mk Chameleon

Regular
£999.00
Sale
£999.00
Regular
Sold Out
Unit Price
per 

Style 2 legged

SKU CDT2

Quantity

- +

Email me when this is available

 Please Note: The current shipping estimate for a Chameleon is Feb -Mar 2022.    

 

Building on Bernard Overton's re-invention of the Low Whistle, the Chameleon adds functionality and range to an instrument which has gained huge worldwide popularity in 4 decades.

The Chameleon is the product of nearly two decades of work making a chromatic key system uncomplicated and elegant enough to honour the simple and humble form of the whistle... 

PLEASE NOTE: We are unable to answer a lot of emails about stock and availability.  If we have some available to order then be quick!!   We have only made a small number of Chameleons to date because we are a small team and  we strive to offer a high level of service to our customers.  Answering many emails about stock and availability can absorb a lot of time.  If you have missed out, do not fear, we will certainly be making more!  In any case, we appreciate your patience and, in the mean time, the best method of getting updates is to sign up for our email updates.  

Explore new keys and modes!

Opens up amazing new worlds and opportunities for playing and composing.   

No need to change whistle when changing key 

Of course we don't need to dispense with our prized F or Ab whistles, but, at last, we don't have to change whistle when making many key changes.  

Play accidentals and chromatic passages. 

Music which was not possible before is now possible.

Use all existing notes and cross-fingerings as you have been. 

The original tonehole layout and patterns are all still there.  The Chameleon only adds and extends the possibilities.   

Avoids heavily mechanised key systems

Mechanics which hamper agility and restrict ornamentation are kept to an absolute minimum. 

Features

  • Incredibly simple and elegant key system - a process of years of carving off excess material to arrive at the most elemental form.
  • The first Chameleon is based on a Low D whistle - a 'D Chameleon'.  
  • Pinky keys/fingers to play E♭ and G♯.
  • Optional thumb keys (4 legged Chameleon) or plain toneholes (2 legged Chameleon) for B♭ and F♮. 
  • 2 legged Chameleon comes with polished silver stopper for back holes if just E♭ and G♯ wish to be used.   
  • Blue green tinted anodised body from polished aerospace grade alloy - light, precise, resonant.  
  • Blackened stainless steel 3D printed keys, allowing limitless exploration of form to produce extremely ergonomic key forms
  • Light touch, magnetically sprung keys.
  • Custom Chameleon Case made from brushed aluminium and a precision machined transparent tray.  Felt lined and with a removable shoulder strap.  

Chameleon

From the ancient Mesopotamian language - literally “lion of the ground" or "earth lion"

Noun
chameleon (plural chameleons)

1. A small to mid-size reptile, of the family Chamaeleonidae, and one of the best known lizard families able to change color and project its long tongue.

2. A person with inconstant behavior; one able to quickly adjust to new circumstances. quotations ▼ (physics)

3. A hypothetical scalar particle with a non-linear self-interaction, giving it an effective mass that depends on its environment: the presence of other fields.

Timeless Creature.

The Chameleon, is a prehistoric reptillia but whose characteristics remain as original and distinctive now as they ever were.  It has eyes which move independently of each other and the incredible ability to change colour. Contrary to popular belief a Chameleon changes colour to show mood and intention rather than to blend in, although it can change colour to blend in also.           

4 Legged Chameleon (4 Key) 

The Standard Chameleon utilise two pinkie keys, as on many woodwinds, for G# and Eb keys. In additional there are two thumbs keys which rest in the closed position for Bb and F♮.  The thumb keys allow the thumb to rest comfortably where-ever it wishes to on the key but do not allow direct contact with the tone-hole itself.  The tone-hole is covered by the key itself rather than the thumb.   It is worth noting that the tonehole layout and fingering patterns are exactly the same as the 2 legged Chameleon - so any learning on this can be transferred.   

2 legged Chameleon (2 Key)

The 2 legged Chameleon is an extremely sparse key system which uses the thumbs to directly cover B♭ and F♮ notes, extending possibilities for ornamentation on those notes, and others, without the hindrance of mechanics. This almost certainly requires the player to adopt a new hand position, but once adjusted it becomes natural. With a steep learning curve and a reasonably long acclimatisation time, the benefits it offers are hard won, and this configuration is not for people who are half committed to the learning process.  But once used to it this is surely the most exciting in terms extending future possibility and awaits daring young musicians looking to rewrite the rule book...

All wind instruments have a challenge to play chromatically - how to attain all 12 notes in the chromatic scale with only 10 effective fingers (or 9 if supporting the instrument with one thumb). If humans had evolved with 12 or 13 fingers this would not have been a problem! Or if physics have given us fewer intervals. It is an circumstance which is defined by physics and biology themselves. 

Several solutions to this have existed through history.  The highly innovative Boehm key system, as proposed in the 1830s, was a product of a great age of industrialisation, producing a highly mechanised solution which has proved very successful on many instruments including the Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Saxophone and in some styles of music. 

Several solutions to this have existed through history. The highly innovative Boehm key system, as proposed in the 1830s, was a product of a great age of industrialisation, producing a highly mechanised solution which has proved very successful on many instruments including the Flute, Oboe, Clarinet and Saxophone and in some styles of music. 

The evolution of the whistle has, however, been based around simple tone holes with direct contact with finger-holes to achieve bends, cuts, crans and other ornamentation which is now inherent to the character of the instrument and part of its elemental connection with landscape and authentic culture around the world. 

The Chameleon utilises a key system even simpler than the 'Simple key system' as used on traditional flutes. The original architecture and finger patterns of the whistle remain intact, so everything that can be done on a Low Whistle can be done with a Chameleon, while offering additional opportunities to explore new keys, modes and musical realms.  

Photo: Dougie Cunningham Leading Lines
& author of Photographing Scotland

The Chameleon utilises a key system even simpler than the 'Simple key system' as used on traditional flutes. Cross fingerings and workarounds are not uncommon on whistles. All those options are still available on the Chameleon - the original architecture and finger patterns of the whistle remain intact, so everything that can be done on a Low Whistle can be done with a Chameleon, while offering additional opportunities to explore new keys, modes and musical realms.  

What will happen when you first pick up a Chameleon?

Confusion and frustration!  Practise is required to make the fingering patterns familiar to play in keys like F or Eb. It may take up to a year of regular practise for your hands to acclimatise and to feel comfortable griping and playing a Chameleon - this is normal and to be expected.  Like learning to play any instrument, or hit a new yoga pose, learning a language or a new skill - many of the best things in life don't come immediately but take time to flourish.  If you are coming to play a Chameleon then you will no doubt be bringing many pre-existing skills, and have a good understanding of the rewards to be had.    

Join the team that writes the rule book 

All Chameleon owners will gain automatic entry to a group / community experimenting and playing a Chameleon.  It's an opportunity to experiment, share ideas, challenges, triumphs and tunes.  Techniques, fingering patterns and possibilities are far from set-in-stone, and this offer players an opportunity to be part of this exciting development - writing the book as we go.           

Enter your email here to receive a pdf of the first version of the Chameleon scale charts for tone-hole / fingering patterns and to be kept up-to-date with Chameleon news:-  

Crafting the Chameleon

As with all mk whistles, creating a Chameleon uses a combination of age-old and up-to-minute production techniques. The body is made of anodised aluminium - a tinted metalic colour sitting somewhere between blue, green and grey depending on your eyes (and mood!). The key-work is 3D printed by state-of-the-art rapid prototyping machines in a combination of bronzed and blackened stainless steel. Many challenges have been met in the creation of the Chameleon, and every solution has striven to find the simplest and most elemental form. The Chameleon comes with a one-of-kind case, itself the product of some audacious ideas!   A transparent inner cradle slides into a brushed aluminium sleeve, a solid refuge for the Chameleon between its daring escapades.    

A Labour of Love

For several decades we have been pioneering the craft & design processes involved in making whistles. It's a gradual and at times painstaking process, making improvements, sometimes absolutely tiny, to bring you the best possible instrument to make music with - so you can enjoy one of the great things in life. And this is the beauty of making instruments - a whistle itself is like any ordinary object, until it is in your hands. It is a collaboration, a symbiosis, between maker and musician, an expression of life itself in which landscape, culture and emotion from life's journey itself provides inspiration and soulful connection.  

Worldwide shipping

We regularly post to almost anywhere in the world!

Insured delivery

It's our responsibility to get your package to you.

Returns welcomed

We are happy to work with customers to make things right.

10 Year Guarantee!

Unique ten year guarantee against faults in workmanship.

Customer Service

Excellent email customer support to resolve any issues no matter where you are.