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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:17 pm 
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Joined: Sat Apr 21, 2007 2:55 pm
Posts: 446
Location: BC., Canada
More balanced hold than "grip", Jim?

Best wishes,

Keith.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 4:31 pm 
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I think 'grip' is a term of art in Ireland. 'First you must learn the grip!' Holding flutes is an art, no question for me, anyhow.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2019 10:22 pm 
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Joined: Tue May 26, 2015 10:18 pm
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I'm three-plus years into my flute journey. I do recall having a few physical issues in the first year or so, which have eased with time. Maybe the remaining one is (after a few hours of playing) sore left knuckle where it presses against the flute. The Nicholson modification where the side of the flute is flattened seems appealing.

- Initial soreness came from a tight grip. Hand muscles gained strength and eventually learned to relax.
- Holding the arms and flute up for an hour or three never seemed to be an issue for me after the first year, although you would think this would be a problem.
- Keeping the flute position against the lips stable and un-moving. This takes time but eventually resolves itself.
- Immediate positioning of the flute at the correct location for good tone. Takes time.
- Right little finger got sore from pressing down and then later on, holding down the Eb key. This took more time than other things to improve.
- Posture. I don't recall issues with posture or back soreness - maybe a little. Looking at flute posture, it would appear to be less-than-ergonomic.
- My lips would get tired after a half hour - fine motor control would collapse and tone quality would go to hell. Eventually, my embouchure improved, then improved again, then went to hell because I got a new flute, then improved, then I had a huge break-through, went away, came back... etc. Quality and consistency take a long time.

I would review the hand hold that Terry McGee and Jem recommend for keyed flutes. You can grab an un-keyed flute almost any which way, but that will create bad habits to break if you ever get a keyed flute. Eb key, & Bb keys definitely require relearning your hold. I guess, you can cross that bridge if you get to it, but fore-warned is fore-armed. This took me a year or more of relearning, and my hold is much more relaxed now.

I highly, highly recommend an occasional class from a flute teacher. Classical flautist is fine, as the purpose it to learn embouchure control and tone. This is really the longest part of the flute journey. I've had major breakthroughs every other month of year 3, and I know I have yet more improvements coming.


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 12:37 am 
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Posts: 1478
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ChrisCracknell wrote:
How low a bass A flute do you mean? The A below the D of the normal D flute? If so, then I have one and they are not uncommon.

Exactly that one.... So they exist - I stand corrected, and thanks for that. I have to admit that until a few weeks ago I considered flutes to be 'out of my league' and as none appear in local sessions I have been fairly ignorant of them. The only reason I mentioned it was my current 'need' for that low A when playing along to some recordings by Phil Cunningham.

@JimStone & @tstermitz
Thank you for relating your experiences and for your advice. I find it reassuring and encouraging. I am seriously considering getting lessons though I may have to travel a bit to them. From what you say it may be better to choose a longer term flute first though once I have finished my initial experiments.

Of course, choosing a more long-term flute may be difficult. Probably keyless, probably delrin/acetal, possibly with option to retrofit keys? possibly with option to add a foot (extra low notes like C I am assuming). And then trying to get all that at a budget price. I am still open to suggestions though one of the makers mentioned above seemed like a good possibility. I might stretch up to 400gbp but the top of that would hurt a bit.

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Press any key to continue, any other key to exit.......


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 1:20 am 
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Joined: Wed Nov 22, 2006 9:05 am
Posts: 383
Location: Hamburg, Germany
You can see what Casey makes for a low A flute here: http://www.caseyburnsflutes.com/cat_low.php. Other makers do to.

They are a bit more tricky to play than the D, needing more, lower pressure air, so they are not what one would start with. Some time later and a few flutes down the line then one might think of picking one up as an additional flute.

The thing that I try to remember when playing the flute is that half of the playing is everything that happens in front of your lips and the other half is everything that happens behind your lips. (And the third half is the lips themselves :-)) Most people start by concentrating far too much only on what happens in front of the lip. This is not just about your attention and effort, but also about the fundamental way the system of flute+player makes and controls the sound.

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19th October, 2012:
Flute: Rookery
Flute: Musical Priest
Flute: Swinging on the Gate
Flute: Sally Gardens
4th June 2012:
Flute: Rolling in the Ryegrass, Green Gates
2 April, 2012:
Smallpipes: The Meeting of the Waters. Corn Riggs
Smallpipes: Mrs Hamilton of Pithcaithland


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 6:40 am 
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Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 549
I find it such a physically demanding instrument. I can have great tone, or at least good tone, for a while and then it all falls apart. I can get through one reel, but the idea of getting through three in a row seems as impossible as the idea of flying to the grocery store.

Back in December I posted a question as a complete beginner on flute and got some very useful replies:

http://forums.chiffandfipple.com/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=107764

I've gotten much better since then. Lots of practice, some days where I feel like I made three steps backward, but getting better


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 Post subject: Re: Beginner questions
PostPosted: Tue Aug 13, 2019 9:49 pm 
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Posts: 204
Quote:
The only reason I mentioned it was my current 'need' for that low A when playing along to some recordings by Phil Cunningham.


In the case of "Hut on Staffin Island". You can easily play "A F# D E with minimal impact on the tune.

For some reason folding just the A on other tunes doesn't disturb. I'm thinking of Martin Wynne's. Or the leading B on King of the Fairies. Your ear fills in what it expects.

The flute isn't a fiddle, so you aren't going to get those growly low notes like on Red Crow, but that tune is wicked hard, anyway. On the other hand, third register notes where fiddler's sometimes fear to tread are accessible... at least up to c, d and maybe e.


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