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Jet Whistle

 

Jet Whistle is a very loud glissando-like sound produced by sealing the embouchure hole completely with lips and blowing a fast, high-pressure air stream through the flute. The direction of a Jet Whistle can go from low to high; high to low; or low-high-low. This is a gesture that generally does not have an extended duration as all the air is expelled very quickly through the flute to create the sound. It should be noted, that this is primarily a technique only available on the C-flute.

 

Production Tips

Jet whistles are produced by sealing the embouchure hole completely and blowing fast, high-pressure air through the tube (similar to warming up the instrument). It can be helpful to turn the headjoint out or in slightly while blowing to help make it easier. In order to create the three different shapes of Jet Whistles, you will need to shape the mouth cavity differently for each by moving the tongue higher or lower.

  1. Low to High: use the syllable "huuu-eee" 

  2. High to Low: use the syllable "heee-uuu" 

  3. Low-High-Low: use the syllables "huuu-eee-huuu" while increasing the airstream speed on the way up and decreasing slightly on the way down.

 

Extended Variations

  • It is possible to simulate a Jet Whistle on Alto- and Bass-flute by leaving the instrument in a normal playing position (not sealed) and strongly overblowing a note, creating a rapid sweep through the harmonic series. The size of the tube (and curved headjoints) make a true Jet Whistle impossible on the larger instruments. 

  • Another way to fake the Jet Whistle technique on Alto- and Bass-flute is by sealing the embouchure and vocalizing the syllables above with a strong whisper.

  • Jet Whistles occasionally occur on a piccolo, but are an extremely quiet and delicate effect on the piccolo.

Notation Examples
Video Examples

Flute 1

Jet Whistle: Low-High, High-Low

Flute 2

Jet Whistle: Low-High-Low 

piccolo

Jet Whistle: Low-High, High-Low

Audio Examples
Jet Whistle on Alto Flute - FluteXpansions
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Alto Flute

Jet Whistle: Low-High, High-Low, Low-High-Low

Jet Whistle on Bass Flute - FluteXpansions
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Bass Flute

Jet Whistle: Low-High, High-Low, Low-High-Low