a Burke. Which is virtually tuned flatter than a burke. Its especially noticeable with the high notes second octave, which break a little flatter than a Burke. But I believe the MK is still ET tuned. Its just a different breath curve. This maybe has an effect on the cross fingering ability. This may be what you meant by 'harsh' ET though.

So I think its the combination of ET, how burkes are tuned breath curve wise, and the thin wall, that gives a really bad oxx ooo for burkes. Making the thumb hole super necessary. I just taped the hole on my A to make it oxx ooo well. Its mostly in tune but its a pretty weak quiet note.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by hans »

Narzog wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 9:50 am I've done a bit of research on the topic, and I think ET is only part of the problem. Because ET whistles can still oxx ooo. I have a ET reyburn which can (he makes ET and JI ones, this one is a specific ET order). I believe MK whistles are technically ET and can. And my DIY's using your calculator set to ET also can haha. I talked to Ronaldo Reyburn because I expected his ET one to have to oxx xox and was pleased when it could oxx ooo. He said the one I got (alu low g) has a thicker tube than the brass ones which helps get a good oxx ooo. My MK and DIY's all have decently thick, 1.5mm+ walls. Burkes have less than this.
I stand by my statement, that a whistle designer needs to make a compromise with the tuning of C# and a cross-fingered Cnat. It cannot be avoided. It does not matter if the whistle is generally ET tuned, or more JI. So if you find the whistle delivers a relative good (not too weak) in-tune cross-fingered Cnat, than it follows that the C# is too low in pitch, and needs a bit of extra breath push to get it into tune. I do not know how a thicker tube will help here, I need to investigate that.
Another thing is how hard you have to push notes to make them play in tune I think. The MK does feel like it takes a little more push to play the ooo ooo in tune than a Burke. Which is virtually tuned flatter than a burke. Its especially noticeable with the high notes second octave, which break a little flatter than a Burke. But I believe the MK is still ET tuned. Its just a different breath curve. This maybe has an effect on the cross fingering ability. This may be what you meant by 'harsh' ET though.
[...]
Flatness in the upper region of the second octave is a totally different problem, and it can be addressed with introducing the right amount of bore restriction in the head of an otherwise tubular whistle. See for instance this topic: Fixing octave tuning for a Killarney whistle.
- But if you introduce the concept of "breath curve", you can justify that any whistle is "in tune", even badly tuned ones, because one only needs to adjust breath pressure to play it in-tune. A good player may be able to produce some fantastic playing on an otherwise poorly tuned whistle, but it still remains poorly tuned!

When I spoke of "harsh" ET intonation, I meant it in contrast to "sweet" JI intonation. ET intonation is in my perception harsh. It is normalized nowadays, but that does not make it better. But that is another topic altogether!
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Narzog »

hans wrote: Fri Sep 17, 2021 11:41 am Flatness in the upper region of the second octave is a totally different problem, and it can be addressed with introducing the right amount of bore restriction in the head of an otherwise tubular whistle. See for instance this topic: Fixing octave tuning for a Killarney whistle.
- But if you introduce the concept of "breath curve", you can justify that any whistle is "in tune", even badly tuned ones, because one only needs to adjust breath pressure to play it in-tune. A good player may be able to produce some fantastic playing on an otherwise poorly tuned whistle, but it still remains poorly tuned!

When I spoke of "harsh" ET intonation, I meant it in contrast to "sweet" JI intonation. ET intonation is in my perception harsh. It is normalized nowadays, but that does not make it better. But that is another topic altogether!
Yes you are right about breath curves haha. I always mention to people that it must be a GOOD breath curve, without any weird variations. because weird variations are one pushing a badly tuned instrument into tune haha.

I just checked out that thread. Lots of really interesting stuff. I accidentally partially did this in my last 2 whistles I made without knowing it. They are the MK/Alba/Chieftain style, with a inner tube as the lip. I did some tests and found that having an overly long inner tube ruined my intonation (this was intentionally inserting a several cm tube after the inner tube to see what having a longer length does). and I've been worried that having an inner tube at all is making intonation worse than it would be without one. I didnt realize that the small amount of tube I had inside was actually helping. Because these two whistles I've made haev quite good intonation. Great to know. The thread was mostly talking about having an insert past the lip but it seems like when your lip is a tube insert having a longer tube seems to have a similar effect.

I'm curious now as to how a cylindrical insert past the lip compares to the reyburn / mk style of insert. Which may also be the kind of insert you actually started that thread with. Not 100% sure what you exactly meant. but after reading I checked my MK and Reyburn and they do in fact have interesting inserts on the sides under the window. Now I know why.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by RoberTunes »

Nanohedron wrote: Sat Aug 21, 2021 11:09 am
RoberTunes wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 9:14 pm If a whistle has no holes except the window and the end of the freaking pipe, it's still a whistle.
Albeit one of little purpose. Just stating the nakedly obvious ...
Information from the X-Files:
We could ask street police if they'd like to chase after a bank robber with an ACME or a Feadog,
or ask an NHL or English Premier League referee if they'd prefer an ACME or a Killarney, and we'll see how useful a 2-hole whistle is.
I dare say there are more police officers, referees and high school track coaches than there are Irish
whistle players, but this advanced movement from 2-hole to 3-hole (plus 6 additional tone holes on a longer
pipe) means the "officials" are really missing out on many hours of making great music with large audiences. There aught to be a concerted
effort to move the 9-hole standard whistle into the sports field. Sales rep jobs are posted. :thumbsup:
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by CPA »

Narzog wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 8:55 pm
CPA wrote: Fri Aug 20, 2021 5:47 pm Now we only have to understand whether, for our ear, the thumb hole works, and whether or not it distorts the whistle of its essential or typical characteristics.
The issue with thumb holes isn't if they work or not. Its that we usually don't want to use them. I taped over mine. On my Burke A, the cross finger is horribly out of tune, and to me is very obvious. The thumb hole note on the other hand is perfect and sounds like every other note. Michael Burke doesnt try to make a good cross finger on his whistles because they have a thumb hole option, or you can tape the hole (which is what I did on my low F). Many other makers just make a good cross fingering because most of us don't want to use the thumb hole.

To me a thumb hole doesnt make a whistle any less whistle than an irish flute with keys any less irish flute. Its an option to extend its key range that doesnt change what instrument it is.
Really? I have listened to Pancelticpiper's example and (like him) have not heard any difference!
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by Narzog »

CPA wrote: Mon Sep 27, 2021 1:01 am Really? I have listened to Pancelticpiper's example and (like him) have not heard any difference!
Richards sounded much less bad than my A and F do. They are really noticeably sharp to me. They can be under blown into tune, but if you blow the same/similar pressure that you would to xoo ooo or ooo ooo, it will be sharp. Underblowing works, it just makes it harder to play. Where if the blowing pressure was where it should be you wouldn't have to worry about it (Like on my MK and Reyburn). And in every other way Burkes are incredibly easy to play in tune, so I'd like oxx ooo to be similar. So I tape mine.

https://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewt ... ?p=1212668

Here's the thread where multiple people say they asked Michael Burke and he said his whistle give a sharp oxx ooo.
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Re: Thumb hole in Burke whistles

Post by eskin »

Same here, taped my Burke narrow-bore brass high-D to fix the oxx ooo intonation. It also has the thumb hole which I taped over the day I got the whistle and never looked back.

Interestingly, my Burke narrow-bore composite high-D doesn't have nearly as sharp as oxx ooo as the same whistle in brass. No tape needed on that one.

The composite narrow-bore is from 4/2006, the brass narrow-bore is from 6/2009.

My session bore brass high-D is the same, but I don't play it much, if I did, I'd probably tape it. It's from 12/2002.

For my Zoom events, I mostly play the composite, very consistent wind pressure and stable tuning across a wide range of temperatures. Hardly ever need to tweak the tuning.
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