What Whistle in Your Opininion is Best…
…at playing (softly and sweetly) high D above the staff.
…at playing (softly and sweetly) high D above the staff.
…. it’s a tinwhistle
I don’t know if you’re going to find a sweet and soft D above high B, primarily because you’re blowing rather hard at that point to even get the note.
Michael Burke’s Hands down
No high whistle will give a soft and sweet high D. An Goldie low D will give you a high d that isn’t painful if you play it briefly.
Do you mean high or low whistles? They’re completely different beasts.
With high whistles I’ve played the sweetest high notes in general are certain vintage Generations Feadogs etc, or new Killarneys or Sindts.
With Low Whistles I think oftentimes the High D doesn’t jump out as much from the other high notes as it does on High Whistles, like Bogman is saying about Goldies.
Best of all are flutes, where you can make any note pretty much any volume you want. With a good flute and a good lip you can play a hugh booming Bottom D and a sweet soft High D.
By "D above the staff" - I presume you are referring to D” or D7. Short answer to your question is NONE - "soft and sweet" doesn’t exist up at the top. The airflow required to generate and sustain notes at and above B’ (B6) isn’t particularly tuneful on most whistles.
Unlike the flute, on a whistle you can’t change the embouchure or dynamic of how the sound is generated. The physics of the fipple are set and unchanging from lowest note to highest. The higher notes are created by blowing harder which translates into louder, shriller and more turbulence. It’s nigh on impossible to pull back the volume without the note cracking. For soprano whistles - "soft & sweet" starts to come undone somewhere between G’ and B’.
My current D-whistle collection includes two Generations (vintage ’80s and modern), a Feadóg, two Dixons, Killarney brass, Burke brass session and a Roy McManus wooden one. I’ve also had Chieftain session, Susato Kildare and Oriole and others.
For me - the closest to well behaved for the very high sequences would be the Burke for a full 2-octave reach.
Low whistles (and flutes) hold up better all the way up to D6.
Playing higher notes doesn’t necessarily require blowing harder. The velocity of the airstream can be increased by raising the tongue towards the roof of the mouth while not blowing harder. On my Burke at least, this easily leads to changing the octave(s). It’s like putting your thumb on the end of a hose to get a jet. Doing it this way gives better tuning, and a nicer sound.
Very few whistle friendly tunes that I know go up to high D. One is ‘Planxty Johnson’ (from O’Neills) which is a great tune. The high D can sound awful if not in tune or played with confidence. It can be taken down an octave on that particular phrase but does affect the momentum, in my opinion.
Johnston not Johnson.
The Bluebird by Jerry Freeman is the closest I’ve personally played that could still sound sweet(ish) that high. He discontinued that model, but from what I’ve read his Blackbird model is very similar.
Fizzit said- ‘Very few whistle friendly tunes that I know go up to high D.’
Not sure what you mean, as most tunes I know go further up than a high D, sometimes much further. without any problems.
Killarney is high end but affordable and has a very sweet upper octave. It’s not soft but it’s nice and bright.
The OZ is in my opinion the best but is expensive. I have several others including a Burke which I liked but I waited until the OZ and when I played them both to dogs they ran away until I played the OZ and they just sat there and listened. I could repeat it with the same result. My wife told me to get rid of the Burke as she agreed. It is a good whistle but the OZ was better to my ear too.
I got a chance to try High D on a couple different whistles, a Goldie Low D, and ordinary D’s by Feadog, Generation, and Killarney, and High D doesn’t seem to be much louder than High B on those.
All those ordinary D whistles of mine have sweet 2nd octaves.
BTW I rarely play the note High D.
About nomenclature of D’s on the uilleann chanter the three D’s are called:
On whistle and flute, lacking the D thumb-hole, Middle D serves.
Mack Hoover makes a mighty fine whistle. His specialty is "Pure and Sweet". Also, you can order one of his Whitecaps that can be used to replace the head of one of your existing commercial whistles instead of ordering an entire new whistle. I ordered a Whitecap for a Clare two-piece whistle that I had, and have had very good results.
I can only compare a Feodog and a Killarney whistle because I’ve owned them.
Killarney, is the best whistle in my opinion.
The tone sounds like a songbird
It’s quiet on the upper range.
Doesn’t take much air. I can comfortably play two lines without needing another breath.
This is comparing to the feodog.
You can play outside, and it sounds great on its own. I cook for firefighters, and I was hoping it wouldn’t annoy them but actually, they really like it.
Sometimes, I get a noisy bunch and when I start playing, they get quiet and listen. If the newest crew don’t know it’s being played live, they think it’s a stereo playing irish music somewhere.
Sorry if I said to much, I like talking about whistles and my story 🙂
Michelle Mc said "Not sure what you mean, as most tunes I know go further up than a high D, sometimes much further. without any problems"
I think you misunderstand what I mean by high D. It is two octaves above middle C. A concert flute would go above that with ease but definitely not a whistle.
Those who say "No high whistle will give a soft and sweet high D" have surely never tried playing a Killarney, which is sweet in the second register and plays fine on the high C, C# and D.
Right - that high D is rarely used in normal circumstances.
The Killarney is a good choice for someone looking for a sweet sounding whistle I would say. Personally, I haven’t tried one but wouldn’t describe the top c soft and sweet, (having not heard anyone playing a top d on one) but maybe it’s as sweet as you could hope for. On the other hand I certainly wouldn’t choose my main whistle on the strength of the top c and d as the occur so infrequently, but if you can afford a good second whistle for that purpose all the better.
I think you misunderstand what I mean by high D. It is two octaves above middle C. A concert flute would go above that with ease but definitely not a whistle.’
Gotcha. I knew something was amiss.