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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 3:18 am 
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Location: Aberdeen, Scotland
What would a "Scottish" flute need ? A great big f##**n' G# key :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 5:08 am 
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Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 6:54 am
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Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
Came across this by accident while looking for books on flute history:

https://www.amazon.de/Scotland-Sixteent ... 36&sr=8-10


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 10:08 am 
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Just recently published. A bit pricey for me at the moment, but I have heard good reports. Elizabeth was a guest speaker and performer at one of our Edinburgh "FluteFlings" a few years back. She knows her stuff.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 23, 2020 11:15 am 
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Location: Kinlochleven
Ooh, I want that! Wonder whether it'll ever come down much? (Many specialist books just don't.)

Only thing to note re. 'Scottish flute' discussion here is that its subject matter predates the kind of (19th-century-inspired) flutes we're probably discussing. Unless anyone's 'ideal Scottish flute' is actually an earlier type?

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PostPosted: Thu May 07, 2020 2:43 pm 
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How to play Scottish trad on a wooden flute is something that I’ve spent a bit of time thinking on over the years, chatting to other flute players and trying to get to grips with. Personally I’m not sure that the flute itself is the biggest factor - as long as it is a responsive and agile over the full 2 octaves. Preferable (but by no means necessary) is a fully keyed - if you want to be able to play the full repertoire of Scottish trad in their original keys, including the fiddle tunes in A, F, Bb, Gm etc, then you have to get used to clattering the silver. To me the bigger factor is the human element - developing technique that will allow you as a flute player to play the music in a style that reflects the tradition. To find ways to emulate (or perhaps that should be echo) fiddle, piping and singing that give Scottish trad its unique sound and feel. For those more used to the more fluid and rolling Irish styles of music and playing, the more jagged, mountainous terrain of pipe marches and Strathspeys can be challenging. I kinda agree with Conical Bore that the attack is one thing you need to address. And that is down to articulation - by which ever method you choose and is required by the tune. For me it’s a mix of tonguing, breath control and fingered ornamentation. And after that by just letting go and getting stuck into the spirit of a tune – particularly the wilder Strathspeys which, if you choose to explore the latent energy contained within them, are to my ears, on the punk edge of trad.

There are not that many wooden flautists seriously playing trad Scottish ……… so was disappointed to hear that Calum Stewart was drawing back from flute to concentrate on the pipes. I spoke with him last year when he was here for a gig about his playing. His view was there was nothing intrinsically different to playing Scottish tunes on the flute –to him it’s all just about good technique. That and really listening to other instruments (particularly the fiddle) and trying to capture the essence of what they are doing by being creative with what the flute is able to do.

Would be really interested in hearing other people’s experiences and thoughts on playing Strathspeys. What do you find are the main challenges? How do you get round the difficulties? Any favourites?


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