C Whistle - Transpose or Not

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NicoMoreno
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

stringbed wrote: Thu Aug 18, 2022 11:51 am I guess I’m the oddball who does care about such distinctions
If so, then you should be agreeing with me :)

From wikipedia:
"A transposing instrument is a musical instrument for which music notation is not written at concert pitch (concert pitch is the pitch on a non-transposing instrument such as the piano). For example, playing a written middle C on a transposing instrument produces a pitch other than middle C"
and, under Transposition at the octave:
"Most authorities include this type of notation in the definition of "transposing instruments",[3] although it is a special case in the sense that these instruments remain in the same key as non-transposing instruments."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transposing_instrument

If you don't like wikipedia (despite the excellent sourcing), then how about:
https://www.vsl.info/en/academy/woodwinds/piccolo

You are correct that most people don't really think about octave transposition as the same as "regular" transposition, which is why I took pains to say that it's "technically" transposing.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by pancelticpiper »

Of course what makes an instrument a "transposing" instrument is merely the way people choose to write sheet music for it.

If tomorrow everybody started writing all the sheet music for Bb clarinets using the sounding pitches of the Bb clarinet, all Bb clarinets would instrantly become "C" instruments.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

pancelticpiper wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 6:25 am Of course what makes an instrument a "transposing" instrument is merely the way people choose to write sheet music for it.
Not exactly - it actually starts with how people want to *talk* about the instrument, as mentioned previously (all whistles, flutes, pipes are treated as if they are concert pitch so that the bottom / 6 fingered note is always called D, etc). How the sheet music is written follows from that. They are related of course, and octave transposition really is primarily sheet music based, since most people don't bother to say "middle C" or things like that...
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Mr.Gumby »

They are related of course
They are, but it seems to me you are close to straying into chicken or egg territory there.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

Mr.Gumby wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 9:15 am
They are related of course
They are, but it seems to me you are close to straying into chicken or egg territory there.
I was actually going to say that! But we do know that the history of written music is far younger than the history of making music, so... I think it's pretty clear that playing an instrument came first, and I would guess that talking about what you're playing also came before writing about it.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Nanohedron »

Since we're straying afield, here's a question nagging at me: How can the D whistle be called a "C instrument" when Cnat is not even to be had on its basic tonehole array, except by the circuitous trick of crossfingering? Serious question, y'all; the phrase "in one's right mind" arises. Maybe I'm just thick.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

Recall my first post on this thread:
There are two naming conventions happening at once:
1. Traditional naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a D fingering
2. Classical naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a C fingering
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Nanohedron »

NicoMoreno wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:56 am Recall my first post on this thread:
There are two naming conventions happening at once:
1. Traditional naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a D fingering
2. Classical naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a C fingering
Yes, I recall that - but coming solely from the traditional perspective as I do, point 2 clarifies nothing for me; honestly, it just comes off as noise, even though I understand that there's logic and reason of its own kind in the classical convention, otherwise it wouldn't be in such widespread use. It would seem that I need to have my hand held in understanding classical naming convention. Examples - possibly numerous ones - might help.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

Yeah, sorry, I don't understand why you don't understand. At the risk of being condescending (sorry in advance, really) maybe it would help to point out that I'm talking about a naming convention. From wiki: A naming convention is a convention (generally agreed scheme) for naming things. In the traditional world, we use one convention... but in the classical world, they use another. It's really just that simple.

Like, why did "we" pick D? Why not G? (Note, this would essentially follow bansuri naming convention) Most musicians tune to A (both in orchestras and traditional session), so why didn't we pick A (in both communities)? In my high school band days, the brass and reed band (actually there were no strings at my high school, so just "the band") tuned to Bb, so why not Bb?

I have theories, but I don't really know "why" C was picked. It certainly wasn't always the norm, it was definitely something that developed over time, but in the end, why doesn't actually matter. I'm discussing what is, not why it is :)

As an aside, there's another aspect to this, which is that A meaning 440Hz is *also* a convention, and somewhat arbitrary as well.
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Nanohedron »

I appreciate your wish not to sound condescending, but no worries. I am genuinely adrift, here, and am seeking guidance. I usually know condescension when I encounter it. :)
NicoMoreno wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 11:54 am Yeah, sorry, I don't understand why you don't understand. At the risk of being condescending (sorry in advance, really) maybe it would help to point out that I'm talking about a naming convention. From wiki: A naming convention is a convention (generally agreed scheme) for naming things. In the traditional world, we use one convention... but in the classical world, they use another. It's really just that simple.
That I understand.
NicoMoreno wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 10:56 am 2. Classical naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a C fingering
This I do not. What is "C fingering"? Isn't it going to be different on every pitch of whistle? The C scale on C and D whistles is going to be fingered very differently. Or does the phrase "C fingering" have nothing to do with the C scale per se, but is just a way of denoting fingering based on the bell note as the tonic?
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

The fingering for the note C.

Editing to add, I have in the past said this, which always leads to confusion about what is meant by "C note" or "D note":
There are two naming conventions happening at once:
1. Traditional naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a D note
2. Classical naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a C note

So henceforth I shall try to remember to say it both ways:
There are two naming conventions happening at once:
1. Traditional naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a D (ie the fingering on that instrument for the note D)
2. Classical naming convention, where the instrument's pitch is whatever actually sounds when you play a C (ie the fingering on that instrument for the note C)

The more one writes about transposition, the more confusing it gets, so I always aim for as succinct an explanation as possible, but in this case, I guess the extra note is necessary :D
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

You know what, I'll write more and be more confusing, and give an example:
--In the traditional world, a whistler will say "I'm playing the fingering XXX XXX, ie 6 fingers down, and I call that a D, and it's sounding as a D, so I'm calling this a concert pitch instrument, aka a D instrument"
-- In the classical world, a whistler will say "I'm playing the fingering OXX OOO, ie the 2nd and 3rd fingers down only, and I call that a C, and it's sounding as a C, so I'm calling this a concert pitch instrument, aka a C instrument"
Both of these whistlers mean exactly the same thing, they're just using different naming conventions and different reference points.

Fun counter example, and going back the OP, I've just learned that unlike most instrument families (whistles, flutes, pipes, clarinets, saxophones), recorders don't do this - so a Soprano recorder player will play X XXX OOO O and call it a G (full disclosure, I don't know recording fingering schemes, so this is a guess and probably wrong), but an Alto recorder played will play the same fingering and call it something else! So the OP could do that with a C whistle (traditional naming convention here) and decide to learn XXX XXX means C, if they want. That way seems more confusing to me, but you can certainly do whatever you want...
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Nanohedron »

Oh, dear. :boggle:
NicoMoreno wrote:So the OP could do that with a C whistle (traditional naming convention here) and decide to learn XXX XXX means C, if they want. That way seems more confusing to me ...
TBH, to me it's a wonder that the classical music world gets anything done!
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by NicoMoreno »

Nanohedron wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 12:55 pm Oh, dear. :boggle:
:lol:

Indeed! But I hope you saw the short answer to your question:
C fingering means the fingering for the note C.

In other words, if you play a C, does a C sound, or something else?
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Re: C Whistle - Transpose or Not

Post by Nanohedron »

NicoMoreno wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 1:03 pm
Nanohedron wrote: Fri Aug 19, 2022 12:55 pm Oh, dear. :boggle:
:lol:

Indeed! But I hope you saw the short answer to your question:
C fingering means the fingering for the note C.

In other words, if you play a C, does a C sound, or something else?
It answers itself. But then am I to understand that every whistle, whatever its pitch, is classically considered a C instrument?
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