, 24. September 2016
An almost forgotten Way of Making Music

The Art of Piping

Everyone knows it, the unmistakable whistle medlodym of the song "Wind of Change" by the Scorpions. This comparatively simple melody is a no-brainer to pipe for professional art pipers Stefan Fleischhaker or Hans Martin Werner. What is it all about with the art pipes, and can everyone learn this easily? Let´s start to search for clues.

x-working The art of lip whistle requires an ergonomic shape.
The art of lip whistle requires an ergonomic shape.

As early as during the Renaissance the art of piping was celebrated. As attractions at European courts art pipers so to say played for the mighty of the world. They can whistle complex melodies at different pitches without technical ressources. In the 19th century then the art piping established itself as an independent art form. Especially in Austria and Switzerland singing imitations, waltzes and operettas were performed by art pipers. But also in English-speaking countries artistic art piping became modern. In the late 19th century, Alice Shaw became very popular in the United States for her art of piping. The Berlin based vaudevillian Guido Gialdini reached the same extent of popularity that time. With Lips von Lipstrill the last professional art piper from Austria died in 2005.

However, even today the art pipes is still alive. Since his childhood the art piper Stefan Fleischhacker already have been dealing with music. On his way throughout the diverse styles of classical singing, he gradually developed his own technique for art piping. Although the range of the human whistle is more limited than at singing, an exceptionally skilled piper creates up to three octaves without technical aids. This enables them to cover pieces of music that basically were composed for sopranos. Stefan Fleischhacker is singer and director of Letzten Erfreulichen Operntheaters (LEO) in Vienna.

Even the gifted Hans Martin Werner has discovered the art of piping again. The doctorated musician is "Doctor of Musical Arts" in conducting. But his passion lies with piping. He claims, that the art of piping can not be simply learned, it is given by nature. The shape of the lips, so the anatomy and an outstanding musical understanding are prerequisite to become a first-class art piper.

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