Clarification of Answer by
25 Sep 2006 08:35 PDT
"Warbling" is sometimes applied to whistling, but the word's exact
meaning is vague. Generally, it means a whistle that contains a wide
vibrato, just as would be heard in warbling singing. A regular whistle
may have no vibrato, or it might have slight vibrato. A "warbling
whistle," though, has a wide vibrato. (See "Whistle:"
http://www.madehow.com/Volume-4/Whistle.html , "The mechanics of
Whistling:" http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A1986654 )
Here is a great description, provided by J.M. Schlitz at "Kunstpfeifen
Traditions" ( http://www.synthonia.com/artwhistling/ ):
"'Warble' is a term used by ornothologists to describe bird behaviour.
Whistling entertainers began using it around 1870-1910, when bird
effects became a popular part of vaudeville whistling...the exact
musical meaning of 'warble' depends on the whistler in question, who
may (or may not) use it to denote any number of musical effects--
tremolo, trill, vibrato, and/or flutter-- through any number of
articulation techniques, such as laterale*, nodale**, uvulare***,
and/or portamento. Thus there are almost as many definitions of
'warbling' as there are whistlers who use the term (some may even
spell it 'wharbling,' instead)...
In short, "warble" or "wharble" has no meaning in terms of music.
* i.e., lateral articulation; the effect which is generated by
touching the roof of the mouth with the tongue as in pronouncing the
sound of the letter "L" in most languages.
** Nodale is node-crossing, or alternation between two notes belonging
to different modal (or "harmonic") registers.
*** Uvulare denotes uvular fricative, used for flutter in most wind
instruments, though in artwhistling it has additional possibilities. "
I would add that tremolo, vibrato, trill, and flutter all are very
similar. They are words used to describe the flucuation between two
different notes when a note is held.