Whistle while you work

Discussion in 'Trumpet Discussion' started by S-Money, Mar 23, 2007.

  1. S-Money

    S-Money Pianissimo User

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    So, i was sitting here, reading the TM forums, just whistling to myself, as i do every other minute (which makes people want to kill me)... anywho...

    I was whistling, and I realized that around the middle of my range, my oral cavity, or my tongue does something to facilitate going higher. Try it... start low, and go up slowly, and you'll probably hit a note that doesn't speak, or you'll feel it happen if you pay close attention.

    And that got me thinking about that question again... can whistling somehow relate to trumpet playing in any way, shape, or form?

    [And the mandatory--->[​IMG]]
     
  2. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    I whistle constantly. I have actually been told that I could easily be a professional whistler by someone who used to whistle in commercials.
    Range changes in whistling is directly related to tongue level. If I drop my tongue to the bottom of my mouth I can whistle my lowest range. The lowest I can whistle is the A two lines below the treble clef. Two octaves above that is where my next register starts. I call it the second position because it requires a different tongue position. The back of my tongue arches and I use the rest of my tongue to change pitch. The second position can be used as low as the A in the treble clef, and as high (for me) as the second A above the treble clef (5 spaces above).
    The top of my range is the third tongue position. Most of my tongue is high in my mouth and just the tip is used to change pitches. It is hard to change pitches really quickly in this register and I usually only use it when I am whistling along to lead trumpet lines because it isn't the most pleasant sounding sound. The highest note I can whistle with just my lips is the F 7 ledger lines above the treble clef.

    For some fantastic whistling listen to Ron McCroby
    Streaming version of one of his albums


    or the late Joel Brandon, who only whistles by inhaling but has the most incredible tone you will ever hear.
     
  3. S-Money

    S-Money Pianissimo User

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    Dec 8, 2006
    Mechanicsburg, PA
    thats funny, thats about the extent of my range... i can inhale sometimes and get notes consistently out above that F or G (where my range ends)... though i can only usually get to the b or bb at the low end
     
  4. John P

    John P Piano User

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    Jun 16, 2006
    Camp Hill, PA
    I just learned to whistle (after years of frustration) and can't go above a concert Bb above the staff. For me, it doesn't have much connection to trumpet playing, since my useable range is a perfect fifth above that. That and the articulation is totally different.
     
  5. adonis74

    adonis74 Pianissimo User

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    Feb 11, 2007
    Palm Springs, CA
    I learned, pretty easily, the "loud whistle" when young when a friend showed me. It involves an "embouchure" similar to that used for the trumpet. I just realized that lately as I returned to the horn and was working on my chops.

    The lips are fairly close together, the tongue is sort of curled and placed above the lower teeth. It produces a very loud, generally high-pitched whistle.

    Just as some people have a difficult time with that whistle, others have a difficult time with their embouchures. I'm not sure of how these two relate, but I try to think of that whistle as I blow the horn.

    I can whistle about four or five different ways (including sucking the air in) but the "loud whistle" seems closest to the trumpet embouchure.

    Just an interesting thing to consider as to possible relationships.
     
  6. rowuk

    rowuk Moderator Staff Member

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    Whistling does have a positive effect for musicians. It trains the ear/air coordination and if you are sensitive to intervals it can be as good as solfeggio.
    Because it is such a "low pressure" activity, I don't think it will ever be a replacement for developing breath support or embouchure strength.
     
  7. adonis74

    adonis74 Pianissimo User

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    I'd agree most whistling is "low pressure," but the "loud (fingerless) whistle" uses a lot of breath support and the use of many of the muscles, etc., that the trumpet embouchure uses. It can be as screamin' and almost as loud as a trumpet and requires a lot of breath and effort to be optimum.

    Here's one explanation at http://www.natwilson.com/stuff/whistle.html that sounds a bit like someone giving instructions on the horn except for the lips being apart to let out the air. I might have described the process differently, but it demonstrates the point:

    Fingerless Whistle

    The fingerless whistle is a natural outgrowth of the fingered whistle. In the first method, you use your fingers to keep the lip taut and in place. With the next method, you remove your fingers and don't use them at all (except to cross them for good luck). Instead of using your fingers, you rely on your muscles in your lips, cheeks, and jaw. Since this technique requires greater control of those muscles, it may be easier to master the fingered whistle first, and then move on to the fingerless method.

    Draw back lips

    Begin by extending the lower jaw slightly, and pulling the corners of your mouth back a bit, towards your ears. Your bottom teeth should not be visible, but it's fine if your upper teeth are.

    Your bottom lip should be quite taut against the lower teeth; if you have need help with this movement, press an index and middle fingertip on either side of the mouth to draw the lip slightly out to the corners. Note: this action is not an insertion of the fingers into the mouth, as the first method indicated. In this instance, you're simply stretching the lower lip a bit, and the fingertips aren't in the airstream.

    Draw back the tongue

    Now comes the crucial part of the whistle.

    The tongue must be drawn back so that it sort of floats in the mouth at the level of the lower front teeth. This action also broadens and flattens the front edge of the tongue, yet there's still a space between the tongue and the lower front teeth.

    The sound of the whistle comes from air that is blown over a bevel, or a sharply angled edge. In this case, the sound is created by the upper teeth and tongue forcing air on to the lower lip and teeth.

    Blow

    Steps 2 and 3 follow each other very closely, if not simultaneously.

    Inhale deeply and exhale--the air should flow under your tongue, up through the space between the tongue and teeth, and out of the mouth. Experiment with the position of the fingers, the draw of the tongue, the angle of the jaw, and the strength of your exhalation.

    Start off with a fairly gentle blow. You'll produce a whistle of lower volume, but you'll also have more breath to practice with if you don't spend it all in the first three seconds.

    Using your upper lip and teeth, direct the air downwards and towards your lower teeth. The focus of the air is crucial for this technique--you should be able to feel the air on the underside of your tongue. And if your hold your finger below your lower lip, you should feel the downward thrust of air when you exhale.

    As you blow, adjust your tongue and jaws to find the sweet spot. This is the area of maximum efficiency, where the air is blown directly over the sharpest part of the bevel. This results in a strong, clear tone that's constant, as opposed to a breathy, lower-volume sound that fades in and out.

    Listen for the following: the sound you'll start with will sound as if you're letting air out of a tire. Every now and then, the clear and full tone will come through, and you'll know that it's only a matter of time before you're hailing every pet and taxi in your community.​
     
  8. Fredrick

    Fredrick New Friend

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    Jan 1, 2007
    What Brekel said about moving your tongue in different registers, that has something to do with playing an instrument. I noticed this once when we were tuning up for jazz once after school, I tried to get it in tune, but it was still sharp. My band director told me it was because I didn't have my jaw and throat open well enough and was cutting the sound off.

    When you whistle, you can whistle lower register better with your jaw more open, but you can whistle higher register better whith your jaw more closed (or so it is with me). But for playing trumpet, you'd want to play with your jaw and throat wide open (maybe not "wide" open, but certainly not closed) because your lips are making the sound, and making the inside of your mouth smaller, as you would when whistling upper range, would affect the tone badly.
     
  9. Brekelefuw

    Brekelefuw Fortissimo User

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    Tongue level depending on who you talk to plays a huge part in playing trumpet. In the upper register, a high tongue helps speed up their air stream making facility up there easier. I am a tongue level subscriber, although use of it isn't a conscious thing.
     
  10. TheRiddler

    TheRiddler Pianissimo User

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    I think it is good because just like singing - you're at the lowest common denominator.... whats going on in your head. if you can't sing/whistle something then you prob can't play it. its a good metaphor for trumpet playing though - your chops and playing should be just like whistling in the fact that you shouldn't think about what to do to make certain pitches...

    when you're whistling a simple tune, you're not thinking about where your tongue should be, or what your air is doing, or what it feels like... you're thinking - oh i know this tune, this is how it goes.... thats what your trumpet playing should be like... just following the music and let happen what needs to happen.

    That said... I'm the only person I've ever met that can whistle a trill.
     

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