Whistlin’ Dixie

Rory Sullivan over at the excellent hamelife blog, recently penned a witty article designating whistling to be activity #2 in the distinguished list of "10 Pastimes Strictly the Domain of Men:"

I don’t mean the kind of piercing utilitarian wolf-whistle [used] to call the dogs.   I’m talking about whistling a merrie tune.   A root-te-toot-toot paradiddle on the personal puckered piccolo-lips.   Girly-girl Lauren Bacall must have been entirely unconvincing when she "whistled" because her pitiful instructions on how to whistle might at best cool your soup down, and at worst produce a pretty pathetic raspberry.   Whistling a merrie tune while driving?   A man.   Whistling a merrie tune while taking a jaunty walk down the road?   A man.   Whistling a merrie tune while doing painting and decorating?   A man.   Putting up signs saying, "Absolutely under no circumstances is there to be any whistling, under pain of very painful death!"   A girl.

Whistling BoyWell, this really started me thinking…   I whistle.   A lot.   Yet more often than not, I’m oblivious to the fact that I&#8217m even doing it.   Unfortunately, my coworkers & wife aren’t so lucky…

But unless you can’t do it (sorry, Martin!) I doubt that many people hardly ever think about whistling, yet there’s a lot more to it than you might think.   For example, the seemingly simple type that most of us do is called "pucker whistling," which turns out to be a rather technical feat:

Pucker whistling is the most common form of whistling used in most Western music.   Typically, the tongue tip is lowered, often placed behind the lower teeth, and pitch altered by varying the position of the tongue body.   In particular, the point at which the dorsum of the tongue approximates the palate varies from near the uvula (for low notes) to near the alveolar ridges (for high notes).   Although varying the degree of pucker will change the pitch of a pucker whistle, expert pucker whistlers will generally only make small variations to the degree of pucker, due to its tendency to affect purity of tone.
— Reference: wikipedia.org

What’s more, there’s even a global online whistling community called Orawhistle that boasts nearly 700 members from over 31 nations and features just about everything (and maybe even more) that you’d ever care to know about whistling.

If all of this whistle talk has you in the mood for music, you’re really going to enjoy DJ Riko’s "Whistler’s Delight" which is a clever mash-up that expertly mixes together 22 well-known whistling songs.

So, now it᾿s your turn…   Do you whistle while you work?
 

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