The Problem With Whistling: Teen Sets World Record For The Highest Note Ever Whistled
THE more specious the world record, the more Anorak appreciates it. So, to Walker Harnden, 19, from Pittsboro, North Carolina, who has whistled the highest note ever.
Harnden, a student of the oboe at The UNC School of the Arts in Winston-Salem, has had his whistle certified and posted by The Guinness Book of World Records, which reports:
The highest note whistled is a B7 (3951 Hz), which was achieved by Walker Harnden (USA) at the Hoad Recital Hall, University of North Carolina School of the Arts in Winston Salem, North Carolina, USA, on 7 November 2013. The “B7” note is the B just below the high C on a piano.
Anyone keen to best Harnden should know that he whistles “all the time,” up to four or five hours a day. A third of his waking day is spent whistling.
Whistling can be a sign of happiness or insouciance. But to someone stood next to a whistler, particularly one who can blow for hours at a time, it produces the opposite effect. It is a trigger for anger and stress. You view the whistler as self-involved, a person who cares not for anyone else. The whistler hears the upbeat opening bars to Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry Be Happy. The listener hears someone using a cheese grater on their eardrums in a sarcastic and invasive manner.
Whistling can be sinister. Tom and Jerry taught us that. So did that old reprobate Mickey Mouse:
In this clip, Terry Bigham notes how whistling can be precursor to a crime, a sign of evil intent:
Fritz Lang, by his own admission, didn’t know beans about music. Yet, when he tackled this first German sound film, he decided to give Peter Lorre’s killer a whistled motif to announce his presence. Ironically, Lorre couldn’t whistle so Lang himself wound up performing Grieg’s “Mountain King” theme from “Peer Gynt”.
Anyone whistling for five hours a day is bound to cause upset. I picture Harnden in his class; the teacher is struggling to illustrate a point; his wife has left him; he is behind on the mortgage payment; then he hears whistling. He can react with violence or simply roll into a ball and sob. It’s unlikely he’ll join in with the whistling on Always Look On The Bright Side of Life.
But maybe he and you should just give in. You are with either with the whistler, or you are the enemy.
Whistle ad Spotter: Harvard