If you’re here, you probably watched this video:
If not, please watch it first.
Here are the 10 techniques I used in this video:
#1 – Vibrato
A vibrato can be achieved either by slightly changing the pitch up and down from the base note (pitch-based), or by blowing harder and softer alternatively (volume-based). Your mouth should move similar to when you say “you woo you woo” if you’re doing the pitch-based vibrato. For the volume based one, you half-stop the airflow at your throat saying “oo oo oo oo oo oo,” but not too strong that it cuts off the sound completely.
#2 – Tonguing
Say “doo-doo-doo” while you whistle. You first need to know how to whistle with your tongue floating inside your mouth (not touching the lower teeth/gum) before you can make a nice clean sound with regular tonguing.
#3 – Labial stop
“Labial” means it has something to do with the lips. By slightly narrowing the opening between your lips, you can stop the sound softly. By learning to whistle even when the lips are narrowed, you can also do a “doubled” articulation for fast passages (cf. Masashi Ebihara).
#4 – Inhaled-whistling
I first learned how to whistling inhaling, so it is always difficult for me to explain how to do it. Keep the same shape of the mouth as when you whistle outwards, but feel the air at the inner edge of your lips when you inhale. It would help to slightly open the jaws (lower your chin) while you inhale.
#5 – In ‘N’ Out
Alternate between the inhaled-whistling and the exhaled-whistling. Imagine an over-heated dog in summer, but do it faster than them. It would help you a lot at the beginning if you also breathe in and out from your nose at the same time (but it creates too much noise).
#6 – Growl
Just say “Oooo” while you whistle.
#7 – Polyphonic whistling
There are various ways to do it, including one where you stick your tongue out and whistle from both sides of your mouth (cf. Damariscotta Helm). The way I do it an applied technique based on the whistling equivalent of “yodel” – i.e. reed change. This will be another separate post.
#8 – Paper (over) drive
It’s probably the coolest sounding technique despite it’s simplicity. You put a piece of paper in front, touching your lips at their center. When you whistle, it should sound louder and crispier. Finding the right kind of paper and the right balance between the whistle and the airy noise are the important points.
#9 – Tapping
This is probably the easiest out of the 10 techniques presented in the video. You use your fingers to tap you lips and stop the sound, which allows you to whistle fast passages. You should either tap the hole itself, or just the upper lip – whichever creates less unwanted noise and does not decrease the volume of the whistling.
#10 – Warbling
This is a monster on its own, or even multiple monsters. It takes years and years to perfect, and even some professional whistlers cannot master it. The basic idea is to smoothly transition to a different pitch with a clear jump. There are multiple ways to do it (at least 2 ways using the tongue and 2 ways not using the tongue). I’ll probably make a separate tutorial on this technique.