I'm Satoshi Sammy Saito, a percussionist. When you think of percussion, you probably imagine big percussion instruments such as the conga, djembe, and cajon. But there are also many small percussion instruments such as shakers, tambourines, triangles, etc., which are also very important.
This time, I will introduce percussion instruments that are useful as sound effects among the small percussion instruments.
Speaking of bird whistles
・A type that plays a bird song by putting a small piece of paper in the mouth and breathing out.
・A type that plays a bird song by blowing like a recorder
・A type that is held with both hands and twisted lightly to rub the wood and play a bird song
There are many types of bird whistles. Each of them has its own uniqueness and are wonderful. But among them, I will introduce the bird whistle “that has the shape of a whistle and is blown like a recorder to play the bird song ".
One of the best bird whistles
Product name: AC446 Cuckoo
Characteristic: There is a small hole near the tip, and you can change the pitch by closing or opening the hole with your finger, and you can play a cuckoo.
Product name: AC259 Crow
Characteristic: There is something like a thin plate in the middle of the air outlet, and the thin plate vibrates to make a crow's caw, and it produces a considerable volume.
Product name: AC553 Sandpiper
Features: There is a small hole near the tip, and you can change the pitch by closing or opening the hole with your finger, and by increasing the opening and closing speed of the hole, you can make a sandpiper cry.
Established in 1870, ACME is a British manufacturer that produces various whistles including whistles used by police officers, whistles used by sailors, and dog whistles. I will explain the characteristics of the historical ACME bird whistle.
● Characteristics of ACME bird whistles
① The material is plastic and hard to break
② Many sizes from small to medium
③ Easy to blow
④ Many whistles that can produce multiple tones
● Bird whistle design
The characteristics of ACME bird whistles are as described above, but the design is also elaborate. They come [with a hole or ring] for hooking on a bird whistle. This little trick is important for percussionists, and if you have some bird whistles, you'll have trouble putting them on stage... but if you have a ring, it's like an accessory. It can be hung around your neck (see photo), so you don't have to worry about where to put it on the stage, and switching instruments during performance is smooth and easy.
Among the ACME bird whistles, I have listed three types of bird whistles that can be effectively used for live performances and recordings. By understanding the timing of using these bird whistles and playing them, you can add color to the show and work for a more effective tone.
What is timing?
Each of the bird whistles introduced this time has its own characteristics, and each has its own effective timing. I will show you which timing is effective.
■ AC446 Cuckoo
Rather than using it in a song just because there’s an empty space, it is possible to create an image more effectively by playing it together with other small percussion parts in the prelude part before the song starts.
■ AC259 crow
Due to its structure, it has a considerable volume and a unique cry, so when used in a song, the sound does not mix well with other instruments, and it often stands out strangely. It can, however, be used effectively to announce your presence by playing it as a sound effect at the punch line part during emceeing or at the end of a song (depending on the song).
■ AC553 sandpiper
Due to the tone of the song, it is easy to mix with other instruments, so you can play it in the song, or you can play it with other small percussion in the prelude, either of which can be used as effective tones. By blowing in front of the big finale of a song, the big finale will be even more exciting and you can add color to the song.
By blowing a bird whistle at the right time, you can leave a more effective impression. Of course, you can use it at times other than the above, and you can also use your own preferred timing, so keep the above timing in mind as an index.
What other whistles are there?
In addition to the three bird whistles introduced above, there are duck calls and pigeon calls.
By the way, it is a mystery that the pigeon call bird whistle is heard by as another bird call when the amount and speed of exhaled breath is slowed down...(I use it occasionally because it feels surprisingly good).
ACME whistle produces many very useful whistles. It's hard to find a whistle that is compact, durable, can be used for a long time, and does not deteriorate in sound quality. Even if you're not a percussionist, it's a good idea to get one as a secret weapon! Of course, percussionists are encouraged to get all kinds of bird whistles. Please check them out and get the bird whistle that is most attractive to you!
* The introduction is only for cuckoos and pigeons, but if you are interested, check out the video!