High D on a D whistle

High D on a D whistle

Ok so normally I play the octave by lifting the top finger. But I can also get the same note by overblowing gently with all holes covered, and it doesn’t squeal on my Feadóg. So what is the correct way? Is there a correct way or is it just convention?

Re: High D on a D whistle

All the notes in the lower octave can be overblown to get to the upper octave. Depending on your make of whistle, the bell (D) note may or may not be in tune when overblown, so lifting the top index finger is the accepted method of playing an ‘in tune’ octave D. Because whistles are cylindrical, they do not produce a perfect scale, so one needs to learn the fingering ‘cheats’ and breath control for each whistle. Just my take on it anyway.

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Re: High D on a D whistle

The note would typically be called "second octave d", and the technique of lifting your top finger for this note is called ‘venting.’ There are benefits to both ways. I have had two local teachers insist that I play mine unvented. I don’t think it really matters if you have fast fingers, but if you are just Joe Sixpack, keeping all your fingers down for that d will generally help you during some more difficult passages.

And then there are other concerns, like how this transitions into the half-holed c nat or the pipers c nat oxxxox rather than the typical oxxooo.

IMO, learn to use both fluidly and play it whichever way makes sense to you.

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Re: High D on a D whistle

I leave all holes covered when playing high D. I play the Clarke Original, which has a conical shape. Either way works, but my personal preference is to keep all fingers down.

Re: High D on a D whistle

There is a common hiss that accompanies a ‘High D’ when all fingers are covered.

Taking the top finger off sorts this if it is the case.

Re: High D on a D whistle

The main issue is not the note itself but what you do with it. A cut or cran on a high D will always be crisp and clean on a vented D but with the finger down the note can easily flip into a harmonic, which is interesting in itself but always sounds like a harsh squawk in a tune. A long squawk because the note stays a harmonic until you move on the next note. You can do the ornaments on a finger down D but the pressure has to kept low, lower than than what is generally normal playing.

Jim

Re: High D on a D whistle

Thanks for all your commenets, very interesting!

Re: High D on a D whistle

I might do a comparison video

Re: High D on a D whistle

@Skerries Ah I’m not up to cuts, crans and rolls yet

Re: High D on a D whistle

Perhaps it depends on the type of whistle and what metal it’s made from? I don’t play any of the cylindrical whistles with the plastic mouthpieces. Mine has a wooden block in the mouthpiece. I can only share my own experience with covering all holes, and I have had no problems with that method. However, I would be interested in watching a comparison video, just out of curiosity. I have only been playing for about a year, and I find this site to be a wealth of information. Many thanks to all of you experienced whistlers for sharing your knowledge.

Re: High D on a D whistle

On my old style Clarke, the D with the top hole open sounds a bit clearer, so I tend to do that whenever holding the note for any amount of time. But keeping all closed is sometimes easier, especially on a passage that otherwise stays in the upper octave, and there is no reason why you can’t do it.
Another hint. On notes where the whistle is mostly open, you can often leave extra fingers on the whistle on the lower holes without the note going off. I often keep the bottom hole covered just so I can keep control of the whistle. Or the second hole, if that makes fingerings easier for the passage I am playing. Or you can leave both bottom two closed. Sometimes you can even get away with leaving the bottom three closed on a note that usually calls for them to be open, but I wouldn’t do that for a note that is held for any length of time.
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