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Whistle-y sounds in my range. What is it good for (if anything)?

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Sometimes my allergies get funky and I try some wuhs to see if my higher register connects or resonates at all... sometimes the congestion knocks out a solid chunk of my range. :\

However, today I got this weird "wuh" on E6 that I was able to do somewhat consistently but not bridge down easily back to E4.

Here's a sample. I included two wuh arpeggios. I've never heard those notes in my range before, and it seems like there's a different quality going from my wuh's below C6 to that top E6. It feels extremely tiny


My questions...

1) Is this possibly a strange side effect of the congestion or am I just lucking out on technique with a smaller margin of error?

2) Could it possibly be difficult for me to bridge down to E4 because those notes are so CT demanding, and I'm just not that good at slowly bringing TA smoothly as I come down? Part of me wants to blame it on the allergies, but that feels almost like a cop-out.

3) How do I know when my head register ends and whistle begins (if I can even find it)?


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Whistle notes, probably in one's "whistle" range. Good for stunt notes and bragging rights. E6 is two whole notes higher than I can sing.

Depends on which definition you are using. I've said it before and it's not me making it up but there is a tonal shift at about D5, even for tenors. The resonating space for the fundamental is so small in most people, that there is not enough room to resonate overtones that make up the distinctive vowel sounds. So, all vowels tend to sound the same up there. So, even for sopranos coloratura and tenores leggiero, articulation is still important so that words make sense up there. Anyway. I think others have described that point as the start of whistle range. Others describe it is as "pure head voice" because the feeling is no longer providing sympathetic vibration in their throat or clavicles in their upper chest.

According to rachsing, some research indicates that congestion from a malady does not affect resonance. I think it does and with the congestion, you may be hearing freqs that were there all along, just not as apparent until other freqs were filtered out by the congestion.

However, the congestion could be draining down and immobilizing some of your vocal folds and leaving a smaller section able to vibrate. As soon as the congestion clears up and your folds become free again, that whistle range will be gone.

But, according to others, you can develope a whistle range. I've never been interested in one and as far as I know, never had one. But I hear that it can be done.

Someone else can explain that.

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I think that "first whistle" register is not true whistle voice, it is actually twang-enhanced falsetto, the second whistle register is the real "flageolot". In this first whistle mode the folds are still vibrating, even though not at the rate they vibrate in "head voice". If your twang is good, folds still have some closure in this mode (but not full closure). In "real" whistle mode the folds don't vibrate at all, they are completely stiff AND completely open. That's why its so hard to bridge those two registers, because in the "first whistle" you will usually try everything you have to keep the folds closed as much as possible, but for the "second whistle" you need to let the folds open and keep them fixated in an open position.

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Thank you for all of your responses. Very insightful and educational.

I tried doing the wuh's today and I can't make it to the full octave arpeggio anymore, but it's still interesting to mess around with. Even just the notes right under there... they seem like something interesting to have.

I could a couple of the notes right under that range being useful for Ray Charles-esque shrieks or Jeff Buckley wails perhaps.

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No one's gonna make that Bruce Springsteen joke? Ronws? ;)

I totally missed this.Sorry, jonpall. Never one to pass up an inane joke, mostly. But the only thing I could think of regarding whistle is a line from a Bruce Springsteen song "I'm on Fire."

"Like a freight train runnin' through the middle of my head ...."

Hey, Owen, it would be cool to hear a sample from you to explain what you are talking about. I only asked because I once talked about something and jonpall asked me to post a sample and I did, whether it turned out to be right or agreeable, or not.

Then, again, I have no shame. No "rep" to protect.

I is a beast, and evidently, in a silly mood this evening. Ignore, if you need to do so.

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