How does whistling work?

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A whistle is a high-pitched sound that is made when air is pushed through a small opening in a special way. When people whistle, they use their mouths to form the small opening. The air that travels through those lips comes from people’s lungs.

To whistle, you first have to pucker your lips not as much as you would if you are pretending to kiss someone, but just a little bit. Chances are, if you do that and blow air out of your mouth, not much will happen. You need to use your tongue to whistle too! Keep your tongue in the middle of your mouth and raise the tip just a little bit. Air will flow around it, and once it exits your lips, it should make a whistling sound.  

The air also needs to flow at a certain speed. If you blow the air too quickly, you won’t hear a whistle. The same is true if you blow the air too slowly. It might take a little bit of work to find that right way to blow the air.

If you cannot whistle right away, don’t worry! It might take a lot of practice, but keep trying, and you’ll be able to whistle! 

by   (whyzz writer)
  • Exploration

    Whistle Work!

    There are lots of different ways to make a whistling sound. If you can’t whistle blowing out through your lips, you may be able to whistle by sucking air in.

    You may also be able to whistle by touching your thumb and index finger to the tip of your tongue and blowing through the hole between them. Just make sure your hand is clean first!

    What instruments make a whistling sound? Can you use your whistling like an instrument? What songs can you whistle? Can you whistle and make it sound like a bird tweeting? How high of a note can you reach? How low can you reach? What changes in the airflow cause those changes in notes?

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