Whistle Vibrato

Whistle Vibrato

I am sure this subject has been discussed before but here goes:-
Many years ago a very well known and great Northumbrian whistle player called Bill Conroy, advised me not to use a trembling finger above a hole to produce vibrato as it would spoil my style of playing. I use my throat breath to do this instead. However, I notice that all the good whistle players I see and hear invariably use the finger technique.
Then I read a criticism of Finbar Furey supposedly using breath vibrato when playing his Lonesone Boatman. Surely it is just a personal choice and if the end result is pleasing……? I fear I might have answered my own question, but it would be interesting to hear what others say.

Re: Whistle Vibrato

Horses for courses. Finger vibrato works well in some situations, whilst throat vibrato is better in others.

Listen to other players and borrow their styling, and like any ornamentation use it judiciously or else it loses its effect.

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Re: Whistle Vibrato

I only use finger vibrato on the whistle, never diaphragmatic vibrato. On flute I use both.

Re: Whistle Vibrato

Just to be clear, I use both sparingly, and primarily for expression in slower tunes and airs, but also for emphasis of key notes here and there for dance tunes. For example, mimicking what one might do for emphasis playing an extended C-natural on the pipes in a tune like "Rakish Paddy" or "The Bank of Ireland".

Re: Whistle Vibrato

Thank you I much appreciate your comments

Re: Whistle Vibrato

On many instruments, especially strings, vibrato is grossly overused. I can’t listen to violins or fiddles any more. Last thing we need is whistlers to start adding in the overuse of vibrato. If using vibrato, use it in a very mild way. And consider replacing vibrato with innovative use of trill techniques in various combinations. It’s an area of composition almost unstarted as an area of technique and creative resources.

Re: Whistle Vibrato

I wonder what was meant by saying that using finger vibrato would ruin your style.

Seems to me that using finger vibrato would only ruin your style if you style was a sort of style that didn’t use finger vibrato.

About the technical aspects of finger vibrato, wiggling a finger that’s hovering over a hole is only one of a number of finger-vibrato techniques.

Likewise vibrato that’s done with the airstream has various approaches. You mention doing it with the throat, but also it can be done with the diaphragm. I often hear throat vibrato done by many folk singers, and also players of the Andean quena. I often hear diaphragm vibrato done by orchestral wind instrument players.

I learned both breath vibratos and various methods of finger vibrato and use whatever one seems right at the moment.

Here’s a video I did. (Note: Somebody must make money off those adverts, but it isn’t me.)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZKLFKZB8qFM&t=4s