Just show me how to whistle...
August 30, 2005 4:34 PM   Subscribe

Can anyone explain how to whistle, two-finger hailing-a-cab style?
posted by Acey to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (22 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
This is something I am dying to know. Thanks for asking.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:47 PM on August 30, 2005 [1 favorite]

I've always been so jealous of people who can do that. Someone please answer!
posted by The Monkey at 5:26 PM on August 30, 2005

There are instructions here. [search]
posted by onlyconnect at 5:37 PM on August 30, 2005

Those linked instructions might work for some, but they just now left me + everything in front of me covered in spit.

I'd love to be able to do this; maybe someone can dig up an illustrated guide.
posted by item at 5:49 PM on August 30, 2005

I'm getting there with this guide. From this whistling page.
posted by hellbient at 6:20 PM on August 30, 2005

onlyconnect, your link got me closer than I have ever been to whistling like that! I'll have to practice, but I think it'll work. I can do it just well enough to torment my husband, who hasn't read it yet and is insanely jealous! Thanks!
posted by wallaby at 6:24 PM on August 30, 2005

My technique is to touch my middle finger to my thumb and like I'm making a circle and then press the joint between the two back against the tip of my tongue until the fingers are inside my mouth and I can curl my lips down over them. The tongue is in a wave shape. Blow with quite a bit of force. Make small adjustments until you produce a whistle.

Grew up in NYC hailing cabs this way, so this is a proven whistle!
posted by garbo at 8:30 PM on August 30, 2005


I've wanted to do this forever! I'll need to work on tone and volume, but I'm 90% there. Thanks, Acey, for asking, and onlyconnect and hellbient for the links!
posted by Eamon at 8:35 PM on August 30, 2005

First off, it took a _lot_ of practice to get make it work for me. I'm talking 15 minutes a day for a week. Finally...

I touch the tips of my pinky fingers together, with my palms facing me, so they are touching at a 90 degree angle.

Then I push up my lower lip up and over my lower teeth and pull the lip tight.

The upper lip is relaxed. The middle of the first nuckle (from the tip of the finger) is just under and touching the inside of my upper lip.

The tips of my pinky fingers are touching the very tip of my tongue. I'm pushing against the tip of my fingers with my tongue so the tongue bulges behind the tip of my fingers.

Blow with a steady, mildly forceful breath. Unless you play a breath instrument, I'd recommend praticing sitting down. All that blowing can make you light headed.

The idea is that the air travels up and over your tongue and into a tiny triangular gap between your lower lip (which is pulled tight) and your two fingers. The whistle comes from the way the air moves into and out of the triangular space.

Hang in there. My dad has always been able to do this and I was always kind of jealous. I finally taught myself at 26. It is really and invaluable skill. My dog quicly got it that most o the whistles were for him. Good Luck!
posted by tayknight at 9:37 PM on August 30, 2005

Ok I can whistle. Now, help me stop the drooling that goes along with it!
posted by speedo at 9:58 PM on August 30, 2005

Whoa, sweet, it works! Onlyconnect's link was very effective, although I'm having more success using two index fingers or pinkies than an index finger and thumb. I recommend this if you're having trouble; it seems to make it easier to control the angle at which your fingers meet.
posted by keatsandyeats at 11:22 PM on August 30, 2005

Wow, well this was much more popular than I imagined... now I'm gonna give it a go. I can't wait!
posted by Acey at 4:09 AM on August 31, 2005

Comment at bottom of page linked by onlyconnect:

"I also have a URL.i'm From the fucking china"
posted by RibaldOne at 6:31 AM on August 31, 2005

Dammit. I've never been able to do this. I still can't. Those instructions with the pictures have persuaded me I'll never be able to. I can't do that with my tongue. It refuses to stay back. It just slides over my fingers.

On the other hand, I can do that Ennio Morricone owl hoot/ cupped hand flute thing like a goddamn genius, so life isn't all bad.
posted by Decani at 7:28 AM on August 31, 2005

garbo's brief description got me pretty close. I need to practice.
posted by OmieWise at 7:53 AM on August 31, 2005

Gah! I still just sound like a steam train whichever method I try. Any more tips would be appreciated!
posted by Acey at 8:07 AM on August 31, 2005

MouthSounds [book, not the website] also has instructions. Plus many other noises, some useful, most silly.

Ah, but Decani, can you whistle through your tongue?
posted by scruss at 8:14 AM on August 31, 2005

My dad taught me to do this as a child and I can still do it today.
I've tried to pass this on to my kids, but neither one of them can do it.
Sweet memories of ol' dad. Thanks.
posted by SoftSummerBreeze at 8:33 AM on August 31, 2005

This is SO awesome!
Thanks to the excellent links and descriptions, I'm able to do in 5 minutes (!) what I've been wishing I could do for around 20 years.
BIG THANKS to Acey for bringing this up, and to all who contributed!
posted by numlok at 1:00 PM on August 31, 2005

Don't fret, Decani. All that tongue stuff only matters for changing tone and timbre. The trick is making the right shape with your fingers and lips. You're literally making a whistle with your hands and mouth and then blowing through it.
posted by Eamon at 2:32 PM on August 31, 2005

Once towards the end of a tour through Blanchard Springs Caverns, as the group was leaving this enormous cavern, I got permission from the guide to whistle loudly to see how it echoed.

I used my two pinkie technique and blasted one out. Midway through the reverberation there was a "plink" sound. I must have hit the resonant frequency of a small stalagtite and broken it free from the ceiling.

I bet they no longer allow cave whistlers.
posted by MonkeySaltedNuts at 4:45 PM on August 31, 2005

Thanks, guys another one bites the dust OH YEAH been waiting a longtime for this!

I have to second pinkies.
posted by prodevel at 4:59 PM on August 31, 2005

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