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PostPosted: Sun Dec 24, 2017 8:10 pm 
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Polara Pat wrote:
Although I can't very well disagree with you since you have obviously been at this for a while and I'm just a noob. Constant rhythm makes sense to me and should be a priority in my practicing but I'm still learning in broad strokes: breath control, clean fingering and scales. Simple repetitive actions that will get me closer to what you are talking about. If I'm all wet on this topic then please feel free to tell me. I can take it.


No, you are definitely on the right track! Scales, breath control exercises, keeping everything clean and clear; those are all great things to work on as you're learning. I do think getting a good feel for rhythm should be in there, though, and from many years of hearing beginning and intermediate players on a variety of instruments and in a variety of styles, it's an often overlooked aspect of musicality that can really come back to bite you if you're not diligent.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 12:17 am 
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bigsciota wrote:
Polara Pat wrote:
Although I can't very well disagree with you since you have obviously been at this for a while and I'm just a noob. Constant rhythm makes sense to me and should be a priority in my practicing but I'm still learning in broad strokes: breath control, clean fingering and scales. Simple repetitive actions that will get me closer to what you are talking about. If I'm all wet on this topic then please feel free to tell me. I can take it.


No, you are definitely on the right track! Scales, breath control exercises, keeping everything clean and clear; those are all great things to work on as you're learning. I do think getting a good feel for rhythm should be in there, though, and from many years of hearing beginning and intermediate players on a variety of instruments and in a variety of styles, it's an often overlooked aspect of musicality that can really come back to bite you if you're not diligent.


Cheers and Happy Christmas!!


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 8:59 am 
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If you haven't done, listen to Paddy Keenan on pipes slowed down to half-speed.

The rhythm is absolutely rock-steady and each note is precise, clear, and in tune.

What amazes me is how straightforward it sounds at that speed. Yet speed it up to full speed and it's all there, that unique magic his playing has.

Where does this magic come from? I sure don't know.

It reminds me of the story about what Rembrandt said when he saw somebody approaching one of his paintings to get a close-up look: "Don't get too close! The smell of paint is bad for you."

Anyone who has very closely examined a Rembrandt oil painting knows what he means! As you get close the image dissolves into abstract brush-strokes; like Paddy Keenan's piping, the closer you get, the less there is to see.

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PostPosted: Mon Dec 25, 2017 10:25 am 
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The Rembrandt story is a bit of an apocryphal one, it's attributed to notes taken by a pupil of a pupil, if remember correctly (it's been a while) in which he said 'De reuk van de verf zou u ververlen' : the smell of the paint would bore you.

But that aside: there are also a lot of players who sound straight-forward but seem to have a little 'je ne sais quoi', when examined up close you find all sort of thing happening that is not obvious at all but does add to the listening experience at another level. In that context I remember Pat Mitchell filling my ear (and inbox) when he was working on the Séamus Ennis book, finding things happening at a subliminal level that in his mind strongly enhanced the music. Anyone who has examined the playing of favourite players closely will recognise the experience. Some years ago I was transcribing compositions by fiddleplayer John Dwyer. Dwyer's music sounds simple, yet when examined closer, there were layers at a micro level that were not immediately obvious but could only be heard in slowed down recordings. I would imagine the music would turn out far less interesting without those layers. YMMV, ofcourse. different things attract different listeners.

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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 11:28 am 
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what would be some good examples of breath control exercises? i find breath control to be a problem for me. especially on the lower end of the scale.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 2:12 pm 
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westonm wrote:
what would be some good examples of breath control exercises? i find breath control to be a problem for me. especially on the lower end of the scale.


I can't really speak to breath control exercises but I've been trying to work on my cardio and started x-country skiing since my house backs up against an old rail bed. It's a wicked lung burn but I feel like i can blow up a hot water bottle now.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:16 pm 
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Polara Pat wrote:
westonm wrote:
what would be some good examples of breath control exercises? i find breath control to be a problem for me. especially on the lower end of the scale.


I can't really speak to breath control exercises but I've been trying to work on my cardio and started x-country skiing since my house backs up against an old rail bed. It's a wicked lung burn but I feel like i can blow up a hot water bottle now.


i don't really struggle having enough air, just modulating the amount of air necessary. i often will blow too hard on the low notes making them sqeak


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 12:34 pm 
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westonm wrote:
Polara Pat wrote:
westonm wrote:
what would be some good examples of breath control exercises? i find breath control to be a problem for me. especially on the lower end of the scale.


I can't really speak to breath control exercises but I've been trying to work on my cardio and started x-country skiing since my house backs up against an old rail bed. It's a wicked lung burn but I feel like i can blow up a hot water bottle now.


i don't really struggle having enough air, just modulating the amount of air necessary. i often will blow too hard on the low notes making them sqeak


Ah, got it. I've gotten winded putting on my socks before which is why I was focusing on my cardio. Having enough breath control to play several tunes back to back and not getting dizzy from a lack of O2 to the brain is my goal. It's getting better for me but transitioning from high to low without over blowing seems a bit tricky. It's also slowly getter cleaner in my camp.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 4:25 pm 
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You'll find, eventually, that playing a whistle takes little more air than talking. You're blowing a lot because you're not blowing efficiently, and the cure for that playing a lot of whistle, not cardio. You also might be feeling out of breath because you haven't yet learned how and where to breathe, which gives you an "OMG I hope I make it!" rushed feeling. Again, whistle practice is the key.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:06 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
You'll find, eventually, that playing a whistle takes little more air than talking. You're blowing a lot because you're not blowing efficiently, and the cure for that playing a lot of whistle, not cardio. You also might be feeling out of breath because you haven't yet learned how and where to breathe, which gives you an "OMG I hope I make it!" rushed feeling. Again, whistle practice is the key.


I couldn't agree more but if you find that you are generally out of breath all the time without doing much, let alone playing a whistle...you should probably do a bit of exercise. We can't all be prime specimens like you Simon.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:07 pm 
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If you watch some of the old footage, or check out some photos of source irish fluters, you'll see that half of those prime specimens had cigarettes permanently attached to their lips and the few who didn't used to wedge a lit smoke under the touches of the keys (which they didn't use anyway) between sets. Hammy talks about this in his Handbook. I'm pretty sure that once you've got the technique, not much shy of emphysema will leave you out of breath.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:34 pm 
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s1m0n wrote:
If you watch some of the old footage, or check out some photos of source irish fluters, you'll see that half of those prime specimens had cigarettes permanently attached to their lips and the few who didn't used to wedge a lit smoke under the touches of the keys (which they didn't use anyway) between sets. Hammy talks about this in his Handbook. I'm pretty sure that once you've got the technique, not much shy of emphysema will leave you out of breath.


I feel like this may be a lost argument. How about do a bit of exercise and just possibly live longer.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 5:40 am 
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s1m0n wrote:
I'm pretty sure that once you've got the technique, not much shy of emphysema will leave you out of breath.


That's the thing with flute embouchure: everything good flows from focus.

The more focused your airstream the more power you get with less air. The low notes get more powerful and the high notes get sweeter.

Flutes themselves vary in efficiency. If the player has a focused embouchure and the flute is an efficient one yes it requires little volume of air to get a big sound.

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