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Potts toured all over the world with The Chieftains, and recorded solo as well. Potts also played the bodhran and uilleann pipes, but the tin whistle was his primary and most loved instrument. He plays in shorter phrases, with plainer ornamentation that let the contours of the tune shine through. He also has a fairy tale job as the owner of the supposedly haunted Leap Castle.
If tunes can be called tongue twisters, then Brian Finnegan has written plenty.
Indulge in the Melodies of the Tin whistle- Ireland’s Popular Instrument
Finnegan has introduced some remarkable techniques to the tin whistle, leading to highly complex ornaments and plenty of syncopation in his playing. Some of his original compositions like The Donegal Lass have become popular session tunes. He was born with muscular dystrophy, and had very limited mobility in his short life. Coming from a musical family, he played the tin whistle largely from physical necessity. His fingers were quite deft despite his disease, and his playing is technically proficient without being overstuffed with ornamentation. Carmel Gunning is one of Co.
She has a brilliantly fiery style that owes much to the fiddle and flute traditions of her home area. Gunning has devoted much of her life to teaching, and runs her own summer school which draws musicians from all over the world to Sligo. Slide whistles existed in Africa, Asia and Pacific islands in primitive bamboo and cane versions before factory-produced instruments became commonplace.
This instrument dates back to the s where it was first mass-produced and used in the Distin family concerts in England. The whistle became common by the s in the United States and has been used since that time in a wide variety of musical genres including jazz and pop. The modern slide whistle is commonly used to create sound effects such as a glissando to suggest something rising or falling. However, it is not only used for sound effects on cartoon films.
A stringed instrument is tuned by adjusting the tension of each string to achieve the proper pitch for each note. The same holds true for guitars, pianos, harps and violins. Slide whistles are pre-tuned to an individual key. The slide allows the mouthpiece and the body to be separated for cleaning or ease of carrying.
This slide also sets the distance between the mouthpiece and the holes in the whistle. When this distance has been set, the whistle plays according to the key set the by manufacturer. Unlike stringed instruments, slide whistles cannot be tuned one note at a time.
Moving the slide up or down can completely alter the tuning. Most slide whistles have a mark on the body of the slide to allow you to set the whistle according to the specifications of the manufacturer. In a pinch, the slide whistle could be used as a pitch pipe to tune another instrument. Slide whistles are designed to play an even range between the 16 notes of two octave. Whistles manufactured from hard materials such as polymer, brass, aluminum and silver will not lose their tuning and have an excellent sound.
These whistles also dry out quickly and are ideal for damp locations. You could also consider a slide whistle made from specially treated wood for damp locations. If your whistle ever plays out of tune, it is most likely dirty. It does not take long for an interior coating to develop in the same way plaque builds up on your teeth. To prevent buildup from affecting your playing, follow these simple steps. Clean your whistle frequently between songs. Always swab the instrument out before putting it away for the day. When cleaning the mouthpiece, insert the swab all the way to the mouthpiece plug.
With the hole blocked, blow hard into the whistle at least twice to clean it. The finger holes can be cleaned with a Q-tip. Every once in a while, you will need to clean the swab itself. Rinse it in gentle soap and water and allow it to stand and dry overnight. If you wish, you can spray it with Lysol to disinfect it.
If you play in an area with ceiling fans or air conditioning, you may find it difficult to achieve a good sound.
Fans have a tendency to interrupt echoes and add irritating background noise. Temperature affects how well your whistle plays. If it is too cold, the moisture in the bore of the whistle will increase and inhibit the ability of the whistle to produce low notes on key. Your whistle will play flat until it warms up again. Hot temperatures will cause your whistle to play sharp. Keep your whistle in the shade when playing outdoors during summer months. When playing a slide whistle, it is best if you can play without interruption.
If you play a song or two, put it down and pick it up again 10 minutes later, condensation may form and affect your playing. Keep in mind that the finger holes are important for producing accurate notes. Those who play instruments with finger holes may benefit from the use of hand cream on the fingertips.
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If the skin of your fingertips is kept soft and pliable, you will find it easier to play. Your slide whistle may have a joint to allow you to dismantle it. If so, be sure that it is tight and not leaky. A loose joint will cause to whistle to either play terribly off-key or not at all. Try a little beeswax to seal the joint if needed. If you need to remove the joint for some reason, simply warm it up with a soft cloth dipped in hot water. When replacing a wax seal, do not get the wax into the bore of the whistle.
Buff the bore after performing any maintenance to ensure that it is clean before you start playing again. Whistles in higher pitches can generally be played with only light breathing.
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Begin by taking an initial deep breath with smaller breaths throughout the song. If you play low whistles, however, you will require more air to achieve the proper notes. These whistles must be sharply tongued to fill the larger bore. A deep beginning breath is a must unless you wish to run out of air in the middle of a song. Practice finding strategic spots in a musical piece where you can take a breath without interrupting the song. Places with natural echoes are excellent locations for playing slide whistles.
Natural reverberations and return echoes are qualities lacking in slide whistles and can add an extra dimension to your playing. Hard surfaces amplify sound and give an excellent return echo. Test your location by giving a clear shout. Some cities and towns have bandstands set at strategic locations for musicians to play outdoors. These locations are perfect for an impromptu concert at any time of day. Maine, for example, has bandstands in nearly every town where community members gather to tell stories and to make music.
A round of applause is sure to follow a well-performed piece of music on the slide whistle. Brick buildings and alleyways are excellent backdrops.
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Just be certain that you are playing in areas where there are plenty of other people. Overpasses, flood culverts, your garage, an open porch…the possibilities are nearly endless. Remember to play in an area with a relatively constant temperature of around 70 degrees to achieve the best sound with your whistle. Stay away from fans and other sources of air disturbance to avoid altering the sound.
Acoustic ceiling tile will most assuredly decrease the volume of your whistle by at least 30 percent. For those of you who are totally gung-ho about cartoon sound effects, this whistle is the perfect instrument. The classic slide whistle sound is sure to have everyone around you enchanted and laughing at the same time. The slide action is smooth and easy to operate and is sure to have your audience in tears from merriment.
The type of instrument you choose to purchase will depend on how much you are willing to spend and your skill level. If you are just starting out, please do not go and spend hundreds of dollars on a high-end instrument, especially if you are not certain about whether you will actually enjoy playing it. Start small and work your way up. For years traditional music told stories of joy, happiness, shipwreck…the list is endless. St Kilda had a profound effect.
Tagged with: music , Scottish island , st kilda , whistle. At a festival a few years back several of us were playing late at night; well really early in the morning—about 2 AM. Two of us were on whistles, lo D and either A or hi D, and were improvising harmonies to the slow tunes we were playing. There was a hammered dulcimer a fine professional , a good guitar and perhaps another person or two; at one point a cello.
It had been a damp day and by 2 AM fog had settled in that was thick enough so visibility was cut to just a few feet. In fact, I almost got lost getting to the session site!
Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, a lovely tenor voice rang out singing the song! Eventually he arrived in the circle and we learned that he had heard us from across the area and found us only by following the sound.