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Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing

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CharlieA 11 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 11 Jul 07 - 09:24 AM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jul 07 - 09:47 AM
GUEST,Paul Burke 11 Jul 07 - 10:53 AM
DannyC 11 Jul 07 - 12:54 PM
GUEST,leeneia 11 Jul 07 - 02:23 PM
CharlieA 13 Jul 07 - 03:25 AM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 07 - 04:15 AM
Tootler 13 Jul 07 - 06:34 PM
Jack Campin 13 Jul 07 - 08:08 PM
Tootler 14 Jul 07 - 08:03 PM
Jack Campin 14 Jul 07 - 08:44 PM
Greg B 14 Jul 07 - 11:07 PM
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Subject: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: CharlieA
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 08:43 AM

I'm a month or so away from buying myself this: http://www.hobgoblin.com/local/bigpic.php?ID=GR2124

I've had a bit of a play round on one in the shop and am rather enamoured.

Now although I managed to just about work out the chromatic scale and I am a concert flute player, I would love any hints and tips on playing one of these - if anyone has any links which show actual fingerings for the chromatics that would be really helpful.

Many thanks in advance!

Charlie


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:24 AM

Charlie, if you want full chromatics stick to the Boehm flute. The keys on the simple flute CAN be played with agility by experts, but the style is seldom anything like Irish traditional. Partly the articulation is completely different, Irish playing being typically and perversely legato. The C natural is normally crossfingered, and the other keys only used in extremis. In tunes that use the G sharp, I usually finagle the tune with a harmony or a roll to avoid it.

A choice of fingering charts here, but be aware that simple flutes are much more variable, both from maker to maker and in the same flute over time, than Boehm flutes.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 09:47 AM

Is this true love or mere infatuation?

1. Any respectable flute ought to come with a fingering chart. Esp any flute costing 299. Lean on the shop staff; they've probably stuck the fingering chart somewhere.

2. How many chromatics do you actually need? the most I've seen in Irish music is either three sharps or two flats.

3. If you want to play Irish dance tunes and sound like the professionals, the secret is in the breathing, which consists of sendng puffs of air into the flute. (I've been trying to get that effect, haven't done it yet.) For example, I admire the playing of John Skelton, who does it that way.

How does this flute respond when puffed into?

Spend some time at this site:

http://www.expertvillage.com/interviews/irish-flute-practice.htm

David Cantieni, who gives the lessons on that site, has good intentions. Trouble is, he gives a good tip for beginners, then demonstrates it with an unfamiliar tune played at a hundred miles an hour. Can't tell when he applied the technique just described and when he didn't.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: GUEST,Paul Burke
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 10:53 AM

£299 is VERY cheap for a new keyed wooden flute- most European/ American/ Aussie makers ask 5-10 times that. There are lots of fingering charts around on the web.

You'll also have to adjust your embouchure- it's usually (though not always) tighter for a simple flute with conical bore. And don't expect a lot from the third octave. Also beware of pads that fail to re- seat after use, or that fill with condensation and don't change the note when you work the key- just a little bubble forms over the hole.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: DannyC
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 12:54 PM

There is an ongoing Irish Flute discussion board under the Chiff and Fipple website where you might find some good sources.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 11 Jul 07 - 02:23 PM

It may be cheap, but if it doesn't do what you hoped, it's 299 wasted.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: CharlieA
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 03:25 AM

Hi All,

Thanks for the advice and the links!

I do want to play traditional style but I'd also like some versitility so I can play different styles on the same flute. I was quite impressed with it for a beginner flute when I played it but will go back and try it out again with your advice in mind.

One of the things I keep in mind is that I occasionally accompany singers who have a tendancy to sing in odd keys so it's harder to accompany them - and the classical flute i have (although lovely) has the wrong tone for the songs! I've played them on a keyless wooden flute but have an interesting time with some of the half notes - and it was borrowed!

Anyway - thanks again - and anything more appreciated!

Charlie


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 04:15 AM

There is no single "traditional style" for Irish flute playing, though one specific style has been heavily promoted as The One True Way in recent decades. Listen to older recordings for a wider variety of ideas.

For chromatic notes, you need to experiment rather than depend on fingering charts, as every instrument is different and you may also need to adjust to the tuning scheme used by whoever you're playing with (equal temperament for a melodeonist, just intonation for a singer, maybe Pythagorean for a harpist). In particular you don't necessarily need to use all the keys you've got - as Paul said, you can often crossfinger the C natural to better effect.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Tootler
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 06:34 PM

There is a good wooden flute site here which I suspect may answer many of your questions.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Jul 07 - 08:08 PM

The contradiction in McGee's site (and the many others like it) is that they are advocating as a folk instrument a very specific type of REALLY REALLY EXPENSIVE flute which virtually none of the creators of the Irish folk repertoire could possibly have afforded.

My greatgrandfather (from the West of Ireland) joined the British Army as a boy, went to fight in Afghanistan and came back having learned to play the flute.   Victoria's Army didn't supply Prattens and the like, they got shiploads of el-cheapo no-name German flutes which may have had iffy out-of-the-box intonation but which stayed in circulation for decades. I've got one of them; intonation not too bad, not the easiest thing to sound, not much use above third-octave G and its market value is that of an *adequate* instrument, i.e. probably no more than the OP is thinking of paying (rather than add-a-zero-and-then-some for a Pratten or McGee). But my ggf might have recognized it, and so might Captain O'Neill.

The question is whether you want to play folk music or some concert-stage simulacrum of it.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Tootler
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 08:03 PM

Jack, That looks suspiciously like the "good enough for folk" argument.

When I posted the link, I was not necessarily advocating that you buy a McGee flute, but that he has a lot of useful info on his site.

If you are going to buy a flute, you should certainly try to get one that is in tune and has good intonation. I see nothing wrong with that. That a lot of people "made do" with iffy instruments in the past - because they had to - is no excuse for advocating poor instruments now and that looks remarkably like what you are doing.


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Jack Campin
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 08:44 PM

There are lots of very good whistle players who use Generations. Those things really are rubbish - awful intonation, uneven stability at the lower end, and they shriek in the upper octave - but they have a distinctive sound which carries decades of associations. I wouldn't want to play one myself, but for someone trying to evoke those associations, they're spot on.

If you're playing a not-very-responsive flute you'll play it slower. That alone ties you to the practice of former generations (i.e. the people who created most of the music you're playing).


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Subject: RE: Hints and Tips for 'Irish' Flute playing
From: Greg B
Date: 14 Jul 07 - 11:07 PM

I hate all of you. :-)

I have my great grand-dad's (mostly) open-hole Boehm flutes,
including a beauty with an Ivory head-end. Can't get a bloody
note out of them, though I can play a Coke bottle with aplomb.

(Grandpa Lill was 'Pennsylvania Dutch' and played in 'oom-pah'
bands)

Countless flautists have tried to train me to get a note out
of the bloody things, but I think my face is just the wrong
shape.

Dammit all anyway! (He said, picking up his melodeon)


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