Clarke original, out of breath

Clarke original, out of breath

hello,

a few months ago i got a clarke original in c and d, and those were my first whistles ever. i like their sound but i feel all dizzy and out of breath during songs, because i have a hard time controlling my breath.

is it a general fact that clarke original require way more breath than for example, a generation/sweettone, or does every soprano whistle require so much breath?
do you maybe have a tip for a specific whistle in D that requires less breath?

thank you in advance,
sasja

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Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Hello Sasja and welcome here. I know the problem whereof you speak. The last time I bought a Clarke original I found that the arch of the metal above the wooden block made the windway too wide. The remedy for this is to squeeze it gently, pushing down on the metal with your thumb in the middle of the windway to narrow the passage. Be careful not to close it up too much, obviously. At your own risk, although the soft metal should be easy to bend back into shape in the event of excessive zeal. Even with this treatment, the whistle will take more air than a Generation, but it should be much more manageable.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Hiya Sasja -welcome to the session

practice, practice and then more practice…

I suspect that some whistles may require a little more breath. I only have a low d and a keyless flute and remember getting out of breath. With time your breath control will get better, youll work out where you can take breaths on particular tunes and you’ll probably look back and wonder what all the fuss was about

In the short term when you get out of breath -STOP. Have a little break and let your body re-oxygenate itself completely. Youll soon find that you can play for longer as your body adapts and your technique improves

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

I recently purchased D whistle from Chris Wall which takes near no breath. He can be found on Ebay and Google. You might also consider the time you are playing. I find it more difficult to play after a meal than other times. Last, I have heard of, but not tried, putting a piece of tape over part of the airway to make it smaller.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Hi Stiamh,

I’ve found the same with the original, takes a lot of breath in the upper octave and sounds very breathy.
Will narrowing the windway make it less breathy also?
Of all the cheaper whistles I prefer the Sweetone. I like playing it better even than the more expensive ones I’ve acquired.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

A Clarke original always going to sound breathy, Sweeney, that’s the way they are. But narrowing the windway with a little squeeze will turn it into a perfectly serviceable whistle.

While you can no doubt become used to the air requirements of the factory setup, a lot of breath is being wasted, not contributing to the sound at all (except perhaps making it sound excessively breathy). I don’t see the point in getting used to wasting air.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Thanks Stiamh,
I’d prefer to have it less breathy and require less breath. If I get the narrowing right, I might prefer it to the Sweetone. It has a nice full sound on the lower octave.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

thank you all a lot for your replies and also for the tips!
i will probably consider buying a sweetone or maybe a generation in D, since they require less breath.
i also love the sound of susato’s but i read somewhere that those also ask for a lot of breath? not sure if that’s true though.

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Re: Clarke original, out of breath

You will run out of breath no matter the requirements, if the whistle has no back pressure. My Carbony D requires very, very little breath but has no back pressure, so I run out of air quickly. But, it’s a sweet instrument and one of my favorits.

Chris Wall’s D in 432 tuning is my favorite whistle. Easy transition to the upper octave, very little breath requirements and the biggest consideration is it has a bit of backpressure to ensure you don’t run out of breath.
Low volume however. He is having problems with ebay and only posts when he has a new batch to sell. His email is: covenantchris77@gmail.com

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

duffyb,
thank you for your response. i am sorry but i am not totally sure if i understand what ‘back pressure’ exactly is. do you mean the wideness of the windway maybe?

and thank you for the tip for chris wall’s whistle, i will remember!

Posted by .

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Back pressure is how hard you have to push the air to get it to move through the whistle - think narrow straw v. wide straw. What exactly creates it involves physics that few can understand and fewer can explain, but it’s not just about how wide the bit you blow into is.

All that said, the problem is likely that you are playing for too long on a single breath. try looking for a breathing space in every bar or two that you play - you might have to drop notes or shorten them to do so, but that’s fine as long as you don’t interrupt the tune. Watch some good videos of whistle and flute players (flute players are interesting as they need to take more breaths than whistle players do).

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Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Don’t give up on your Clarke just yet, it was my first D whistle and it is naturally breathy. I find it actually easier to blow into than other whistles due to the narrowing at the end. It’s just a matter of regular breathing, such as every 10 notes or so, depending on the tune and the speed of course and where to fit the breath in.

Re: Clarke original, out of breath

Characterful whistles though they are, the other thing about a Clarke original when the windway is too wide is that in the winter your fingers get very cold from the draught!