Whistle while you work September 12, 2013Posted by mareserinitatis in humor, physics.
Tags: braces, life of brian, monty python, whistling
I’m not a big whistler, but every once in a while the mood hits me. Yesterday after seeing this (it’s about the ‘new’ trailer for Monty Python and the Holy Grail), my mind travelled to The Life of Brian and, inevitably, this song:
It’s one of those annoyingly catchy (and yes, totally absurd) songs. While it was burrowing its way through my brain, I started whistling. Except, I discovered I couldn’t.
As some of you may recall, I had orthodontic work done and finally had my braces taken off last spring. While wearing braces, I don’t imagine I tried whistling at all because whistling with braces is pretty much a futile exercise. However, after having all my teeth moved around, I discovered that however I had learned to whistle before no longer works.
In order to whistle (at least the way I do it), one holds the lips in such a way to allow a stream of air to pass through. The stream is disrupted slightly by the lips and teeth, causing the air to vibrate. Then you can move your tongue around in your mouth to change the frequency of the resonance, which will change the pitch of the whistle.
It sounds easy, right? Except that with my teeth in a different position, I can’t seem to get that vibration there. Everything is in a new spot, so I’m not sure how to place my lips.
The end result is that I’m trying to sing, “Always look on the bright side of life,” which is so darn cheerful because of the whistling, and I can no longer whistle. Despite the song’s mandate, I found myself a hair depressed…