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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 7:56 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
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switching back and forth between B and D (is) remarkably easier with the xxx xxx fingering...


This is really in the eye of the beholder. I have always vented my second d' in most circumstances (though not all) and testing out what you just said, alternating d' unvented and B, I have to make a concerted effort and I must say it's not at all easier to do.

Whatever your not used doing, will be harder.


Very similar to the comment I was about to make. Playing that switch whilst venting the top hole for the second d makes literally no difference in speed to not venting. Venting that top hole is something normal (from decades of playing) and not venting feels rather odd and likely to be tripped up on in an actual tune. It's all a matter of practise.

I had a think about Peter Duggan's comment and realised that for a tiny moment this can happen for me in some tunes, or at least in "Gander in the pratie hole", and this is because of the ornamentation.

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 8:31 am 
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I had a think about Peter Duggan's comment and realised that for a tiny moment this can happen for me in some tunes, or at least in "Gander in the pratie hole", and this is because of the ornamentation.


But then again, thinking about the same comment, if ever I use ornamentation on the second d, I'd always vent, less chance of the note breaking or squawking and a clearer sound as far as I am concerned. It really is what you're used to

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:35 am 
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This discussion has been a real eye-opener. It has given me an inkling of how little I know about whistle, and how much there is to learn. It's like tumbling down a rabbit hole — totally fascinating.

I've been playing whistle for two weeks, so I don't have the decades of practice that make the fingering ingrained. For now, I've decided to use the standard fingerings most of the time. I'm going to treat the fingerings that Richard explained as one would use trill fingerings on recorder. For whistle, those patterns will make some fast passages easier to play, and I'll learn them for those specific instances.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 11:46 am 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
But then again, thinking about the same comment, if ever I use ornamentation on the second d, I'd always vent, less chance of the note breaking or squawking and a clearer sound as far as I am concerned.

While acknowledging that stability and clarity may be whistle-dependent, it's two different sounds (gracing above or below the note). Not something I do often unvented, but something I like to have in my palette for some tunes.

Maddie wrote:
I'm going to treat the fingerings that Richard explained as one would use trill fingerings on recorder.

Now that's a whole new can of worms! Like, for instance, Baroque players didn't use the trill fingerings beloved of modern players and advised by Rowland-Jones ('Recorder Technique') etc. But nothing wrong with having that palette available if used appropriately!

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 5:55 pm 
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Mr.Gumby wrote:
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I had a think about Peter Duggan's comment and realised that for a tiny moment this can happen for me in some tunes, or at least in "Gander in the pratie hole", and this is because of the ornamentation.


But then again, thinking about the same comment, if ever I use ornamentation on the second d, I'd always vent, less chance of the note breaking or squawking and a clearer sound as far as I am concerned. It really is what you're used to


Actually, I've just gone through the tune slowly, and I do in fact vent the d, so there you go :party:

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PostPosted: Tue Jan 21, 2020 6:08 pm 
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ecadre wrote:
Mr.Gumby wrote:
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I had a think about Peter Duggan's comment and realised that for a tiny moment this can happen for me in some tunes, or at least in "Gander in the pratie hole", and this is because of the ornamentation.


But then again, thinking about the same comment, if ever I use ornamentation on the second d, I'd always vent, less chance of the note breaking or squawking and a clearer sound as far as I am concerned. It really is what you're used to


Actually, I've just gone through the tune slowly, and I do in fact vent the d, so there you go :party:


Edited to add: I think it was because it's a quick note and the top finger doesn't move very far.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 2:53 pm 
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Next topic: I'm playing tunes from the Ochs book that go up to the second octave B, and that note is *piercing* on the high D whistle. I haven't learned to play the higher notes with a sweet sound yet. It's far from angelic. Maybe an A or G whistle would sound better during the learning process, and they aren't that expensive. Or, am I just blaming the whistle's high D key instead of the real culprit, which is my lack of experience playing the higher notes?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:52 pm 
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Maddie wrote:
Next topic: I'm playing tunes from the Ochs book that go up to the second octave B, and that note is *piercing* on the high D whistle. I haven't learned to play the higher notes with a sweet sound yet. It's far from angelic. Maybe an A or G whistle would sound better during the learning process, and they aren't that expensive. Or, am I just blaming the whistle's high D key instead of the real culprit, which is my lack of experience playing the higher notes?


You just have to overcome your trepidation when it comes to the piercing quality of the high B (and high A). There is a noticeable jump in breath pressure needed above the high G. Go for it, give them all the push they want.

In the days when I taught I would get beginners to play a slow air with lots of long high Bs in it for this reason. Desensitization, you could call it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 3:58 pm 
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A piercing high a and b requiring extra push is something I definitely don’t look for in a whistle.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:02 pm 
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StevieJ wrote:
You just have to overcome your trepidation when it comes to the piercing quality of the high B (and high A). There is a noticeable jump in breath pressure needed above the high G. Go for it, give them all the push they want.

In the days when I taught I would get beginners to play a slow air with lots of long high Bs in it for this reason. Desensitization, you could call it.


That desensitization also needs to happen for two dogs and a very tolerant husband ;-) . This is why I wondered whether a lower A or G whistle would be easier during the learning phase.

Since I posted earlier, I've measured the decibels of these high notes with a phone app (uncalibrated). It shows only 2 decibels difference between high G, A, B, and C, and I can affect that by how I blow. I'm surprised they are that close, since G and A don't bother me. As you say, Steve, I just need to overcome my apprehension of that high B.

Squeeky Elf wrote:
A piercing high a and b requiring extra push is something I definitely don’t look for in a whistle.


Agreed, but I'm not ready to blame the whistle yet. At this point, it's more likely the player.

Thanks for the replies.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 6:53 pm 
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Decibels are logarhithmic. That's why differences seem to be small, when they are really not. A lot also depends on the specific "mix" of overtones of a whistle to determine how piercing it is. A lot of chiff makes a whistle sound more mellow while it might still have the same dB as one that appears to be more piercing.
A lower whistle might be better for practice but there are also rather quiet high Ds. Like a Carbony "quiet" model or a Killarney. One of the most "mellow" whistles I have is a Tony Dixon "low" or "alto" G with a brass body. Takes very little air too. But I think they are no longer made. But a simple and cheap Generation Bb will do the trick as well.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 7:39 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
Decibels are logarhithmic. That's why differences seem to be small, when they are really not.


Ah. That explains it.

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... But a simple and cheap Generation Bb will do the trick as well.


That's a good suggestion. Ordered it.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 23, 2020 11:01 pm 
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I was going to suggest Generation Bb as well. It sits in a pleasant tonal range for the ears. Not that you get to play it in session that much, but it is easier on the dogs, wives and husbands.

The high D whistle is not really that loud. You want loud? Compare it to Highland Pipes(!) or even Uillean pipes. Its voice is meant to exist in the mix an octave above the flutes and fiddles, which might seem piercing in the kitchen, but not in public. In a loud session, you will probably find that the Generation or Killarney D whistle is not very loud, and you will be reaching for a Burke session bore.

As Stiamh says, you just need to blast away in the second register, because otherwise you don't get anything. Once you accept that, the Killarney plays sweetly up to C and D in the third register.

One other idea. If you think of the whistle as a rhythmic instrument, it isn't so piercing. Those high notes are just momentary "blips" in the fast flow of notes.


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 24, 2020 10:40 am 
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tstermitz wrote:
... One other idea. If you think of the whistle as a rhythmic instrument, it isn't so piercing. Those high notes are just momentary "blips" in the fast flow of notes.


Great point — and one I hadn't considered until you mentioned it. I'm playing these new pieces slowly, until they are solid, before increasing the speed. The high notes don't bother me when they are just momentary blips. Right now, I can only manage short sections of the new pieces at tempo, but that's still encouraging.


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PostPosted: Sun Jan 26, 2020 5:07 pm 
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I'm reporting back. What a difference a few days make. The Generation Bb has arrived, and that's the best $13 I've spent in a long while. Its high notes don't bother me at all. But even on the high D whistle, the high notes have improved. I've been following StevieJ's advice to use plenty of air. Also, one of my searches pulled up an old thread talking about playing those high notes staccato to make them less piercing. They then become momentary blips, as tstermitz explained, even in tunes that aren't up to tempo yet. All things combined, it's going much better.

I've also revisited the lazy fingers page at https://www.rogermillington.com/siamsa/brosteve/notlifting.html , and it's beginning to make a lot more sense. I'm going to incorporate some of those fingerings in the Ochs book's tunes.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I'm sure this learning curve has been smoother with your help.


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