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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 8:49 am 
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"It's an antique-style wooden flute, what orchestra flutes used to look like in the 1800s before the silver sticks were invented. Sometimes it's called an Irish flute because it got absorbed into Irish folk music for the past century or so."

That's not too much to say in response, and usually when people ask they are curious enough to be okay with a couple sentences. It includes enough information for them to know:

1. it's a flute,
2. it's an old type of flute,
3. it gets used a lot in Irish folk music.

That's enough for them to google if they're interested.

This is reminding me of a really neat conversation I once had with a TSA agent when I got taken aside and had my Copley swabbed because anything in a pistol case is going to get taken aside and swabbed. (And on the outside of that case, for the benefit of the TSA, I have a sticker that says THIS IS AN IRISH FLUTE, so I guess that's the 5-word distilled nomenclature for those who are too busy with other concerns to be curious. Explanations should ideally fit the context in which the question is asked.)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 10:15 am 
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JCortese wrote:
"It's an antique-style wooden flute, what orchestra flutes used to look like in the 1800s before the silver sticks were invented. Sometimes it's called an Irish flute because it got absorbed into Irish folk music for the past century or so."

That's not too much to say in response, and usually when people ask they are curious enough to be okay with a couple sentences. It includes enough information for them to know:

1. it's a flute,
2. it's an old type of flute,
3. it gets used a lot in Irish folk music.

That's enough for them to google if they're interested.

This is reminding me of a really neat conversation I once had with a TSA agent when I got taken aside and had my Copley swabbed because anything in a pistol case is going to get taken aside and swabbed. (And on the outside of that case, for the benefit of the TSA, I have a sticker that says THIS IS AN IRISH FLUTE, so I guess that's the 5-word distilled nomenclature for those who are too busy with other concerns to be curious. Explanations should ideally fit the context in which the question is asked.)


In the end, I guess it all depends on who your are talking to:

1) Someone musically-trained or knowledgeable may find "early-Romantic flute" quite informative and clarifying.
2) Someone not musically knowledgeable wouldn't probably appreciate so much information and would be happier with "old type of flute", traditional or Irish flute.
3) For a traditional musician, flute might be enough although s/he might ask whether Boehm or wooden.
4) Between people who play or intent to play this instrument, I think the term "Irish flute" should be aimed at clarifying that this is the style/technique being used (as in Irish and Scottish fiddle).

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 1:08 pm 
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Javier Vila wrote:
4) Between people who play or intent to play this instrument, I think the term "Irish flute" should be aimed at clarifying that this is the style/technique being used (as in Irish and Scottish fiddle).

I don't think there is any analogy there at all. I think you're making a logical error again. If it were analogous, we would describe the instrument that I started on in this music as the "Irish fiddle". We don't even use the term "Irish fiddle" for the music, let alone the instrument!

You've actually managed to provide a very good argument for not using the term "Irish flute".

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 2:32 pm 
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I can say that if I walked around telling people I play "the romantic flute" they'd look at me like I was a lunatic or soft in the head. In US vernacular English "romantic flute" just doesn't conjure up anything like what I'd want to convey :)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:01 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
We don't even use the term "Irish fiddle" for the music, let alone the instrument!

You'll hear it in the States. "Scottish fiddle", "Bluegrass fiddle", "Cajun fiddle", "Old Time fiddle", etc., are terms you'll hear as well. Fiddles being for the most part of a uniform type, such descriptors tell us the style of playing, and we don't think anything of it. We could use more words, but "Scottish fiddle" says it in a nutshell; no one would ever seriously think the instrument itself was meant. However, "Irish flute" is more problematic, because it carries both stylistic and, of late, instrumental meaning, and unfortunately it's usually hard to know which is meant or understood. If all flutes were the same, "Irish flute" would naturally only mean one's style.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 3:12 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
We don't even use the term "Irish fiddle" for the music, let alone the instrument!

You'll hear it in the States. "Scottish fiddle", "Bluegrass fiddle", "Cajun fiddle", "Old Time fiddle", etc., are terms you'll hear as well.

Well, there ya go. Maybe that's why there seems to be such a divide here on this thread. It looks to me (although I haven't counted) that people in the States find the term helpful and, by and large, with some exceptions, people in the UK and, more particularly, Ireland, don't. I've never heard anyone refer to stuff as "Scottish fiddle," for instance. Now, of course, you'll hear "Scottish fiddle music" but that's a completely different matter, and analogous to saying "classical fiddle music" (yes, fiddle players over here call their instruments "fiddles" even if they are classical players). In the case of "Scottish fiddle music" the adjective attaches to the word "music", with the word "fiddle" being an adjectival noun.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:01 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I don't think there is any analogy there at all. I think you're making a logical error again. If it were analogous, we would describe the instrument that I started on in this music as the "Irish fiddle". We don't even use the term "Irish fiddle" for the music, let alone the instrument!

You've actually managed to provide a very good argument for not using the term "Irish flute".


I have read and heard people talking about the Scottish fiddle many times over in Scotland, perhaps to differentiate it from the Irish style. Google search engine gives 28,300 hits for "Scottish fiddle music" and 186,000 for "Scottish fiddle". This article may also be clarifying https://www.sfcv.org/article/classical- ... nversation

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:10 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
I've never heard anyone refer to stuff as "Scottish fiddle," for instance.

When we had a new fiddler join our ITM sessions, her style and phrasing were noticeably different than we were used to, and it caused a bit of a stir. "Well, she plays Scottish fiddle, you know," was the whispered explanation; it was a statement indicating style, and it was true, for she's an avid student of Alasdair Fraser's. Scottish music is her jam, and it shows. But Scottish sessions hereabouts are like hen's teeth, so while it took some getting used to, we adopted her all the same and love her dearly, because when she shows up she's great craic. She provides crunch, like croutons in a salad.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:17 pm 
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Javier Vila wrote:
I have read and heard people talking about the Scottish fiddle many times over in Scotland

As a Scot in Scotland, I'd agree with that, and also that this description always refers to style rather than instrument. But 'Scottish fiddle', not 'the Scottish fiddle'.

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Last edited by Peter Duggan on Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:20 pm 
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Javier Vila wrote:
I have read and heard people talking about the Scottish fiddle many times over in Scotland

Have you? I must admit, that surprises me. I've played fiddle up in Scotland quite a bit, over many years, and I don't remember anybody referring to the instrument as "Scottish fiddle" and I don't remember anybody referring to the music that way either. As I said in another post, saying "Scottish fiddle music" is a completely different matter.

Javier Vila wrote:
Google search engine gives 28,300 hits for "Scottish fiddle music" and 186,000 for "Scottish fiddle". This article may also be clarifying https://www.sfcv.org/article/classical- ... nversation
[/quote]
OK. Apart from the title and one or two other references, just about every reference in that piece is to "Scottish fiddle music," which seems fair enough. I am surprised by the references to "Scottish fiddle," though, especially as the piece does come across as pretty well-informed, and it's just outside my experience to hear the phrase "Scottish fiddle". Apart from anything else, it makes no sense to me. There is, after all, no separate instrument called the "Scottish fiddle," just as there is no separate instrument called the "Irish flute".

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:21 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
Javier Vila wrote:
I have read and heard people talking about the Scottish fiddle many times over in Scotland

As a Scot in Scotland, I'd agree with that, and also that this description always refers to style rather than instrument. But 'Scottish fiddle', not 'the Scottish fiddle'.

Fair enough. I haven't come across it personally, except with the word "music" after it, as in "Scottish fiddle music".

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:23 pm 
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Nanohedron wrote:
She provides crunch, like croutons in a salad.

Best when not over-dressed, presumably ...

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:29 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Have you? I must admit, that surprises me. I've played fiddle up in Scotland quite a bit, over many years, and I don't remember anybody referring to the instrument as "Scottish fiddle" and I don't remember anybody referring to the music that way either.

I'd say not the instrument and not the music, but the style. They're three separate things, with the instrument being the instrument, the music what you play on it, and the style how you do it. Perhaps logically the combination of music and style, but never the instrument.

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Last edited by Peter Duggan on Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:32 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:31 pm 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
benhall.1 wrote:
Have you? I must admit, that surprises me. I've played fiddle up in Scotland quite a bit, over many years, and I don't remember anybody referring to the instrument as "Scottish fiddle" and I don't remember anybody referring to the music that way either.

I'd say not the instrument and not the music, but the style. They're three separate things, with the instrument being the instrument, the music what you play on it, and the style how you do it.

Ah. Right. Fair enough. Well, we've hit on something I can understand, at least! :)

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 15, 2020 4:40 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
She provides crunch, like croutons in a salad.

Best when not over-dressed, presumably ...


I´d like mine highly over-dressed please! :)

In the words of the "Scottish fiddle" player Alasdair Fraser: “We don’t really play notes; we play clusters of notes”. “We don’t add ornaments; they’re integral to each phrase and cluster, reflecting the language in which the melody is speaking.” (https://www.sfcv.org/article/classical- ... nversation)

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http://sites.google.com/site/ribasmusicos2/home2


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