Are there any known references on professional whistling out there? I love to whistle, but I feel like it's not very pretty the way I do it and would like to learn from a professional the best way to do vibrato, increase my range, change registers quickly, etc.


4 Answers 4


I'll make this a community wiki to encourage the addition of more resources in the future.

Thanks to NReilingh♦ for the reference to the "Pucker Up" documentary. The documentary contained some references to important resources, which helped me find more. Whistling was popular basically until the end of the swing era, so most of the whistling related materials shown in the documentary were pre-1945. Agnes Woodward's book, however, is still around:

  • The dictionary of whistling is now offline and the Wayback Machine didn't archive it! T_T
    – Nate Glenn
    Apr 29, 2018 at 5:26

I have a feeling that, while there may be professionals that would give you advice, you'd be as well off simply practicing different techniques and mimicking. For example I whistle on an inhale in the mid-high register for more volume. I'm sure that there are as many techniques as people whistling.

I have a hunch, however, that if you practice isolating harmonics (such as in harmonic singing) it may improve your ability to ascend/descend quickly/cleanly through the registers.

Just two cents (okay, maybe just one) from a strictly nonprofessional whistler.


If you want to see a good example for real "palatal" or "roof" whistling with open mouth , search for "palatal whistling " on YouTube and see videos of Thomas Molnar (my own performance).

Many think , it is something miraculous. IT IS really NOT.

The key is the completely different way of creating whistling tune. Instead of rounding lips and press the airflow between them (causing resonance outside the mouth) the airflow passes the bent-- up tongue left and right and crosses before the front teeth within the mouth , creating a smooth- sounding whistle tune . Moving the lips (narrowing and widening it ) regulates the pitch of the tune. Of course I use the "traditional" technique too for lower and higher pitches ,too - I can even breathe in during whistling so there is no need to make pauses or interruptions during the performance(see. Marcia Alla Turca)
How it works? See my above mentioned videos. If you have any questions, write me.

  • So after reading the Dictionary of Whistling, I realized that palatal whistling is actually apico-alveolar (unless what you're talking about is different). I might ask a separate question on getting a good tone (mine is very breathy).
    – Nate Glenn
    Nov 9, 2013 at 22:07
  • I've been trying to learn this style of whistling. It's really difficult to find any explanation of it. Thank you for writing this. I would be really glad for any further tips on how you do it. Could you please describe the tongue position more? Thank you 😊
    – sp3ctum
    Oct 14, 2016 at 18:58

From one of the videos you referenced:

Wow, Geert Chatrou is really something. After some research, it appears he collaborated with the makers of this documentary:


... which might be a good resource, and seems to contain some information about how to do palatal whistling.


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