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 Post subject: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2017 4:27 pm 
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In traditional Irish music, for those out there who use keys, which F keys do you have? I'm considering not getting the long F key. I've been happy with the short F key thus far, but want to make sure I'm not missing anything.


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:57 am 
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Think about the fingering of goingdown the scale from the short F key to an E.

There are lots of other scenarios, but just having the long F key available to avoid that awkward sideways movement from the short F key to cover the E hole in a fast passage should be enough to explain why both keys are useful ...

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 2:44 am 
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There are indeed lots of scenarios in which a choice of F keys is desirable, but perhaps the principal one is the near impossibility of moving smoothly from D to F and back again without the long key. The famous Charles Nicholson pooh poohed the long F, writing that players should be able to learn how to slide on to the short key, but once you have a long F you would be loath to be without it , even though I find it infuriating at times, when my left little finger waggles in thin air, having missed the key entirely - and some flutes have more easily worked long Fs than others. It is interesting how quickly the brain gets in to the habit of deciding which F key to use in any given context and there are numbers in which I find I use both the keys in the same bar (measure).


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:55 am 
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One can do without the long key, but it helps to have it.


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 9:54 am 
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F to E and E to F aren't really a problem, and F to D is doable (all with the short F), but D to F is the one that's really nice to have the long F for, and it does make F to D easier.

Another thing the long F makes easy is an Fnat roll - you can do an E roll, but with the key open, and it works very nicely. (Crans as well).

For most tunes where Fnats are predominate, I use a mix - Ed Reavy's (original) version of the Lane to the Glen is a good example of one that both keys are heavily used for different passages. I don't think I could play that one with just the short F (I probably could do with just the long F, but there are passages that are easier with the short one).


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 11:13 am 
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I'm definitely a long F guy. I use short F sometimes...so my point is get both. There is a good reason why they are both on there in the first place.

I had toyed with the idea of 3,4 and 5 keyed flutes to save money but Ive always just gave in, spent the money, and gotten 6 or 8 keyed flutes. Never regretted the decision...My opinion...

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 12:50 pm 
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bejubi wrote:
which F keys do you have?

Just the short F. The long one's useless without a finger to work it! :wink:

NicoMoreno wrote:
but D to F is the one that's really nice to have the long F for

It's doable if it has to be.

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Another thing the long F makes easy is an Fnat roll - you can do an E roll, but with the key open, and it works very nicely. (Crans as well).

But I'd have to concede that I can't do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:48 pm 
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Personally, it's not possible with my fingers (shortish and fat) and my short Fnat (fairly high and not angled towards the E hole at all) to go from a D to an Fnat, using the short F, without an intermediate note/sound.

I've tried, and it's not really a matter of practice - it's just the physics.

I *have* played other flutes where it's possible, though.


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 3:56 pm 
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NicoMoreno wrote:
Personally, it's not possible with my fingers (shortish and fat) and my short Fnat (fairly high and not angled towards the E hole at all) to go from a D to an Fnat, using the short F, without an intermediate note/sound.

I've tried, and it's not really a matter of practice - it's just the physics.

I *have* played other flutes where it's possible, though.

Personally, I think the short F should be made so that it is possible to go from D to F natural without any intervening note/sound. I still like the long F key though, and tend to use it more than the short one. Nice to have both.

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 4:29 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
NicoMoreno wrote:
Another thing the long F makes easy is an Fnat roll - you can do an E roll, but with the key open, and it works very nicely. (Crans as well).

But I'd have to concede that I can't do that.

Are you really getting a clear enough change from the F when you strike the E hole? I've just tried the sounds by covering that with my pinkie (which I couldn't do in practice to roll), and F and 'D with F key open' are only microtonally distinct on my flute.

Mind, I can do strikes and rolls on Bb and G# with my right-hand Bb and G# keys where the strikes are true As and Gs respectively! Suppose I could too for F with the short F key (strike sounding true E), but it's just harder to execute a snappy strike with that key.

(Note that the striking finger releases the key to strike and depresses it again to return to the main note when striking with a closed-standing key. Which is the opposite of what you'd normally do, but oddly feels pretty well the same when you quickly just get used to doing something with that finger when executing the manoeuvre.)

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2017 8:23 pm 
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I long played a vintage flute with both F keys.

For a time I played a flute with just the Long F key.

For a time I played a flute with just the Short F key.

To me it didn't matter that much. You get used to whatever setup you have.

Personally, it seems to me that if you get used to the Long F, so it becomes second nature, the Short F is superfluous. There's nothing you can't do well with a Long F, but a couple things which are difficult to do well with the Short F. My uilleann chanter only has the Long F and I've never felt I was missing out on anything.

But Charles Nicholson proved that you can do just fine with only the Short F.

Vast numbers of traditional Irish fluteplayers, pipers, and whistlers got along just fine with no F keys at all.

However there are some passages in some tunes that even being armed with one or both F keys are still clumsy and difficult. For a while I played a Radcliff flute which made many difficult things easy.

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 12:55 am 
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will marshall wrote:
It is interesting how quickly the brain gets in to the habit of deciding which F key to use in any given context and there are numbers in which I find I use both the keys in the same bar (measure).


I play keyless flutes (mainly piccolos) a lot more than my 6-keyed piccolo, so to me it's even more surprising that my subconscious brain decides which F key to use without my conscious brain being involved. In fact if the conscious brain does get involved it's to go 'oooh that's interesting' at which point the focus is broken and I teeter close to falling off the tune completely!

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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:23 am 
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benhall.1 wrote:
NicoMoreno wrote:
Personally, it's not possible with my fingers (shortish and fat) and my short Fnat (fairly high and not angled towards the E hole at all) to go from a D to an Fnat, using the short F, without an intermediate note/sound.

I've tried, and it's not really a matter of practice - it's just the physics.

I *have* played other flutes where it's possible, though.

Personally, I think the short F should be made so that it is possible to go from D to F natural without any intervening note/sound. I still like the long F key though, and tend to use it more than the short one. Nice to have both.


Well, I thought about giving the maker my feedback, but I currently don't have the appropriate means of transportation to get to London... sometime in 1840 :D

To be honest, part of it is just the shape of my fingers - I would need a pretty heavily slanted and/or roller key to really make it consistent. But I don't need it either, that's why we have the long F!


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 8:26 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Are you really getting a clear enough change from the F when you strike the E hole? I've just tried the sounds by covering that with my pinkie (which I couldn't do in practice to roll), and F and 'D with F key open' are only microtonally distinct on my flute.


I mean, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked, so yes? I haven't been playing the flute in the past week as I have a nasty cold / cough, but if I get a chance this evening, maybe I'll make a clip showing it (and verifying if it's actually coming across well).


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 Post subject: Re: Which F Keys?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2017 10:23 am 
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I'm a newbie, but from the time I've spent practicing, I can count the number of time I've used the short F on one hand. The long F is almost always the one I use (although the more I do, the more I find I'm happy to have both).

It's the long C that I can more than do without. My cross-fingered C natural sounds so clean and good that I see no point to it, and using it is actually inconvenient. Even switching back and forth from B to Cnat can be done very cleanly if you work a little at it.

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