What the buzz?

What the buzz?

In this video of Brian Finnegan playing with Joseph Carmichael in the US last year, you can hear a sort of buzz sound from Brian’s playing. It’s like he’s humming as he’s breathing. It happens a few times and it’s really clear around 45 secs and 1 min 46 secs. Is this some sort of super-controlled way of breathing to keep a hard blowing whistle under control? Anyone know what he’s doing? Great playing from both of them anyhow!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i1UUt1YSk08&start_radio=1&list=RDi1UUt1YSk08

Re: What the buzz?

Have to admit I’m struggling to hear it; but humming/singing into a whistle is possible and good exercise for vocalists who want to control their air!

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Re: What the buzz?

Headphones definitely required! I’m sure I’ve read somewhere that breathing like you’re humming is a good breathing technique for a whistle, but I’ve never heard someone actually humming before.

Re: What the buzz?

I’ve smelled a few whistlers "humming" in my time though.
😉

Re: What the buzz?

I didn’t hear humming. I heard a split second vocalization at about 1:46. I’ve heard mouth organ players making that sound too.

Re: What the buzz?

I can here a buzz in various parts of that video but I’d say it was down to the recording, it doesn’t sound like anything he’d do.
I use humming while playing a scale on the flute as a warm up exercise, it opens the throat up allowing more air to reach the flute - I wouldn’t use it while playing a tune.

Re: What the buzz?

@Johnny Jay Ha ha!

@Mad Sweeney it’s more of a buzz than a hum. Could be a way of leaking excess air without blowing on the mic and causing wind noise perhaps? I’ve had that issue when playing a whistle mic-ed up.

Re: What the buzz?

Could be Gromit, but if you listen at half speed it does seem to be a noise that Brian himself is making.

Re: What the buzz?

I hear him taking a breath now and then, which I would think is to be expected … ?

Re: What the buzz?

I sometimes get a buzz when I play in Bee……………

Re: What the buzz?

And a wee ffffffrisson while playing in F……………….

Re: What the buzz?

It’s a standard sax technique, turning on your vocal chords while blowing the instrument. You could call it "humming" or "singing" or whatever.

Roland Kirk is credited with pioneering that technique on flute. Brass players do it too, you can do it on any wind instrument that (unlike bagpipes or accordions) is directly blown by the mouth.

The trick is getting the hummed/sung note exactly in tune with the note the instrument is producing. This creates an energised dirty tone.

Or you can sing notes that harmonise with the notes the instrument is producing. You could sing a fixed drone and play over it.

There was a pianist, his name escapes me now, who would hum randomly while playing. You can hear it on his recordings. It seems to have nothing to do with what he’s playing.

Re: What the buzz?

You get with harmonica (moothie) players where the instrument almost talks to you.

Re: What the buzz?

He’s breathing thats all

Re: What the buzz?

fascinating song - i think yer man is playing a kaval, a shepherds pipe used in Bulgarian and various other Balkan music traditions

Re: What the buzz?

Excellent couple of videos, thanks Richard. Trying to imagine being so caught up in the flow of the music you could hum something random while playing!