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Overblowing

From Academic Kids

Overblowing is producing a different note in a wind instrument by forcing air harder. This can be a deliberate technique to get additional notes, or an inadvertent problem which results in notes other than those intended.

In simple instruments, overblowing can cause a change into a different register. For example, in the Irish tin whistle, the player can play in the upper octave by using the same fingering as in the lower octave, but blowing harder. In most more developed instruments, this transition from lower to higher registers is aided by a "register hole" which encourages a vibration node at a particular point in the pipe, causing the vibration pattern to change, so overblowing is not so important.

Overblowing with bagpipes

Overblowing is a problem that arises when playing the bagpipes. A phenomenon perhaps unique to piping, it is the most common reason for unsteady tone.

When a piper plays, a rhythm is set up between blowing into the blowstick and squeezing the bag. Often, a piper will oversqueeze the bag while still exhaling, causing the pipe to vary its tone. This problem can be fixed in a number of ways:

  1. Using a slightly harder reed, or modifying the existing one to take more air.
  2. Practicing with a manometer to increase steadiness.
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