Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Chaniging Octaves Cleanly


Anyone any whistle tips out there on changing octaves cleanly without any squaking. I know it depends to some degree on the whistle and breath control and precise finger co-ordination. Maybe there’s something else I should be practicing though also.


Posted by .

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Tonguing the notes when jumping octaves usually works well for me! :-)

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Do this exercise:
Then the reverse, and then do it from high to low. Try to do it slowly and smoothly. Then invent similar exercises for your self, such as gBgBgBgB - f#Gf#g,,,, gAgAAgAg and so forth.
The move on to such techincal tunes as The Hawk ( and The Smell Of The Bog, and thew second part of The Saratoga Reel, in Em: bBaB gBfB | gBfB eBgB |fB^df bagf |gagf efga|
bBaB gBfB | gBfB eBgB |fgab c’afa |g2b2 g2g2||

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

The exercise David suggests was given to me as one of the very first by my flute teacher, and for me it worked very well.

Re: Changing Octaves Cleanly

Here’s the full reel (or hornpipe) as I play it, with the Eb… which can be left out
X: 1
T: Saratoga, The
M: 4/4
L: 1/8
R: reel
Bc | ~d3B ~e3B | dBGB ~d3B| cBAc BAGB |Addc d2Bc |
~d3B ~e3B | dBGB defg | efga fgab |g2b2 g2g2|
bBaB gBfB | gBfB efge |fB^df bagf |gafg e3|
bBaB gBfB | gBfB efge |fB^df bagf |gafg e3||

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Don’t use any cuts or other grace-notes when jumping. As you have already realized, the correct pressure applied cleanly and quickly will get you there, and as has been pointed out, a little tongue or glottal stop will help.

Posted by .

Whistle - Flute: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly & without the tongue in the way 8-)

Don’t use the tongue… Learn to make clean breaks with breath alone. If you fall back on tonguing it will become a crutch, as it has with many beginning and beyond beginning players. I can’t quite call someone who has fallen into that trap ‘intermediate’ or ‘advanced’, though I’ve known a few who thought they were ‘expert’, however unsupported by outside opinions.

David’s exercise is an excellent one for warm up, but use the music as much as you can, seek out some tunes you like, not fast to start, that feature an octave jump, or more, in the melody, again backing up the direction given by David. DON’T TONGUE the jumps. Once you’ve mastered the breath and can make smooth transitions that way, which does take time and effort, then you can try seeing what difference the tongue makes and you can use that as an ‘alternative’, a ‘variation’, another bit of interest you can play around with in a melody.

What I’m saying is also along the same lines as gam, just deal with a clean change with just the breath, nothing else, no tonguing, no ornamentation. Once you get that breath control, whistle or flute, then you can start trying other ways, additions. However, remember that bare bones has a value too. You don’t need to constipate a tune, and that can happen with tonguing too, as dear James Galway turns "The Belfast Hornpipe" ("Sweeps") into a Gatlin gun attack… While some are impressed, and I am with some of it, amazed, I think it sucks, personally.

Eventually it will become second nature, natural, with time and a bit of exercise, practice…

P.S. Without tongue or glottal stop… :-P

Chaniging Octaves on the Whistle Cleanly

hughjmasterson ~ I forgot to mention, there are shight whistles too, with imperfections that hinder any progress. However, most will manage, including the less expensive ones. The ones that cause problems tend to have a raspy sound to them in the first place. The usual problem is with flash, where the molding of the head leaves some thin overlap. However, without going into names, there are some whistles in the past that were famous for being difficult to jump octaves with, one particular low D, which had everyone thinking they were the problem when there was a fault in the design of the head, since remedied.

Another little help can be to reduce turbulence in the whistle itself, with a bit of blue/white tack. You’ll find some chat on this subject here in the discussions. It’s a minor adjustment, and really, you should be able to make clean octave jumps without it. However, its just rolling up a pea sized bit of tack and dropping it down into the whistle and then pushing it in to the back of that underside of the fipple and filling in that space at the back to form a flat or slightly inclined surface, below where the wind comes out to break against the knife edge. But ~ mastering octave jumps is still up to you.

You’ll also find more on these subjects at Chiff & Fipple ~

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

For the lower notes, try very slightly uncovering the first
hole - just a tiny bit while you’re increasing the air speed
a little bit. When you get into the higher octave cover that
hole again. This will only work for D, E and maybe F#. If
you were playing recorder, you’d be using the thumb hole.
This is the next best thing.

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Some good advice up there.

A good player should be able to switch between the registers cleanly either with tonguing or without, by choice. In other words the instrument shouldn’t be forcing your choice.

Yes the octave drill, going between octaves without any break in the airstream, is great to get a command of your breath control.

I do

DdD EeE F#f#F# GgG


I also, especially on the flute but also on the Low Whistle, like to do this drill, done slowly

D…E…D (breathe)
D…F#…D (breathe)
D…G….D (breathe)

and on up to high c in the second register, alternating every note with strong Bottom D’s, using no tonguing or break in the airstream whatsoever.

Going cleanly between Bottom D to the highest notes and back with no tongueing can be tricky but it builds control.

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Nice contribution Richard… I’ve taught and recommend the same…

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Lots of good advice and hints here. Find tunes with octave jumps like Pigtown Fling when you get tired of the exercises above. Find one whistle, and stick with it, as playing improves as one gets used to the characteristics of their instrument (I swear, that whistle acquisition syndrome, as they call it on chiffandfipple, does more to hold folks back than helps them move forward). And be patient, it will get better the more you play.

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

Thanks for the help. I’ll try and stick with one whistle. I have a dixon brass high D which is decent and a Jerry Freeman Mellow dog D tweaked which is great but gives me tinnitus if I play the high notes for too long. Need earplugs. Probably a good session whistle.

Posted by .

Re: Chaniging Octaves Cleanly

The Dixons are decent whistles…

Best of luck…