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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:07 am 
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Hey folks,

i am a beginner on the flute and have a Tipple PVC flute since some time. Albeit i like the Tipple flute, i want to upgrade to a woodn flute. My budget is good enough for a keyless by one of the well recommended makers (bood not big enough for a keyed one). The point that i am not sure about is the (tonal) key of the flute. My Tipple is in D and there are plenty of lovely tunes to be played in that key. But every now and then i "fall in love" with a tune that i hear, which includes a bottom C as note or it is a tune played with a flute in the key of C (is that the same?), like "May it be" played by Eimear McGeown (when i looked up the music sheet of May It Be i found that it starts with notes even below the C, how can she play the tune with a flute in the key of C then? You can find the tune i talk about on Martin Doyle's page.).
The question is, what key do i need to play these "C-Tunes"? Or is "C-tunes" a to general description? And does a flute, suitable for such tunes, limit my access to other tunes significantly?

I hope my question is understandable and someone ahs some helpfull information for me.
Thanks in advance,
Peter.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 3:26 am 
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Hi Pjotre and welcome to the forums!

Here's Eimear playing the tune. I have found some sheet music online that shows the tune written in A. However, in the linked video Eimear is playing it in C on a C flute. But you could just as easily transpose it up to D. I would suggest that, for your first wooden flute, it would be far more useful to stick to the key of D, rather than get one in another key. It's the most useful key for Irish music at least, and, by the time you've learned how to master it, maybe your budget will stretch to buying another in another key. But I would also suggest that there's no hurry to do that, and a great many flute players don't ever have, or play, a flute in any other key than D.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 4:16 am 
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Thank you for the answer,

Pjotre wrote:
But you could just as easily transpose it up to D.


Transposing means shifting every tone of the tune by the same number of halftones, right? To be honest, i know the basics of reading tones and tried to transpose a simple tune myself some time ago, but i failed miserably. Musicnotes.com does it for me. But it is for the Piano i think: There are some places, where tow or three tones are played at once, which is done on pianos i think (triad?). Which of the two/three tones do i play on the flute?
Best,
Peter.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 8:45 am 
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D by all means D. That is if your goal is to play traditional Irish music. You will be able to play in most keys that are used in Irish traditional music.

Yes, you will be limited to your bottom note being D on a keyless instrument. Eventually, should you choose to get a 8 keyed flute you will be able to play that low C. But most players just jump an octave or play a note that harmonizes with the C when they come to a tune that requires notes lower than their bottom D.

There is also the option of transposing a favorite tune to a key more easily played on your D flute.

The great majority of the tunes you will play if you are playing Irish traditional music would be much harder on a flute in another key.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 9:26 am 
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Agree with the others, especially for ITM, & as your Tipple is in 'D', you will progress easier by sticking to a 'D'.

Transposing those tunes that do not fit easily on it is the way to go.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:16 am 
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Pjotre wrote:
Thank you for the answer,

Pjotre wrote:
But you could just as easily transpose it up to D.


Transposing means shifting every tone of the tune by the same number of halftones, right? To be honest, i know the basics of reading tones and tried to transpose a simple tune myself some time ago, but i failed miserably. Musicnotes.com does it for me. But it is for the Piano i think: There are some places, where tow or three tones are played at once, which is done on pianos i think (triad?). Which of the two/three tones do i play on the flute?
Best,
Peter.

Apologies for this, but my answer is going to seem a bit of a lateral leap ... Particularly for simple tunes like this one (May It Be), it would be much easier to try and learn the tune by ear. Can you already sing the tune to yourself? If not, play the thing everywhere you can - in the car, in the house, while you're doing other things - until you can remember it enough to be able to sing it. Then, you should find it relatively straightforward to play the tune by ear on a flute of any key, with the clue being that the first note is the bottom note of the flute (whatever flute you're playing at the time). That way, you don't have to worry about transposing.

If you want to play along with Eimear, maybe another suggestion might be to buy a tin whistle in C. Whistles are cheap, and that way, you would already have the fingering for the tune. Then just play that fingering on your D flute and the tune will magically be already transposed into D.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:18 am 
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... by the way, I can't answer your question about which note of a chord (which may be a triad) to play on flute without seeing the sheet music. It's not a question which is capable of being answered.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 10:59 am 
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And there are apps/programs ([i]e.g., [i][Transcribe) that will transpose recorded music up or down to a key you find fits your instruments.

Should you be using abc format for the tunes, http://www.franziskaludwig.de/abctransposer/ will do the transposition and then you can convert the abc's to conventional notation at https://www.mandolintab.net/abcconverter.php

Best wishes.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:08 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Then, you should find it relatively straightforward to play the tune by ear on a flute of any key, with the clue being that the first note is the bottom note of the flute (whatever flute you're playing at the time).

True of this tune but, since Ben also said 'Particularly for simple tunes like this one' (my emphasis), note that not all tunes start on the key note.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 12:49 pm 
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Learning a tune by ear and transposing it at the same time may seem daunting at first, but the more you teach yourself to play by ear they easier it will be. For some of us it comes naturally. I was "fired" by my piano teacher when I was 9. She told my mother that she couldn't figure out how to teach me since I mimicked her perfectly but couldn't read the music. For most people it is a bit more difficult since most people learned to read music and play it at the same time. But if you can sing along with a song you hear, you are well on the way to learning to play your instrument by ear.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 28, 2019 2:07 pm 
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first of all, thanks to everyone for the help and information.
I will stick with the key of D. Seems to be reasonable.
learning a tune by ear is very difficult for me. It will be a long road.
So far i rarely recognise a certain tone and have to search on my flute until i found the one that matches what i hear in the song/tune (if i find it at all, ornamentations make it really difficult). I guess that will improve with time.
However, thanks again.
Best,
Peter.


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