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Tuning an Irish whistle

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GUEST,Richard H 06 Mar 04 - 11:42 PM
GUEST,guest 07 Mar 04 - 12:45 AM
Blackcatter 07 Mar 04 - 01:00 AM
GUEST,Guest 07 Mar 04 - 04:42 AM
Leadfingers 07 Mar 04 - 06:03 AM
Jeri 07 Mar 04 - 08:09 AM
GUEST 07 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM
GUEST,Richard H 07 Mar 04 - 10:26 AM
s&r 07 Mar 04 - 04:09 PM
Blackcatter 07 Mar 04 - 05:14 PM
GUEST,Richard H 07 Mar 04 - 11:26 PM
Blackcatter 07 Mar 04 - 11:36 PM
Dave the Gnome 08 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM
GUEST,Guest 08 Mar 04 - 10:15 AM
jimmyt 08 Mar 04 - 01:30 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Mar 04 - 04:39 PM
s&r 08 Mar 04 - 06:36 PM
GUEST,leeneia 08 Mar 04 - 11:35 PM
GUEST,guest 08 Mar 04 - 11:43 PM
Blackcatter 08 Mar 04 - 11:57 PM
GUEST,guest 09 Mar 04 - 01:58 AM
Peter T. 09 Mar 04 - 10:40 AM
GUEST,Wyllow 09 Mar 04 - 01:11 PM
Leadfingers 09 Mar 04 - 01:45 PM
GUEST,Richard H 09 Mar 04 - 01:57 PM
Folkiedave 09 Mar 04 - 02:59 PM
GUEST,Wyllow 09 Mar 04 - 03:31 PM
Blackcatter 09 Mar 04 - 06:24 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 09 Mar 04 - 06:56 PM
GUEST,leeneia 09 Mar 04 - 08:54 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 04 - 12:36 AM
Blackcatter 10 Mar 04 - 12:49 AM
Pied Piper 10 Mar 04 - 05:28 AM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 04 - 07:41 AM
GUEST,leeneia 10 Mar 04 - 09:59 AM
Blackcatter 10 Mar 04 - 11:39 AM
GUEST,Wyllow 10 Mar 04 - 04:07 PM
Bob Bolton 10 Mar 04 - 05:36 PM
GUEST,sorefingers 10 Mar 04 - 05:54 PM
Bob Bolton 11 Mar 04 - 12:01 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 11 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM
Bob Bolton 12 Mar 04 - 12:37 AM
GUEST,sorefingers 12 Mar 04 - 07:24 AM
breezy 12 Mar 04 - 10:34 AM
Blackcatter 12 Mar 04 - 12:01 PM
GUEST,Richard H 12 Mar 04 - 10:22 PM
Blackcatter 13 Mar 04 - 12:13 AM
Blackcatter 13 Mar 04 - 12:17 AM
GUEST,Steve 13 Mar 04 - 08:11 AM
Bob Bolton 13 Mar 04 - 06:03 PM
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Subject: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 06 Mar 04 - 11:42 PM

I was raised on the Clarke tinwhistle and have no experience with plastic mp types. However I've been given two of these (Ds) which I would like to use at a St.Patrick's Day gig.

The Walton's (Soodlum) is sweeter but way sharp on all notes. The Feadog is more in tune but not as clear.

Geraldine Cotter's tutor says of the plastic mp type "the mouthpiece is moveable so you can tune it to other instruments..."

The mouthpieces on the ones I have can't be moved by reasonable force. Should I get unreasonable or does Geraldine's statement apply to better quality instruments?


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 12:45 AM

Put it on a grinder and it will get sharp. Hit it with a hammer and it will go flat.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 01:00 AM

F-off guest.

Richard - you can "tune" some whistles. Go to the following website. They have advice on tuning.

Chiff & Fipple

Some mouthpieces can be loosened with a bit of warm water. Their attached with glue so the water can melt it, but be careful - too hot of water may melt the mouthpiece itself. Most whistles are only marginally tuneable, however.

Oftentimes it's easier for the guitar to tune to the whistle.   Good luck and definately check out the above link - it is the best web source for whistles. I don't buy an whistles without checking there first and I have 30 of them.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 04:42 AM

Blackcatter, You tell me to F-off? You are obviously a humourless idiot. It was a joke, for christsake!
I plays whistles meself so I knows 'ow to tune 'em.
The problem is that most cheap whistles are not in tune with themselves. Like James Galway did with the flute (redesign the hole spacing and diameter), the whistle manufacturers need to recalculate the holes for each key to make each one properly "tempered". If you don't believe me, use a digital tuner to check every note on the whistles you own in all three registers - you'll throw about half of them away!


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Leadfingers
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 06:03 AM

Holding the mouthpiece under a hot tap is usually enough to break the seal of the adhesive.The mouthpice can then be moved out to flatten the pitch. If its a D whistle tune to the centre notes - the G or the A as this will minimise any inbuilt errors in the finger holes.I dont normally respond at all to anonymous posts but our Guest is correct in that there is often an error in tuning on the lower priced whistles, AND sometimes on the pricier ones too.I wont buy a whistle without trying it out for tuning AND the ability to get into the third register.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Jeri
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 08:09 AM

Some whistles aren't tuned to equal temperment. Unfortunately, that's what your electronic thingie reads, so the whistle appears to be out of tune with itself. It means it could be a bit iffy playing with fixed pitch instruments, but most people won't really hear the difference.

It's also possible to change the pitch a bit by blowing harder or softer, so it could be 'operator error'.

Some are just rotten whistles, but Feadog and Walton's are supposed to be good ones.

I've tried the hot water dipping thing, and not melted the mouthpiece on average of 1 time out of 4. It may be a personal problem. Go to the Chiff & Fipple site Blackcatter linked to - it has a ton of information, and it's just plain fun to read.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 09:09 AM

Try the OVERTON WHISTLE site too.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 10:26 AM

Thanks all especially for the link to Chiff and Fipple. The guitarist has decided this year to play his 12-string (need I say more?) which usually goes out of tune after every capoing. With me mainly dabbling in mandolin, guitar and recorder and a bassman thrown in, plus the guitarist's sax friend may drop by to play Danny Boy, tuning to the whistle would be a problem.

So the water's on the fire and it's do or die for the Soodlum.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: s&r
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 04:09 PM

run hot water on the metal part of the whistle - conduction will melt the glue - or, give a sharp tap using a ring spanner around the body of the whistle and sliding it down sharply to hit the mouthpiece

stu


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 05:14 PM

Sorry GUEST, Guest - but it's one thing to joke and add constructive help (like you did in your second post), that to jsut post a negative statement. Richard could have seen your first post and decided that we're not nice and helpful around here and have left. That's not fair for someone (especially someone who has not registered here) to do in my opinion.

Just to show you there's no hard feelings - I'm going to go f*** myself leater on this evening.

Sone if the "cheap" whistles are wonderfully in tune. You need to pick and choose, but some of my Clarkes and Generations are among my favorites.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 11:26 PM

Don't worry, Blackcatter. I was in no way offended. Besides, if this damn mouthpiece doesn't come off tommorow, I may have to resort to Guest's advice and use a hammer to flatten it. So far it's been totally unresponsive to hot water.

But, hell, I've learned a lot today. Like Chiff and Fipple, how much an Overton costs, that a tinwhistle has a third register... I even used the translation facility on this site to check how a pertinent phrase in your last post sounds in French: "Je vais aller *** de f moi-meme plus tard ce soir" is what came out. Sounds good!


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 07 Mar 04 - 11:36 PM

Auf Deutsch: "Ich werde später gehen f *** selbst heute abend."

Glad another whistle player nows about Chiff & Fipple. It's one of my 4 favorite music websites:

The Mudcat
Chiff & Fipple
The Jews Harp Guild
Blackcatter's World of TV Theme Lyrics

Of course, I host the last one . . .


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Dave the Gnome
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 09:43 AM

I thought f off was a key for an out of tune whistle...

:D


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Guest
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 10:15 AM

Blackcatter, have fun, send us the video. All whistle players should have that joke in their collection.
Richard H, I've had whistles that refuse to come apart. Sometimes, as a last resort, you have to revert to brute force and ignorance. I once made a small tool with two pieces of wood with a hole (slightly smaller than the dimeter of the pipe) drilled so that each piece had a semiciscular groove that would clamp the metal part of the whistle in a vise without squashing the pipe. I used a very small pipe wrench on the plastic bit. The secret is not to try to twist it off but to turn the pipe wrench tight till it is almost to the point of turning then give the handle end of the pipe wrench a sharp tap with a hammer to break the seal. This tends to crack the plastic about 50% of the time(I did say it was a last resort), so if you really need to have a tuneable whistle you should buy at least two in the same key in the first place. The method above gets the metal pipe off in one piece, you then have to try to cut, bend, bash and saw the pipe to get the plastic bit off in one piece from the second whistle.
S&R's method with the ring spanner (wrench) will also work using the wooden vise jig to hold the pipe steady.
I really wasn't joking about the grinder, either. The plastic part has a stop inside it, designed to set the whistle at that key. Getting the plastic bit off only allows you to "flatten" the instrument. By grinding a little bit off the end of the metal pipe (the end that goes into the plastic part), you can then push the pipe farther in than it originally went to also "sharpen" the whistle.
Not every unplayable whistle is completely useless. I found an old C whistle was exactly the right diameter to release a "quick-fit" connector on the hose of my car's fuel pump!


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: jimmyt
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 01:30 PM

Let me throw in a question to piggyback on this excellent thread. I have a set of Tony DIxon WHistles recommended by Leadfingers, and by and large I really love them. The last couple times I have played the g whistle though in a session I have noticed the upper register has flaws in it, ie with the same amount of airflow on any other whistle it would easily play well in the upper register, but this G won't hold the register playing quietly. It is not related to technique as it didn't happen a couple weeks ago asn it only happens on this whistle. Could this be related to crud in the fipple or something gross like that? How frequently to you clean your whistles? i am sort of a newcomer to the instrument so be gentle with me!   Thanks jimmyt


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 04:39 PM


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: s&r
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 06:36 PM

A whistle maker whose name escapes me swears that if you fill the small recess inside and just below the mouthpiece with blutack or similar the whistle overblows in key. Something to do with the turbulence

Stu


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 11:35 PM

The original post mentioned a whistle that plays in tune but is not clear. Perhaps it has the problem one of my whistles had - when the maker drilled the holes, the filings (swarf) were left clinging to the edge of the hole inside the whistle. Such craftsmanship!

My sister-in-law took a whistle class from at Milwaukee's Irishfest. She said, "The teacher could play so beautifully. Of course, he had a $150 penny whistle."

I play recorder and flute and have gone to a number of workshops with high-caliber teachers. One thing I've learned is that these instruments respond to your breathing and the shape of your mouth. Today I picked up a whistle and changed the three-finger note by a half step just by moving the tip of my tongue parallel to the roof of my mouth. So it isn't just a question of putting the right number of fingers down and getting the note - ta ta!

In my experience, whistles are so cheaply made and unreliable that it is better to play a recorder when that St. Patrick's Day gig comes around. Unless, perhaps, you have one of those $150 "penny whistles."


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 11:43 PM

Dave The Gnome: good explanation! 'Course, maybe Blackcatter is going to do it with his WHISTLE!
Jimmyt: What did your mother tell you do with ANYTHING before you put it in your mouth?
Stu: The blutack thing's a new one on me and undoubtedly needs to be explained by someone who understands Boyle's Law, Charles' Law, Avagadro's Principle and Bernoulli's Principle. I can't imagine whistle manufacturers going that deeply into the science. I've read these theories then still watch in amazement as Jumbo Jets impossibly take to the sky. And it's always a surprise to me when a gas pump shuts itself off when my tank is full!


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 08 Mar 04 - 11:57 PM

changed the three-finger note by a half step just by moving the tip of my tongue parallel to the roof of my mouth

Leenia - I tried that on several of my whistles and did not notice any difference. And I'm used to doing that since I play nose flute as well.

It's all interesting.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 01:58 AM

I appologise if this is considered "thread slip" but many years ago, my Scots fiddle-player uncle showed us kids how to make a whistle (not a "Penny Whistle") out of a tin can lid. These days I make them from flat bits of aluminum siding.
Now, Honest-to-God! the following is true - it is not even near April 1 yet! but here is how to make one of these whistles.
What I want to know is: There are a lot of experienced whistle players here - has any other player ever seen or played one of these?
The technique is to make a circular piece of thin metal 3" to 4" in diameter (snips work OK) then place some kind of spacer (thin plywood) about 1/8" thich across the diameter of the circle and bend the piece in two. The spacer bit stops the two sides becoming flat against one another at the bend. You now have a semi-circle (top plan) and an elongated "C" (side plan).
insert a thin 1/8" piece of plywood between the two layers (to keep them apart) and (in the center of the straight part of the semi-circle about 1/4" from the bend edge) drill a 1/4" hole through both layers of metal and the plywood. Remove the burr from both layers (you have to open it up a bit to get the inside burr). Drill the hole the bottom (on that layer only) out to 3/16". Take a file and remove all the sharp edges and burrs and then wash the piece (Very Important (Jimmyt - listen to your mother) - you are going to put this in your mouth).
Now you have a semicircle with a hole on top slightly smaller than the one on the bottom. The holes should line up.
Playing this, like Leeniea says, is by varying the size of the chamber in your mouth (similar to playing the Lone Ranger by tapping a pencil on your cheek).      
Holding the ends of the whistle between thumb and middle finger with the edge with the hole closest to you and the smaller hole up, put the whistle in your mouth (clamp down with your lips to make a good seal) and put the tip of your tongue at the edge of the top (small) hole, leaving some room for air to pass through and blow using a kind of "THSSP" shape of your tongue.   
The next bit is problematic, I've had people get a note right away and people who never got a note. The important thing is to persevere until you can get a sustainable note. Move the tip of your tongue forward and back across the top hole. Sometimes adjusting the space between the two plates helps, either opening it up or closing it a bit until you get that first note.
Once you get the first note, you can vary it by pressing the whistle further into your mouth and puffing up your cheeks.
It doesn't have a big range but the sound has a kind of a flutey-sweet-potato pleasing timbre to it.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Peter T.
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 10:40 AM

I have a slightly pricy wood whistle (given to me as a present), which always "splits" the sound when it goes up into the higher register. Is this normal? Someone suggested that I could get it rebored from the manufacturer if I sent it back -- is this feasible?

yours,

Peter T.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Wyllow
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 01:11 PM

I've tuned all my pennywhistles (Generation) in the following manner:
First, heat up some water in a ceramic mug in the microwave, like you were making tea. It should be really hot but NOT boiling.
Then, submerge the entire plastic mouthpiece of the whistle in the mug. Let it
sit for a minute. Then try pulling the mouthpiece off. If it doesn't come off, heat up the water for a few more seconds in the microwave. Just make sure it isn't starting to boil. Soak mouthpiece some more.
When the mouthpiece comes off, wipe off as much of the glue residue as you can. Then coat the metal end with petroleum jelly. This makes the mouthpiece easier to slide around. Put the mouthpiece on and tune it up. The petroleum jelly seals it up pretty well when you've found the optimum spot for the mouthpiece.
As other posters have noted, not all inexpensive whistles are in tune with themselves. Some always have a note or two that are slightly "out".

I've never melted a plastic mouthpiece using this method. Good luck!   

Wyllow :)


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 01:45 PM

Regarding the comment about someone doing a workshop playing a $150 whistle, I have done a few workshops at Festivals in UK, and though I have a set of Chieftens as well as a set of Shaws and a set of Tony Dixons I use a Generation for the workshops. I also carry a few Generation D whistles for sale for any one who turns up either with a Duff whistle or No Whistle at all. I have a mate who runs a mail order
accessory business who lets me have em at cost so I can sell em cheaper than the Music Stalls at the Festival ( I dont see why people who WANT to learn need to be ripped off) Some Generations work well -its just a case of selscting ones that work and rejecting the rest.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 01:57 PM

Jeeneia, I've tried lipping down the Walton without any success. The notes are so sharp that the electronic tuner often can't decide if a note is say, a sharp A or a flat Bb. I suspect a big, burly guy at Walton's got ditched by his girl and came to work peeved next day, rammed on the mouthpiece and soaked it in superglue.

Unfortunately it has a full, rich low D and E to die for.

I have used the recorder before but am not sure it's appropriate in an Irish pub. According to Noirchatticus Grammaticus: "Ye 6-hole whistle imitates fervently the male body - two ear-holes, two nose, one mouth and one other. Ye recorder carries an extra hole in deference to the female of the species."

I don't know. Is a St.Patrick's Day pub any place for a genteel recorder?


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Folkiedave
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 02:59 PM

Can I also recommend Howard Whistles.

Brian Howard is great bloke and makes low whistles, bodhrans and uillean pipes.

His website is at http://www.howardmusic.co.uk/Frameset%20howardmusic.htm

but is not working very well.

Regards,

Dave
www.collectorsfolk.co.uk


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Wyllow
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 03:31 PM

unfortunately, there are no stores in my area that carry the type of pennywhistle I like (Generation in nickel silver with the blue plastic mouthpiece). There is a store that has the brass ones but not the nickel ones. Therefore I have ordered all mine from Elderly Instruments in Michigan, which means that I just have to take a chance that I will get a good one; I can't try them out beforehand. Luckily, most of the ones they've sent me are pretty good; if they sent me a real clinker I would just have to return it and try another one.

Slightly off topic question...

I recently acquired a wooden Hohner recorder on Ebay...the intonation is not good. Do all wooden recorders need to be "blown" in tune, or did I just get a dud? I'm a beginner on recorder.

thanks,
Wyllow :)


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:24 PM

Richard - not to be picky but how in the hell do you pee?


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 06:56 PM

Gee this is a hot topic !


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 09 Mar 04 - 08:54 PM

Wyllow: are you blowing into the Hohner recorder as if it were a pea shooter? That's what you want to do. You want a concentrated jet of air going through.

I have a Hohner that someone picked up at a garage sale. It is husky, but plays in tune. I think of it as my harmonica-recorder.

Has your recorder been oiled? Maybe it needs oil. You can get bore oil and a swab at a music store.

Re: Is a St.Patrick's Day pub any place for a genteel recorder?" I'm sure that recorders were played in Ireland at the same time that they were being played in Europe to the east and America to the west. They are an affordable, accessible instrument.

For three years now I have played soprano recorder at a St Patrick's Day fish fry. It and the bodhran are the only instruments that can be heard over the clatter of trays and loud conversations.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 12:36 AM

G'day Wyllow / leeneia,

Since the affordable ('pennywhistle'/tin whistle) only appeared in 1843 - although all sorts of home-made and traditional whistle lived all over the civilised world - whereas the recorder, after a few centuries dominance was fast disappearing about the same time (OK - it was revived by Dolmetsch in the early 20th century) I would have thought that the recorder would then have been the favoured, 'traditional' instrument - and the newfangled tin whistle would have been about as 'traditional' as an electric guitar in 1950.

It's all a matter of perception ... and prejudice ... and what you can get away with!

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 12:49 AM

Was a recorder a "people's" instrument? Would it be something played around the hearth in the average Irish home?

And of course speaking of "traditional" Irish instruments - what about the guitar? How long has that been part of Irish music - less than 100 years? I first picked up the whistle to play because all the idiots who know only 4 chords on their guitars thought little of me just because "all" I could contribute was being able to sing over 150 songs, play the spoons, bodhran, and jews harp.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Pied Piper
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 05:28 AM

Hi Richard.
Good advice above.
I now make my own Whistle bodies to go with Generation Heads.
I use the Polystyrene tube readily available in UK Model shops.
Evergreen 1/2 inch Tube No 236
This fits a Generation D or Eb top.
I'm the guy that uses bluetac to fill in the space behind the fipple to sharpen the top octave relative to the bottom.
TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 07:41 AM

G'day Blackcatter,

The question is where you split "recorder" and "whistle". Some sort of wood / reed / cane / bone whistle has been made for thousands of years ... the Dolmetsch (1919)-revived recorder represents the most developed (contrived ... ?) form of that. Lots of simpler instruments were played by "ordinary" people ... but note that "recorder" meant (~) teaching / training (aid) ... and refered to the use of recorders to teach tunes to whistling birds! (Maybe not by the Irish hearthside - unless the family made a livong on the side selling whistling birds!)

Pied Piper: The various schemes to fill the undercut of the platic moulded fiples are common ... lots mentioned in Chiff & Fipple site's "Tweaking Whistles" pages.

Regards,

Bob (turned of music for half a decade of early life but school year 5 recorder lessons!)


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 09:59 AM

You're right about the "thousands of years", Bob. I once read a book called "Secrets of the Ice Age" that showed a simple whistle from a Neanderthal occupation layer in a cave.

As for the name recorder meaning an instrument to teach birds, that's misleading. The recorder is called a blockflute in German and a flute a bec in French. It was widely played.

As for Blackcatter's question, "Was a recorder a "people's" instrument? Would it be something played around the hearth in the average Irish home?" The answer is, probably not. But for music history purposes, we should be asking what musicians played, whether professional or amateur.

We should also investigate whether the instruments were made better in the days of yore.

Meanwhile, I have another question - do want to play the gig and bring joy to the listeners or not? And do you want to do it without having to worry that your instrument will let you down? Do you have limited practice time? If so, then you should probably not rely on   the whistle.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 11:39 AM

"And do you want to do it without having to worry that your instrument will let you down? Do you have limited practice time? If so, then you should probably not rely on   the whistle."

I would disagree. The only thing that has let me down with a whistle on stage is my own mistakes. Neither I nor any of the people I play with have ever commented on my whistles being out of tune with the other instruments.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Wyllow
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 04:07 PM

Leeneia,
thanks for the recorder advice. I'm probably blowing the recorder like, well, a pennywhistle! which of course doesn't take much breath at all to overblow into the next octave. I'll try the Hohner with more concentrated breath.

yes, it probably needs oiling as well. couldn't hurt. I live in the desert where the average humidity hovers around 10 percent or so.

it came with care instructions which I will check for more advice.

I'm learning a few medieval tunes on it which are really fun (and appropriate!)

But I still love my pennywhistles! Yea!

Wyllow :)


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 05:36 PM

G'day aagin,

leeneia: I wasn't making any absolute points about any of the forms of whistle - the mention of the background to the English name "recorder" was just an interesting sidelight on the past uses of the instrument. (I was once given a facsimile reproduction of an ancient manual for teaching tunes to songbirds ... by a much keener recorder-player!) One point I wanted to make was that there are endless variations of the whistle in folk history ... whatever the music textbooks say.

Wyllow: I would reckon that any old wooden recorder should be given a good oiling before forming any idea of its performance. Good 'blockflute oil' ... or high quality almond oil ... liberally applies to inner surfaces, allowed to soak in, then mopped fairly dry. Standard care kits should be available at music shops (although a .45" calibre pistol cleaning mop works well!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 10 Mar 04 - 05:54 PM

If you want the tubing in the US then any Hobbylobby would have it, they sell it in short sticks, some variety in diameter, about two foot long.

But I would not bother since I can buy a plastic TW at Dollar General for a buck, very nice and soft sounding as well. Funny thing, the other night I heard a sessioneer here playing a highdollar US made TW which was not as nice.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 12:01 AM

G'day sorefingers,

Obviously you reap the benefit of a larger market pool ... I wandered unattended into a Canberra music store last week ... and came out with 2 tinwhistles and a cheap "Swannee-whistle" ... Aust$36 lighter in the money pocket.

(OK - Half the money went to a fancy hammertone green paint-job "D" Clarke 'Meg' posing as their "Celtic" tin whistle - plus a Generation high "G" before they disappear from the shelves ... and a "Swannee-whistle" that Trophy may be proud of!)

Regard(les)s,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 11 Mar 04 - 08:42 PM

The Gaelic for TW is Feadog. As I recall it was originally just an oat stalk whittled with a sharp knife and played until it broke.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 12:37 AM

G'day again sorefingers,

Strictly, if you want TW that's something like feadog stain (I'm no Irish/Gealic speaker) ...

That "feadog" is cognate with most of the other Europeam words that give us "fife" in English - the "d" in feadog being more of a 'thorn' ... the old Germanic Runic / "th" consonant (mis)represented today by the "Y" in "Ye Olde ..." (Stain" (~ spelling?) is "tin" (cognate with Late Latin stannum). Whistles have been made from oat stalks, reeds, willow bark tubes, hollow bones ... or anything else that could be used as a cylinder that can be modified by a sinple knife blade.

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,sorefingers
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 07:24 AM

The folks that used the word to 'me' wouldn't know one from the next, to them it is 'feadog'. Anyway the concerted effort in the post Cheiftains era to globalise Irish stuff to the extent that there is almost nothing left which the locals could claim without starting university deters most from commenting.

I OTOH could not care less, what I know I say, and to hell with academia!


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: breezy
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 10:34 AM

www. Kerrywhistles.com and ask Phil


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 12:01 PM

Feadog is also a brand of whistles.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 12 Mar 04 - 10:22 PM

This thread continues to be a revelation. My old Rosetti wooden recorder which used to sing in the 60s had gone completely dumb and unplayable. But after an oiling as recommended (used lemon oil which happened to be handy - didn't really expect any change), she's found her voice again and is rivalling the plastic Yamahas and a one-piece German Hohner.

Got a new Clarke C whistle today which should be okay after a little tweaking. Bit disappointed in the workmanship - one side of the wooden block fits flush with the metal while the other projects almost a sixteenth inch.

Trouble is now I can't decide what to play.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 12:13 AM

Put the Clarke in the recorder


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 12:17 AM

OK, here's a question I have a recorder - my mom's from the 50s. I play whistle and while I'm not exactly an expert, I'm never dissapointed with what I can make a whistle do. Why in the hell are their 2 extra holes on a recorder? Does it give you more range, or what?


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Steve
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 08:11 AM

Blackcatter, the two extra holes in the recorder are there to make the instrument more readily fully chromatic rather than half-holeing all the time. I think the span of the recorder is the same as the whistle.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 06:03 PM

G'day again,

RichardH: I'm afraid Clarkes have shown bad fit since the family sold out. Fortunately, being tin-plate much of the fit can be adjusted with little more than sturdy thumb pressure (squeezing sides into better fit). A thin metal 'slip' (or just a thin penknife blade) can act as a former for flattening the excessive 'arch' of the top of the mouthpiece.

A good friend was playing one of the new ones in Sydney ... said she liked it, but it had too much 'wind noise' ("chiff") ... and took so much air she was hyperventilating! I had a close look, applied thumb pressure on both sides and the top ... and she was astonished at the improvement. It's a pity the new makers can't get them right at the factory (although I have tended to 'nudge' a few surfaces to the optimum points for nearly 40 years!).

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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