“Stop whistling, Clemens. Only laborers whistle,” my friend and teacher C. used to say. C. was Austrian, and like many citizens from that cutlet-shaped country, leaned towards the eccentric. Well-meant advice for sure; but thank you, no thanks. I am glad I ignored this particular bit of wisdom.
Many years later I had an eye-opening experience with music. As a birthday present, my wife gifted me a voucher for a harmonica course. A workshop with a professional harmonica teacher, Dale King. The man did a terrific job; the majority of participants left the course with a happy smile, a harmonica, and a future in the music industry. Some have become rich and famous and are touring the stages of the world. I walked out with the sobering realization that I would never be able to play ANY instrument. Except for a CD player or smartphone, my lips, limbs, and lungs are obviously unable to extract any melodious or rhythmic sound from any instrument.
There is some truth in the statement that everybody can and should sing, but I have to admit that my singing capabilities are limited.
But… I can whistle. The tunes that Yehudi Menuhin squeezed from his Stradivari after long years of torturous practice, leave my two lips effortlessly, with no practice at all.
Whistling – it truly seems to be a secret art. I couldn’t find any article or reference about the effects of whistling on well-being, physical health, war and peace, the economy, or whatsoever. There are no lists of famous Hollywood actors, historical figures, or politicians that indulged in this activity. Did any of the famous Georges (Washington, Clooney, Orwell, Carlin or Bush) ever whistle? The history books stay stumm on the subject.
How can it be that even the most inept and tone-deaf can still produce a passable tune with their lips? Science remains silent.
But I LOVE whistling. In fact, I will now render Puccini’s Madame Butterfly. My interpretation is funky, happy and you won’t be able to keep your feet still. It beats my vocal version by a length.
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Originally posted 2018-08-12 05:28:00.