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 Post subject: Flute Design
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 7:01 pm 
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I'm coming from the Whistle Forum. I've been taking group whistle lessons at the Irish Arts center (NY) and thought to eventually move on to flute. When I watch flute players I see head turned left and arms and hands extended to the right. Being retired and having some hand issues, the position required for playing flute appears really hard to maintain for a long time. My question is about flute design. It would seem to me that if the flute body touching the flute head were slightly angled, perhaps down and out from the body, then the human head would not have to rotate so far left and the arms would not have be to raised so far to the right. Maybe a 30 degree angle or less? That is, the flute would have better ergonomics for some players. I once saw a classical type flute video where the instrument was shaped like a "T" and played vertically. I assume this requires a radically different playing style. I do not think the head to body angle would have to be anywhere near that large to achieve an significant improvement in play-ability . Of course I am new here and you can likely point me to an old thread about this subject. Thanks.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 10:14 pm 
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Welcome, hi. Let me suggest that you give it a try with a flute. First, see how you feel holding
it in various positions. Second, consider seriously taking a lesson with a professional
teacher, who will be much better positioned to instruct you about this than we are. The teacher
needn't be a teacher of Irish flute, and you can rent a student flute (if you don't want to buy one
to find out if you can play) to take to the lesson. The flute is a very bottom up affair, and getting
the basics down largely determines what follows.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:05 pm 
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Since flutes are made by turning on a lathe, it wouldn't be very practical to put a bend in the head piece.

Yes, flute posture is not the best, ergonomically speaking.

There is more physical stress when playing the flute compared with the whistle. At first, maybe you can only play for 20 minutes or so per day before tiring. And then, it could take a year to slowly work through he physical issues, although during the same year you are training up your embouchure.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:35 pm 
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Or alternatively, you can write the code necessary to 3-D print a bent headpiece for just such a flute. :D Lord knows there is still room for some innovation.

Bob

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The Beginner's mind has endless possibilities.
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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Thu May 04, 2017 11:48 pm 
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For the boehm system.
http://flutelab.com/flutelab.com/swan-neck-flute-headjoint/

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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 10:37 am 
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One of the board members, back in the day, had a custom flute head made for her, with such
a bend in it, more radical I think. Didn't much like it. One can certainly hold the standard
flute on a slant, too, if not so radical.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Fri May 05, 2017 8:54 pm 
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Various solutions for bass flutes that could
be applied. Ask Terry McGee perhaps.

Image

Image


Dayton Miller playing the albisiphone.

Image

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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 8:42 am 
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Thanks for your replies. My question was somewhat theoretical. My own thought is that I might try a simple system, shorter G or A flute to see how that would work out.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Sat May 06, 2017 1:20 pm 
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Welcome LI Whistler. I to am older and have struggled in the past with the head turned to the left, especially following/during extended practice sessions. I would experience pain the the neck and shoulder muscles, left side. I play the Irish Flutes as well as the Boehm Flute. At one point, back in January of this year, the pain became quite intense and I sought the advice and care of a professional physician who specializes in such matters. Even had a C.T. Scan of the neck area. Ths scan came back pretty normal, with the exception of some arthritic concerns related to age. My doctor sent me to a registered physical therapist group near my home, and the course of treatment made a huge difference in my case. They prescribed a set of simple exercises, specific to my complaints and it helped to relieve the pain to the point that it went away and has not returned. I continue with the exercises although I have finished the course of treatment some months ago.

I, for one, appreciated your theoretical question. At one point, I strongly considered purchasing the angled head joint, as described in one of the previous posts; however, felt it was too expensive. I can certainly attest to the fact that when one hurts, for whatever the reason, it is a difficult thing to get excited about engaging in practice. Thanks for your question.


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 11:44 am 
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For that sort of neck and shoulder pain, I found a book entitled, The Athletic Musician; a guide to playing without pain to have a number of helpful exercises, many specific to flute playing. The prices on the book seem to have sky-rocketed but an inter-library loan might find it.

Best wishes.

Steve

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"[Some flutists] place the flute between the upper lip and the nose, blowing the instrument from below. This position does not prevent good playing, but it does not look graceful."
~ Antoine Mahaut, 1759 in a tutor for playing the transverse flute ~


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 Post subject: Re: Flute Design
PostPosted: Sun May 07, 2017 4:36 pm 
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Thanks for the suggestion Steve, I'll certainly look into getting a copy. Cheers, Don.


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