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Learning the Irish Piccolio

GUEST,Bugs 11 Sep 10 - 03:02 PM
Paul Burke 11 Sep 10 - 03:50 PM
GUEST,Peter Laban 11 Sep 10 - 03:54 PM
Mr Happy 12 Sep 10 - 08:49 AM
GUEST 12 Sep 10 - 09:47 AM
SteveMansfield 12 Sep 10 - 09:48 AM
Jack Campin 12 Sep 10 - 06:06 PM
GUEST,leeneia 12 Sep 10 - 10:34 PM
GUEST,Jim Martin 13 Sep 10 - 12:15 AM
Anglo 13 Sep 10 - 12:43 AM
GUEST,Gordon T 13 Sep 10 - 08:10 AM
Jack Campin 13 Sep 10 - 08:22 AM
Jack Campin 13 Sep 10 - 08:42 AM
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Subject: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST,Bugs
Date: 11 Sep 10 - 03:02 PM

I've just bought a Tony Dixon Irish Piccolo as what I thought was a step to learning the Irish flute. Being the same size and fingering as a Penny whistle I thought this would be a good way to work up to the flute. However now I wonder if I've made a mistake. I can find very few websites to help my emborture ( is that how you spell it?) and most sites advice is to start learning the flute first. Bearing in mind that these sites are for orchestral keyed Piccolos with a three octave range does the same advice about starting on Flute hold for this variety. Any comments or hints on getting started gratefully received.

                               Bugs


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Paul Burke
Date: 11 Sep 10 - 03:50 PM

The piccolo (sp) requires extremely accurate omboosher, not only is the hole small but small differences of angle or coverage make the difference between a full sweet note and a spitty sound. The full size flute is much easier to blow.

However, take that on and stick at it. Get it right and consistent, and you've got an instrument that can hold its own against The Melodeon Player From Hell.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST,Peter Laban
Date: 11 Sep 10 - 03:54 PM

Embouchure


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Mr Happy
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 08:49 AM

What's a 'Picolio'?


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 09:47 AM

If you get the embouchure on the piccolo it'll stand you in excellent stead for moving on to the flute, because the flute is generally a more relaxed version of the piccolo embouchure. It is indeed probably more common to start on flute then get a piccolo, but you can start from where you are, rather than where other people might tell you you should be ...

Most of the advice in the best flute tutorial books (any or even better all of Hammy (S.C.) Hamilton's 'Irish Flute Handbook', Fintan Vallely's 'Timber', or Grey Larsen's monumental 'Essential Guide to Irish Flute and Tin Whistle') is eminently applicable to the simple-system piccolo - material for orchestral piccolo is not a great deal of help as the fingering and the whole embouchure is different, not to mention the types of music you'll be looking to play.

As and when you move on to flute you'll probably also go through a phase where you can't get the flute embouchure *or* the piccolo embouchure right, but after a while that will pass and you'll be able to switch instruments without thinking about it. The fingering system of the Dixon piccolos is exactly the same as that of a keyless wooden flute.

There aren't enough piccolo players around IMNSHO, so good luck and enjoy it.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: SteveMansfield
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 09:48 AM

That GUEST was me BTW, once again a Firefox upgrade ate my cookie :)


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Jack Campin
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 06:06 PM

You want to listen to recordings of John Doonan, a terrific Irish musician from the north of England who used the piccolo as his main instrument. Most likely his instrument had a different fingering system from yours, but you can learn to allow for that.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST,leeneia
Date: 12 Sep 10 - 10:34 PM

Hi, Bugs. Good luck with your endeavor.

Years ago I ordered a wooden fife which is about the same size as a piccolo. I had never played an instrument of that type before.

I took it along on a camping trip of about a week's duration, and every time I had nothing to do, I tried to play it. I finally did it. It's just a matter of trying different mouth positions till it works - rather like learning to whistle.

Later flute teacher said to me, "Do you know that there are people who get a flute and don't get their first note out for months?" So don't be discouraged if it doesn't come right away. You are normal.

Some years later I bought a wooden flute. I couldn't get the high notes, so the seller of the flute gave me excellent advice. This is it:

Pretend you are standing against the wall of a dining room, and on the opposite wall is a tall dining-room cabinet. To play a low note on the flute, aim the stream of air at the bottom of the cabinet. To get a high note, blow the stream upward, towards the top of the cabinet. The middle notes, logically enough, go towards the middle (waist high) of the cabinet. I tried it and it worked.

I'm pretty sure this advice will apply to your piccolo too.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST,Jim Martin
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 12:15 AM

John Doonan, some biographical info:

http://www.answers.com/topic/john-doonan


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Anglo
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 12:43 AM

I echo Jack Campin, which is what I was going to say till scrolling down I saw he had beaten me to it. Doonan had 2 LPs on Topic, Flute For The Feis was the first, and was a lovely player.

Sadly my LP of Flute For The Feis got a big kink in it, and most of it is unplayable. If anyone has transferred their copy to CD....   (I'll trade a copy of the other one :-)


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: GUEST,Gordon T
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 08:10 AM

It's "piccolo" not piccolio - italian word meaning "small".I played with John Doonan's band a few times - he used a standard simple-system instrument,like the original poster seems to have,which shares fingering with tin whistle.New instruments today are boehm system,which is different.Its NOT the same as a fife - which usually transposes into key of F, though it looks similar,its slightly bigger.There's nothing irish about it - and its rarely used by traditional irish musicians, but in the right hands it can sound great on irish dance music.A really good wooden simple-system piccolo is very hard to find these days though.
John Doonan had very much his own style and could get a beautiful tone out of the piccolo - which is quite a challenge, because it can easily sound shrill, and a bit ear-shattering.I used to play piccolo a lot myself - but could never get John's sweet tone.I think his son Mick can though.Another good player was Sean 0'Rourke(I think) who was in a scottish band in the 70s,whose name escapes me.


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 08:22 AM

I've no idea how you go about getting mistakes fixed on answers.com, but could somebody tell them that Archie Fisher is Scottish, not Irish?


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Subject: RE: Learning the Irish Piccolio
From: Jack Campin
Date: 13 Sep 10 - 08:42 AM

I see that seven tracks from John Doonan's "The Lark in the Clear Air" are on Spotify. I'm listening to "The Spalpeen's Lament" at the moment - wonderful.


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