The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #11563   Message #86660
Posted By: Beau
14-Jun-99 - 05:30 PM
Thread Name: flute playing tips
Subject: RE: flute playing tips
Hi Emmie,

The ornament your are describing is called a "cran" which is a technique borrowed (as most flute and whistle ornaments are)from the piping tradition. Typically, this ornament is done only on the low D, and occasionally the low E on the flute or whistle. For the best results you need an instrument with what a friend of mine called a real good honk on it. In other words, it works best when you can sustain a good volume on the low end of the whistle. I have yet to satisfactorily do it on my flute yet, but mine is pretty quiet. I am days away from getting a Patrick Olwell flute which I am hoping will prove to be better able to get that warble you speak of.

The technique as it was described to me goes thusly:

First, since this is a long ornament, you want to use it to highlight long notes (probably half notes and dotted half notes). Second, it should be the low E or D that you are ornamenting. Give yourself a healthy lungful of air and sound the note (for this example we will call it a D)keeping a steady stream of air moving thru the flute (i.e. don't tongue). In rapid succession, you will raise and then lower first your left ring finger, then your right index finger and then your right middle finger. The trick here is NOT to raise the next finger before the preceding finger has dropped. Done properly, the flute will sound a rapidfire cascade of notes (A, G & F#) with the low D droning underneath them. This is one of the more complicated ornamentations, so remember to take your time, and practice it slowly. If you have access to a tape player with speed control, find some flute recordings and listen to them at half speed so you can hear the individual grace notes sounding. Get it in you head first, then get it in your hands. Let muscle memory take over. Experiment with cranning different notes, and in different places, keep what you like and chuck the rest. Just have fun with it and try not to get too frustrated. Good luck and write back and let me know how it goes.