Sylphyo as tinwhistle

  • Bonjour, Aodyo.

    So, I bought a Sylphyo a few days ago, just because it seemed like an interesting thing, and I'm really happy with it.

    I was curious whether it can be played like a whistle (I wanted to be able to practice the whistle silently with it) and I have a few thoughts and questions which I will share because sharing is good:

    Half-holing: I was hoping to use the key-bend feature to do half-holing like on a whistle. It's a great feature and lots of fun; it's the kind of thing that separates the Sylphyo from earlier generations of controller. You can't actually use it to half-hole, though, because as far as I can see it can only bend an existing note, not start a new note -- so you can't play C natural by putting your finger down half onto the pad, but you can play B and then bend it up to C natural. Is this a limitation of MIDI? Or am I using it wrongly?

    Fingerings: Neither 'whistle' nor 'celtic' seems quite right and I can't tell if I'm doing something wrong!

    -- On 'whistle' I can't take my thumb off the octave key to go to the upper octave; I have to actually slide it up. This is a strange and (more importantly) slow motion, so 'celtic' is much much better. I also don't quite see why 'whistle' starts from C when D whistles are the default and six fingers down is generally thought of as a D (or perhaps 'generally' just means me...). For some strange reason I also can't perform a 'cut' on A (so I have L1 and L2 down, and I quickly lift L1 to make a 'cut'). It just doesn't react to that particular movement. Agh!

    -- Celtic is better because you have very cleverly made the upper 'D' gingering do the right thing no matter where my thumb is! That's excellent, so I can move over the octave break easily without squeaks. But on 'celtic' I can't play a two-finger C natural (L2 and L3 down)! It plays a G instead! Bah! Curses! Also for some reason on 'celtic' both the pinkie pads flatten rather than sharpen.

    Here is where a bit of configurability would make so much difference. At the moment I'm using 'celtic' for my whistle playing.

    Thanks for listening!

    I really like the Sylphyo; I love the single-piece design and I find it amazingly like an actual instrument to play, compared with the clicky buttons on an AE-10, for instance. If you make any cool add-ons I promise to buy them all right away.

  • Hello Clothear,
    I own a Sylphyo for a couple of days too and I have much fun with it too.
    As an EWI player, I use the EWI fingering and it's comfortable for me. There is just a difference because Sylphyo has no trill keys.

    I can just answer one of your questions. For the moment, you can't play the Sylphyo silently, using an earphone plugged in the hole that made for this use.
    There is no internal sound yet in our instrument . Aodyo is working hard to realise an internal sound module.
    I am waiting excitingly for it ! ! !
    (I practise Ewi 5000 mostly with earphone/ It has 100 internal sounds./ while watching .TV with my wife, without disturbing her ! Lol!)
    I suppose the Aodyo team needs a little rest period during this Eastern days. One of them will answer quickly your questions.
    Have fun with for Sylphyo.
    Musically regards: Daniel

  • In fact we're a bit busy preparing and doing trade shows (Synthfest in France, Musikmesse in Germany) at the moment :).

    Thanks for the kind words, @clothear!

    About half-holing: as far as I can remember you should be able to "half-hole"/key-bend first and then breath. The key-bend mechanism tries to discriminate between intentional action and just you placing your finger, and it can sometimes be wrong, which is why it's still a beta feature. Don't hesitate to try things and verify the behavior using our Sylphyo Bench app (where you can see bends and other controls) or a MIDI monitor app.
    In a future update, we'd like to address pitch-bend issues more thoroughly and improve the key-bend feature to make it closer to what you can do with some acoustic instruments.
    We're also looking at improving our fingering mechanism, so that in the future we can have more accurate fingerings inspired from traditional acoustic instruments (e.g., whistle, recorder, or xiao), allow new things like changing the timbre of the sound depending on the fingering you're using, and ultimately allow users to leverage these new features in their own custom fingering definitions.

    This kind of things is in the roadmap, but don't expect them soon because we're a bit busy for the moment with the synth extension :).
    However, please do tell us what kind of improvements you'd like, and discuss ideas here with us!

    Regarding your fingering issues with Whistle and Celtic, if you change the Sylphyo's base key to D3, you should be able to finger a D with six fingers down.
    For the remaining issues, maybe what you need is an improved Whistle with a couple more modifications to make it more like the real thing, while retaining some of the practicality you found in Celtic.
    Let's talk about it and once we're clear on how it works we can surely include the fingering in the next minor update (or the one after that).

    Basically, if we were to redo the Whistle fingering from scratch, we'd start with the fingerings of an actual whistle (for consistency it'll be in C, not D, but nothing prevents you from changing the base key after that). Here is the fingering chart I'd use — if you have a more complete one, don't hesitate to share it here.
    Then, we'd just add three things:

    • adding the left pinky always sharpens (+1 semitone),
    • adding the right pinky always flattens (-1 semitone),
    • and removing the thumb always goes to the upper octave.

    Would you like this? Would you add or change anything else?
    (As I don't have time to have a close look at our fingering definition files right now I'm not sure how much this differs in principle from the current version of Whistle.)

  • @join Thanks for your reply. An updated fingering would be great! I have included a chart below that represents what I personally think I would like to have for whistle fingerings -- I will also run this past someone more skilled than I and let you know if any modifications are suggested.

    With regard to fingering:

    • Yes, left pinky should sharpen and right should flatten
    • Yes, removing the thumb should go to upper octave
    • Well-behaved tin whistles have a third octave, in which they can generally only go up to E. This could be represented putting the thumb on the upper octave pad.
    • At the moment you can play a high D with or without the thumb down. This is very good, please keep it!
    • C on a whistle is played with L2 and L3 fingers down, but allowing a fingering with only L2 down wouldn't do any harm and might be interesting for people used to sax or pipe fingerings.

    Other comments about whistles:
    --Most accidentals are played with half-holing; the cross-fingerings vary from person to person and from whistle to whistle so you will find many opinions and no single truth! The sharp and flat pinky pads should do fine for many players but I have suggested cross-fingerings in the chart below.
    --Tin whistle players are not generally used to using their thumbs at all -- if there were a system to handle overblowing to change octave, that would be very interesting. I imagine it's hard to implement. Perhaps it can be done in software.
    --Tin whistles are a transposing instrument, in which six fingers down is always written as the D above middle C, even on my meter-long low A whistle! Therefore in the fingering chart I have started from D.

    With regard to half-holing, I will practise!


  • Thanks for the details! We'll look at that once we're done with the current trade shows, and I'll keep you updated.

  • Any news for this topic?

  • The tin whistle updates discussed here will likely be implemented in a software update centered on fingerings, along with important and long-awaited changes for sax, flute, etc. We don't have a date for this release, but it's highly likely we'll post something here once we have a beta you'll be able to try.

  • @join please the long awaited realistic vibratto in celtic fingering using different finger positions, I can provide charts and fingerings again, for now I have stopped using the sylpho and use my own hand made controller :(

  • @k0872 I understand that without the finger-vibrato your Sylphyo doesn't fit your needs, but what's wrong in using your own hand-made controller?

    The same update that will improve the tin whistle fingering will also include your suggestions for finger vibratos in the celtic fingering, as well as a long-awaited solution for sax and flute players based on key splits. All these improvements will rely on the same foundations that I have yet to finish writing. There are a few more urgent things for us to do right now, such as the release of the synth extension, but I'll post something here as soon as we have a first beta on this! Are we allowed to contact you if we have doubts or need details on the finger vibrato thing?

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