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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:42 am 
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Hello good people
I'm pretty new to the flute. I bought a keyless in Delrin from Doug Tipple and am loving it. So far everything I play is in the keys of D, G or Eminor and for the music I love that's fine BUT I'm curious about why do some 'irish' type flutes have keys? Is it about improving the accuracy of finger placement I.e no more mis covered holes. Does it make ornamentation easier?
Or does it extend the range of notes say giving me, say, an f natural


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:49 am 
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Keys allow you to play all the Sharp's and flats you currently have to half hole or use alternate fingerings as well as allowing some third octave notes to be playable.

I like them since all the accidentals sound clearly and it allows me to play some tunes in odd keys I would otherwise skip out on...but those are rare.

Eric


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:52 am 
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Helpful but not generally necessary for ITM. Nice to have.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:32 pm 
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That's great. Thanks for that :thumbsup:

One more nooobie question. I've just this second run out of cork grease. Not a biggie I can order some more and it'll be here in a week or so BUT has anyone tried coconut oil? January in Britain it's solid like a grease and I like the smell :)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 12:47 pm 
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I've use chapstick or an equivalent lip balm...but never coconut oil.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:01 pm 
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Quote:
I like the smell


But will you when it goes rancid?

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 1:12 pm 
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Coconut lip balm could be a fine compromise...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:20 pm 
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I'm going to order some 'proper' cork grease but i guess Vaseline must be pretty much the same. I think coconut oil would probably be ok too but it might get a bit runny if the temp got much warmer than it is.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:47 pm 
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Vaseline is fine, don’t use coconut oil.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 3:58 pm 
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Loren wrote:
Vaseline is fine, don’t use coconut oil.

Ok I'm going to take your collective advice but I'm curious as to why. Does anyone know?


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 4:12 pm 
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Oils can breakdown the adhesives used to hold the cork on the tenons, causing your cork to come off. Recorking will cost you money.

Also, as Mr. Gumby suggested, oils tend to go rancid, so for those with threaded tenons, rather than corked, you’d be saturating the thread with oil that is going to go rancid.

Finally, while the coconut oil may be non-liquid at present, a raise in temp will cause a mess affecting your flute, your flute case, and potentially other items like clothing, furniture, car interior...


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 7:05 pm 
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You don't need need (yes I know I did that twice) to play Irish music. There will be a huge number of common tunes you can play. And a handful of tunes you can half whole (or in a large session you can just not sound.) But on the other hand it sure is nice to have them. As you play with more people and play more complicated tunes you find some of those composed tunes that are just plain fun like Music for a Found Harmonium or Catharsis will leave you sitting on your with your keyless flute on your lap. Since many of us got on long waiting lists for keyless flutes and found ourselves on even longer ones for keyed we get used to playing keyless. For me, when my keyed flute finally came I ended experimenting with them but basically ignoring everything but the c natural and the f's for years. Now 25 years into my playing I have nothing near the facility with my keyed notes compared to my unkeyed. That being said, as a fledgling concertina player I am forcing myself to find the weird tunes with the Bbs and d#s so they don't become mysteries later on... Decent flutes are expensive and keyed even more so, but I am very glad I got mine. But I know many good players who just stayed with keyless: a couple for budget, and one who waited so long for a keyed flute they ended up deciding not to learn them.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 8:01 pm 
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JimmyManley wrote:
...BUT I'm curious about why do some 'irish' type flutes have keys?


The short story is that the wooden-keyed-flute fell out of fashion so people were able to buy them cheap. Those people then started using them to play traditional Irish music.

It was only later once that someone observed that players of ITM didn't need the keys and making flutes without keys would be sufficient for most of the genre. Thus, the keyless flute for ITM was born. (The flute doesn't have a long or clear history in ITM. We have some evidence of flutes from the 1830s, but not much.)


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 02, 2018 11:08 pm 
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As you are noticing, 90% of the Irish music repertoire is in G or D (and relatives) and can be played on your keyless flute.

The key of A major is common enough at sessions (maybe the next 9% of tunes), and for that the G# key is helpful. G# can be half-holed or cross-fingered, but the key gives you an easier, stronger, and clearer note.

I hardly ever play in other key signatures, but I do find that keys are useful for accidentals. In particular, the Eb key, because the half-hole there produces a very weak note.

I recently acquired a keyed flute. I love the immediacy of a keyless flute, but if I were to go back, I would still want an Eb key. Probably also a G# key for A major. Of course, then you start back down that path, and you next want an F key... Personally, I could stop there because Bb is reasonable and C-nat is quite good with cross-fingers.

Some flute makers offer 4-key flutes, which is not a bad choice.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 03, 2018 11:34 am 
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While it's true that so much of the repertoire can be played without keys, you may find (as I do) that there are a few favorite tunes that are just too difficult to play at one's current skill level on a keyless flute without them. Or with the occasional note that can't be played at all, regardless of skill, like an Eb.

For example, with my current (and only) keyless D flute I can half-hole an F natural reasonably well if it's a note I'm "landing" on in a tune, or at a slower tempo, but not very well if it's in the middle of a fast sequence of notes. That's a technique limitation, but it does mean that there are tunes I'd like to play, but avoid for now. Like a whole bunch of reels in D dorian. Other tunes like "Crested Hens" I have to avoid, not due to poor technique but because I don't think that one signature Eb note is possible at all on this flute.

If it doesn't bother you to avoid a few tunes here and there, then this may not be an issue. My problem is that I've got a repertoire built up on mandolin before I started on flute, so I do get frustrated sometimes.

tstermitz wrote:
I recently acquired a keyed flute. I love the immediacy of a keyless flute, but if I were to go back, I would still want an Eb key. Probably also a G# key for A major. Of course, then you start back down that path, and you next want an F key... Personally, I could stop there because Bb is reasonable and C-nat is quite good with cross-fingers.

Some flute makers offer 4-key flutes, which is not a bad choice.

I've thought about that, to keep the cost down. I'd want an Eb and G# for sure, and probably the two Fnats. I'm conflicted about wanting a Cnat. The cross-fingered Cnat on my flute is pitched okay but it sounds a bit "fluffy" and would probably be stronger with keys. On the other hand, I like the direct finger contact on soundholes and would like to keep as much of that as possible. So maybe I could give up the Cnat.


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