From a musical standpoint, it seems that whistling gets little respect as a form of musical expression when compared to the human voice or other wind-type instruments. This question may not have a GQ answer, but are there any solid reasons for this?
Sitting here I have a 19-note whistling range compared to a 16-note vocal range (not counting falsetto). I can whistle musically with pursed lips on both the inhale and exhale, so I don’t have to pause for breath. Touching my tongue to the roof of my mouth briefly produces a sort of liquid warble (thanks, Mark Twain) much like vibrato. I can whistle with my lips drawn back, using just tongue and teeth, which produces a different sound (tone? timbre?) with a higher but smaller range. Using fingers, I can produce higher notes yet although I can’t control the pitch very well. It seems to me that there is a lot of potential there that could be explored with proper training.
Whistling seems to produce a pretty pure tone, without a lot of complex harmonics or depth, but then so do a number of wind instruments. Humming under the whistling adds additional complexity and warmth, as do glottal stops and other tricks.
Is it purely aesthetic prejudice that makes it impossible for me to find a professional whistling coach and be first whistler in the London Philharmonic? If I moved to some exotic land, would I encounter a rich tradition of whistling music?