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Tuning an Irish whistle

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Richard Bridge 13 Mar 04 - 06:59 PM
Red and White Rabbit 14 Mar 04 - 02:21 AM
Blackcatter 14 Mar 04 - 09:04 AM
GUEST,guest 15 Mar 04 - 02:36 PM
The Fooles Troupe 16 Mar 04 - 08:56 AM
InOBU 16 Mar 04 - 02:03 PM
Blackcatter 16 Mar 04 - 03:30 PM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Mar 04 - 07:31 AM
Vixen 17 Mar 04 - 08:49 AM
Blackcatter 17 Mar 04 - 10:12 AM
Pied Piper 17 Mar 04 - 11:10 AM
The Fooles Troupe 17 Mar 04 - 07:16 PM
Blackcatter 18 Mar 04 - 02:11 AM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Mar 04 - 08:46 AM
GUEST,Richard H 18 Mar 04 - 10:10 AM
Pied Piper 18 Mar 04 - 03:27 PM
The Fooles Troupe 18 Mar 04 - 07:42 PM
Bob Bolton 18 Mar 04 - 11:18 PM
GUEST 09 Jan 05 - 04:46 PM
Leadfingers 09 Jan 05 - 10:29 PM
The Fooles Troupe 09 Jan 05 - 11:53 PM
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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Richard Bridge
Date: 13 Mar 04 - 06:59 PM

Recorder: Jacqui used to use raw, not boiled, linseed oil on her recorders or sometimes neatsfoot oil - rather to the horror of Brian Blood at Dolmetsch, but the slightly heavier oil did seem to give a slightly heavier sound.

Whistle: in theory (I have not tried it) it should be possible to shrink the metal tube out of the plastic block by using plumber's freezing spray on the metal tube. I have a friend who blutacks and he says it improves tone but has not mentioned pitch to me.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Red and White Rabbit
Date: 14 Mar 04 - 02:21 AM

Just to go back a bit Brian Howard ( Howard whistles) also recomends you use blutak to tune your whistle and that you turn the mouthpiece upside down when playing outside and that if you are trying to get the head off insert the body of another whistle up the body of the whistle you want to play and gently push


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 14 Mar 04 - 09:04 AM

The application of Plumber's freezing spray might not work on whistles that have not already been adjusted, since it's a glue that holds the mouthpiece on, not just compression. Once the glue has been removed, adjustments should be easily made. The biggest problem is that the "wiggle-room" is so slight that it may not make any difference.

I simply do not bother. I typically do not notice a problem with my whistles being out of tune with the other instruments. I recently played several tunes with a tuba player and had no problem with being in tune. When it comes to guitars and other string instruments, in Florida the humidity and heat and A/C, etc. are always causing musicians to be rather flexible with their tuning issues. Some times, it's my whistle that someone will tune to, as they know that it never really varies.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,guest
Date: 15 Mar 04 - 02:36 PM

Well, THAT's your most pompous post yet, Blackcatter. "I simply do not bother! ... don't notice ... being out of tune"
You must have been unusually lucky in your whistle acquisition for each and every one to be perfectly in tune or (as I suspect to be the more likely) in common with your whistles you have a tin ear.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 08:56 AM

The point about hot water, cold sprays, etc, is to remember the basic physics. The metal tube will expand and contract more than the plastic mouthpiece, which is OUTSIDE it. So with the hot water, the trick is to get more of it on the plastic - which conducts heat slowly, and if using cold, to get more of it on the metal, which conducts heat rapidly. If you put too much heat on the metal, you may crack the plastic mouthpiece.

If you warm the mouthpiece end up, then rub an ice cube on the metal near the plastic, you get the best of both. The idea is to crack the seal between the glue and the metal - the glue will let go of the metal if enough stress is put on it.

If you look up very old 'recorders' in museums, you find that the older ones look almost identical to 'whistles' - the number of holes is idential - they are both 'flute-a-bec' - as distinct from 'flauto-traverso' which grew into the moderm flute when Mr Boehm had finished with it.

Why do schoolkids playing those cheap plastic recorders always sound shrill? They are overblowing, which raises the pitch.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: InOBU
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 02:03 PM

I will give a demo of tuning a tin whistle at....SORCHA DORCHA will be at the HALF KING restaurant and pub, this Wends. Saint Patrick's Day on 23rd street between 10th and 11th Ave. from 7 pm to 10 ... As expected Lorcan Otway on vocals uilleann pipes flute whistle bodhran and the great Jane Kelton on flute whistle and key board, Seanin An Fear on Mandolin, Joe Charupakorn on guitar... the joint is already rumbling, so stay from Give us a drink of water to An Phis Fluich, all yer ol' favs...
Cheers, Is mise, le meas, Lorcan Otway


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 16 Mar 04 - 03:30 PM

Hey Foolestroupe,

You're basically right, but the process of using hot water is meant to melt the glue - the glue is basically that kind of "hot melt glue" that craftpeople use in the little glue guns. Reheating it melts it and makes it easy to remove.

Usually the potential problem is that the water is too hot and may melt parts of the plastic mouthpiece (such as the thin edge that actually makes the sound). This may ruin the sound of the whistle.


It's also possible to return wistles that are considered out of tune. I have done this with Generations, which have a reputation for being hit or miss in quality. But I play Generations for two reasons - the good ones are wonderful, and they are about the only inexpensive brand to make a whole bunch of different keys. You can get a set of 6 different keys for around $25. I had to return 2, but got back good ones the first time.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 07:31 AM

Blackcatter

you may be right. The few times I have done it, I merely ran some warmish water (not boiling) from the hot water tap thru the mouthpiece fipple hole. Then I took some ice on the barrel, and using a tea towel, twisted. The parts disassociated. I found it useful to wrap a small amount of that white plumbers teflon thread sealing tape around the barrel - it stops things from sliding around too much.

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Vixen
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 08:49 AM

Whoa!

What's that about turning the mouthpiece upside down when playing outdoors???? Please tell me more! It seems like a logical idea, placing the blade and window in a more sheltered location by your chin, but doesn't it change the embouchure, tonguing, and breath flow? And it must "feel" strange...

Reynaud and I play outdoors (weddings, ren fairs, etc.) and I have all but given up on the pw and recorder when it's breezy, because sometimes I get note when I blow, and sometimes it's the the right one (though usually not) but mostly I get sudden silences and odd shrill and swooping notes. (I don't think it's my playing, because I don't have these problems indoors, or when the air is calm!)

I'm at work now, without a whistle to try it out on, and now I can't wait to get home and see if this really works...

V


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 10:12 AM

I've never tried that as well Vixen. Sounds interesting though.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Pied Piper
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 11:10 AM

More completely turn the Fipple away from the wind direction.
TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 17 Mar 04 - 07:16 PM

Actually, I can play a whistle upside down - no - not from the bottom you fools - although THAT's a thought.... no, and not from MY bottom...

You hold the whistle in one hand, then roll it around so that the holes face your chest with your fingers still covering the holes, then apply the other hand so it wraps around to where the fingers go... your wrist have to tuck under... and your elbows stick out in front like a crazy chicken...

I didn't say it was easy..

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Blackcatter
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 02:11 AM

Yea Gods Robin - the reason I play whistle is that it's a simple instrument!

Next you're going to say that you've experimented with drilling a couple extra holes - one on the opposite side, just above the top hole, and one just below the bottom hole and a little to the left (if you're looking at the whistle).


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 08:46 AM

Actually, Blackcatter, I have seen some Brisbane Irish Players drill a hole on the back, between the top two holes, for the thumb to get that flattened 7th... :-)

Btw, I have a Generation (same length as a normal D) Tabor Pipe with the traditional two finger holes in the front and one behind for the thumb, but I find this intensely difficult to play, probably due to my minor MMD - I find that I if I just tape over the top 3 holes of a normal whistle I can easily get a Tabor Pipe that way - it's just overblows! Incidentally, I find that with some whistles, it's just as easy to play the whole second and third octaves "Tabor Pipe" fashion - keep the top 3 fingers in place and just do the overblows.

I also have the Overton "Overtone" which is a Low G length whistle with no fingerholes - played by cupping the palm of one hand around the bottom end and waggling it about - reminds me of a Theremin!!! I think this is harder to play than the "backwards whistle" mentioned above... :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST,Richard H
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 10:10 AM

Just to bring this full circle:
I never got the mpc off the Walton. Someone gave me another Walton which is in good pitch. I now have "whistles coming out the wazoo" according to one daughter.
I played recorder most of the night. The Hohner was in fine fettle.
Made an ass of myself as usual on the hornpipes which always get too fast for my fingers.
Fields of Athenry was the most requested song but the Walton's medley of Galway Piper/Tell me ma/Mairi's wedding received favourable yowling.
It bad enough trying to find time to breathe in a hornpipe; when a young lady is puffing clouds of smoke right next to you, it's murder.
1st and 2nd place in the limerick contest went to Brits. A guy from Ottawa was third with: "There was an old hermit named Dave, who kept a dead whore in his cave. He said,'I admit, I'm a bit of a twit, but think of the money I save.'"


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Pied Piper
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 03:27 PM

Absolutely Foolestroupe; I find 3 holes on the top MUCH easyer to play than the trad arrangement.
TTFN
PP


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 07:42 PM

Pied Piper

so there must be a market for these then? :-)

Robin


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Bob Bolton
Date: 18 Mar 04 - 11:18 PM

G'day Foolesptroupe,

" ... I also have the Overton "Overtone" which is a Low G length whistle with no fingerholes - played by cupping the palm of one hand around the bottom end and waggling it about - reminds me of a Theremin!!! I think this is harder to play than the "backwards whistle" mentioned above... :-) "

Hmmm ... That's something I noticed when I made my first low "G" whistle in 1965. Before I had drilled any finger holes, I was just tuning its length against a Hohner low "G" I had bought in Melbourne (not a good idea, as I later discovered: the Hohners were all tuned about "Old High Pitch" / "Kneller Hall Pitch" ... A = 454 Hz!) and I discovered the whistle would play a full harmonic series ... unfortunately, I never tried modifying the output with my cupped palm! (But I might try it, with masking tape over all the finger holes of one of my low "G"s ... sometime.)

Regards,

Bob Bolton


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Subject: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: GUEST
Date: 09 Jan 05 - 04:46 PM

Is it possible to have a penny whistle in tune with itself? I have several, and there are some nasty wolf tones on them all.


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: Leadfingers
Date: 09 Jan 05 - 10:29 PM

The problem with 'Cheap' whistles (and a few pricey ones) is the cost of decent Quality Control . This results in a lot of totally unplayable whistles on the market !

And IF you have a whisle with a movable mouthpiece and you HAVE to play outdoors in a wind , just move the mouthpiece through 180 degrees to minimise wind effect !


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Subject: RE: Tuning an Irish whistle
From: The Fooles Troupe
Date: 09 Jan 05 - 11:53 PM

... or just turn the whole whistle 180 degrees around and then wrap your hands around it... certainly makes people stop and look! Takes a little practice though... :-)


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