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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 5:02 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
Am interested to hear from members who have moved from Boehm flute to traditional Irish flute. What were the challenges of the transition if any and was it long before the same playing level, as with the Boehm, was reached.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 7:24 am 
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Not really on topic as I went from Irish wooden to Boehm, but I can share what I have found (going opposite to what you're looking for!). I find the Boehm "easier" to play, quite honestly, but I notice that my tone is darker on the Boehm than most of the other flute players I hear - probably because I blow "down" more than what would be considered normal for a Boehm player. In fact, I normally don't (or can't) go any flatter than having the headjoint all the way in on the Boehm. I DO like the sound I get out of both and play the wooden flute (a John Gallagher Pratten) exclusively with my ITM group (Gallowglass in Wheeling, WV) and I play the Boehm in my Catholic choir. The Boehm is a LOT easier to play flat key sigs, btw!

Vive la difference!

Pat

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 8:06 am 
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I wasn't very good on the Boehm, (only a beginner who lost his embouchure), but I find it easier not having to worry about all those keys on my keyless delrin flute, & I find that I am able to relax more, whilst trying to regain a good embouchure.

Funnily, I found playing a keyless ABS piccolo fairly easy; more so than my fife. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:40 am 
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As a Boehm flute playing teenager (over 45 years ago) I also took up playing simple system piccolo and found the adaptation to simple system fingering relatively quick and easy. It's a long time ago, but I seem to recall that I became almost equally fluent in both systems (at least in sharp keys) within a couple of months at most. I seem to recall reading (Bate's book on the flute?) that up to the 1920s it was quite common to find orchestral players using a Boehm flute and simple system piccolo and switching happily between the two. It helped that nearly all the music that I was playing was in sharp keys - flat keys are definitely easier on a Boehm than on simple system.

I'm assuming that your Boehm flute has the usual closed G# rather than an open G#, so that your left hand little finger doesn't have to do anything different between the two flutes. I've found switching between open and closed G# the most difficult thing to do in playing different fingering systems.

I suspect that with age I've become less adaptable than I was as a teenager. I've become sidetracked by 1867 system flutes (with open G#) and found that it took some time to become fluent with the 1867 fingering, the biggest problem being the open G#. Having successfully made the transition, I now find that I've lost fluency in both Boehm and simple system fingerings.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:42 am 
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I've never played Boehm but have taught a number of people who either wanted to play Irish music on Boehm-system flutes or who were switching from Boehm to simple system.

It depends on what kind of music you want to play, but if you're playing traditional Irish music I think by far the biggest challenges in switching are not with respect to the flute itself but rather with "unlearning" classical techniques and replacing them with traditional approaches to ornamentation, phrasing, and articulation.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:43 am 
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bradhurley wrote:
... if you're playing traditional Irish music I think by far the biggest challenges in switching are not with respect to the flute itself but rather with "unlearning" classical techniques and replacing them with traditional approaches to ornamentation, phrasing, and articulation.

This is the biggie. Any embouchure work, theory (and, to a rough extent, fingering) from the Boehm is going to be helpful. Differences include finger vibrato vs. throat vibrato, blowing down more into the flute, no/little tonguing, and use of finger articulations.

May I suggest my CD series (see my signature) for a partial listening education in the stylistic differences?

Free sound samples on CD Baby.
Volume 1 is at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/woodenflute
Volume 2 is at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/woodenfluteobsessionvol2
Volume 3 is at https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/woodenfluteobsession3
(or buy direct, of course).

Apologies to the forum for the embedded advertisement here.

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http://www.worldtrad.org


Last edited by kkrell on Fri Nov 16, 2018 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 15, 2018 12:25 pm 
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There is a wide variety of approaches to the embouchure among traditional flute players, but most players use a tighter, less relaxed embouchure than is common with today's players of the Boehm flute (playing classical music). Look at youtube videos to see.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 16, 2018 3:41 pm 
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bradhurley wrote:
I've never played Boehm but have taught a number of people who either wanted to play Irish music on Boehm-system flutes or who were switching from Boehm to simple system.

It depends on what kind of music you want to play, but if you're playing traditional Irish music I think by far the biggest challenges in switching are not with respect to the flute itself but rather with "unlearning" classical techniques and replacing them with traditional approaches to ornamentation, phrasing, and articulation.


I played Boehm as a kid and semi retired before I started playing simple system flutes at age 42. The cobwebs in the back of my brain were loose enough to dislodge some basics. The unlearning of the classical stuff such as trills and vibrato and tonguing will take some retraining.

Listening to good players and getting a teacher that knows the Irish traditional playing style will be helpful.

Now that there are so many opportunities to view videos on YouTube you can immerse yourself in "the old guys" more easily than 30 years ago. Those young bucks like Matt Molloy were all folks were able to easily find on LPs and Cassettes in the 70s. You had to dig pretty deep to find some Peter Horan or John Mckenna. Shannon Heaton is a Trad player in Boston who made the switch. She played the silver flute through college and possibly still does, but she is known for her Irish Trad playing and teaching. She was my first teacher and delineated the differences well in our lessons. She's got a number of videos out on YouTube, but I don't know if she addresses this subject in any of them.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2018 3:37 am 
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One thing I find helpful nowadays is keeping the instruments separate in my head. The wooden flutes get used for Traditional music and the Boehm for Classical. That also makes it easier to track the stylistic differences in the genre of music you want to play - you don't find yourself slipping into inappropriate habits that work in one genre but not in the other. Klezmer is a bit of a toss-up at the moment, but it will probably settle onto one of them. I have almost no pieces that I regularly play on both.

As an aside, the C thumb hole on a wooden simple system flute is an option that makes the C sharp/C natural work the same way as on a Boehm flute. But it limits your options when trying out other people's flutes. I like and use it and all other fingerings (oxx ooo, etc) on the flute remain the same if you just keep it closed. YMMV. And it is much cheaper than a C natural key. Work with the maker to get it in the right place. If you go this way, ask for details.

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