What's a fipple?

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What's a fipple?

Post by blueblade »

I'm going to be teaching a small group of children music theory using the tin whistle. I'm following a lesson plan that defines some whistle anatomy. From the lesson plan:

"A sharp edge cut into the mouthpiece is called a fipple."

So, the blade? But...

Another definition found on this forum is that fipple is another name for the block in the mouthpiece.

Searching online, the term is used to describe the entire mouthpiece.

What's the truth? I refuse to lead the children astray!
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Tunborough »

The truth is, we don't really know. From Wikipedia: "There is no general agreement about the structural detail of the sound-producing mechanism that constitutes the fipple itself."
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by fatmac »

I tend to regard the fipple as the blade, aperture, & windway; whilst the windway is contained within the mouthpiece; & the body as that which is tubular with finger holes. :)
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Steve Bliven »

And which end of the whistle has the chiff?

Best wishes.

Steve
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Loren »

By definition (using the more reliable sources) fipple flutes are a class of mouth blown instruments using a constricted airway, as opposed to blowing directly over an edge as with flute, shakuhachi, etc.

The constricted airway portion is, obviously, the whistle mouthpiece. So, essentially, the fipple is the part of the whistle you stick in your mouth. One might, of course, only stick 1/2, 1/4, or some other fractional amount of a fipple in one’s maw, but that’s personal preference and doesn’t change what constitutes the fipple as a whole.

Just point to the beak, or the entire molded mouthpiece, and tell the kiddo’s that’s the fipple, job done.

The chiff comes from the window in the mouthpiece, of course.
Last edited by Loren on Wed Nov 03, 2021 10:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by macuaig »

I think it’d be helpful and entertaining to start with a flute, or even an empty bottle. Blow across it and show how it won’t work if the angle is wrong. Then show this doohickey made with the right angle built in. It’s the difference between a flute and a whistle, a “fipple”.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by ytliek »

blueblade wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 6:25 amSearching online, the term is used to describe the entire mouthpiece.

What's the truth? I refuse to lead the children astray!
Searching images these two diagrams show up:

Image Image
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by RoberTunes »

(just read Loren's answer)
it's basically describing the mechanism that makes the sound; an enclosed windway that you blow air through, that releases air across a blade mechanism. What isn't a fipple, is a flute, where the mouthpiece has an edge, a blade in position, but there is no enclosed mouthpiece windway on the instrument previous to the edge, and the player must figure out how to best direct air across an edge and partly into a tube, according to the note and need for tonal purity, effects or other options.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by ecadre »

Steve Bliven wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:49 am And which end of the whistle has the chiff?

Best wishes.

Steve
Chiff is a transcendental state achieved using the disruptive tones of certain cheap whistles.

Yours helpfully,

Andrew.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Average Whistler »

It's a lot like the starship Enterprise
Image

... except for the warp engines, transporter, phasers, and tribbles. But otherwise very similar.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by rhulsey »

The whole affair being closer to an organ pipe than anything else, although the parts have different names.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Narzog »

I wouldn't focus so much on what a fipple is, and would just focus on how the mouthpiece works, and why covering the holes changes the notes.

But to me a fipple is a mouthpiece that directs air at an edge, removing the need for an embouchure to make a sound.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by RoberTunes »

Average Whistler wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:26 pm It's a lot like the starship Enterprise
... except for the warp engines, transporter, phasers, and tribbles. But otherwise very similar.
The US Enterprise was created in the attempt to giver an ocarina more of a linear whistle/flute-like playing for both hands, holes
being placed along the main engine casings. One engine plays a drone bass note one octave lower, being linked into the ship's main hull space,
while the melody is produced on the other engine, which is more of a pure linear whistle design.
It was invented by a Scotsman who was never satisfied with the design and kept complaining about
being an ocarina player and not a whistle designer. It was a leap forward in musical design and
would have been far more popular in the 1980's if it hadn't been for the sales price and the fact
they only made one and life-size, it's immense and overheats.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by Blower »

Steve Bliven wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:49 am And which end of the whistle has the chiff?

Best wishes.

Steve
The left hand end, presumably.
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Re: What's a fipple?

Post by learn2turn »

RoberTunes wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 9:03 pm
Average Whistler wrote: Wed Nov 03, 2021 3:26 pm It's a lot like the starship Enterprise
... except for the warp engines, transporter, phasers, and tribbles. But otherwise very similar.
The US Enterprise was created in the attempt to giver an ocarina more of a linear whistle/flute-like playing for both hands, holes
being placed along the main engine casings. One engine plays a drone bass note one octave lower, being linked into the ship's main hull space,
while the melody is produced on the other engine, which is more of a pure linear whistle design.
It was invented by a Scotsman who was never satisfied with the design and kept complaining about
being an ocarina player and not a whistle designer. It was a leap forward in musical design and
would have been far more popular in the 1980's if it hadn't been for the sales price and the fact
they only made one and life-size, it's immense and overheats.
Gosh, I thought both engines and the lower hull section were all drones, the lower hull section being an octave down, then the saucer section has holes in it like an ocarina to play the melody. So it's effectively the same tones as a highland bagpipe.
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