It is currently Wed Oct 28, 2020 11:20 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 
 Post subject: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 1:54 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 30, 2019 2:57 am
Posts: 22
Location: Milan, Italy
If all say that the 90% of the Irish tunes are playable on keyless flutes, why all want a keyed flute? I'm asking because I'm very close to ordering a Solen Leseouf and I'm thinking to a keyless flute. But every flutist I see online has a keyed one. But, again, Terry McGee and Martin Doyle (and others as well) declare it's not necessary.
I'm a bit confused...


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:09 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 1012
I dream of a keyed flute because then theoretically I could play any tune, in any genre, and because I could add variety and color to my playing. But I’m not really good enough to merit the cost and likely never will be. If I hit the lottery I’ll order a keyed flute


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:42 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16940
Gee there's a lot of music other than ITM. And the Irish flute can play such music beautifully. So the keys are helpful if one isn't going to live in a musical ghetto.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:47 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Tue Jun 26, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 2026
Location: Detroit, Michigan
I'm not sure it's quite as high as 90%, but for sure you can play a ton of tunes without keys. The only way to pick if you need keys or not is to listen a ton to a lot of Irish traditional music. If you hear stuff that you want to play that needs keys, then you should get them. If you don't, then don't get them.

I personally love Paddy Carty, and I love Ed Reavy and Paddy Fahey tunes (amongst others), so I got keys.

Personally, I don't think Irish music is a "ghetto" at all, and I also don't see the need to look outside of Irish traditional music for a need to have keys. The need exists within the tradition.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 2:54 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 964
Location: New Hampshire, USA, or Co Clare...
I have been playing the flute for over 35 years. I love my keyless flute and I love my keyed flute. I love being able to play A tunes with a clear G#, and to play G minor tunes with a clear Fn. These notes can be played on a keyless flute, but they will sound a bit veiled. I use all six keys on my flute at one time or another. I have had eight-key flutes but never felt the need for -- or comfortable using -- the low C and C#.

If you don't care about using accidentals and about playing tunes in keys which use notes difficult to manage on the keyless flute, then keys won't matter. I take my keyless flute to a local session where I know that 99% of the tunes will be in G or D and related minors. For the odd tune in A or F I can fake it. For a more advanced session I take my keyed flute. My fiddle background makes me appreciate a keyed flute when playing tunes in F or having a handy Bb or Eb when I want those notes. Order the keyed flute if you can afford the extra cost.

If money is an issue, start with a keyless and see how you feel about playing tunes other than D, G, and Bm and Em. Best of all, look to the time when you can have two flutes - because my final advice would to have both and not exclude one or the other.

_________________
Freedom is merely privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all. The Internationale


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:08 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Jun 30, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 16940
Right. But there's also blues and rock and roll and jazz and ballads and Klezmer and middle eastern tunes and lots of Bach and...There seems to be a strange phenomenon. Either one plays ITM or something else Celtic on the wooden flute, or one plays the non-Celtic tunes on a Boehm flute or not on flute at all. In fact, the wooden flutes sound brilliant on blues and rock n'roll and jazz and ballads and Klezmer and middle Eastern music, and I think they often sound better on a wooden flute. The fact that many musicians relegate a flute with these capacities to a niche is why I use the word 'ghetto.' No offense intended, but it seems to me we we are leaving a lot of music out without really thinking about the options, which (for wooden flutes, anyhow) are extraordinary. A wonderfully beautiful instrument, capable of most anything, is relegated to a fragment of world music, largely (I think) because that's just the way it's happened historically. I wholly take the point that keys are sure nice to have if one is going to play ITM only. And that ITM on flute is terrific, as is ITM in general. Nor do I think people who buy flutes only for ITM are making mistake. It's a bit like we automatically played piano only for boogie woogie. Nothing seriously the matter and gee there are some interesting options.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:20 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 7598
Location: East Coast US
As far as I'm concerned, there are three reasons not to get keys:

They're expensive.

They add weight.

You're really really sure you'll never want them, either because you won't ever need them or you don't think you'll bother to learn to use them.

They're all valid reasons. I play mostly one-key and keyless for reason #2. My hands are a mess. But whenever the Olwells tell me my C foot joint is ready, I'll be playing a lot of 8-key. There are lots of tunes that I want to play that use the low-C.

_________________
Charlie
Whorfin Woods
One cat short of crazy.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:34 pm 
Offline

Joined: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:47 am
Posts: 937
Location: Surrey/Hants border, England
I choose to play keyless folk flute, having had a Boehm before, it is easier in the main, as most of the tunes I play don't need keys. :thumbsup:

_________________
Keith.
Trying to do justice to my various musical instruments.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:39 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sun Mar 25, 2018 5:40 am
Posts: 1012
I also bought a good inexpensive used Boehm flute. I mean all the keys you'd ever want, and there are many genres for which it's ideal. You can get an excellent Boehm flute for a fraction of the cost of a keyed Irish flute


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 3:43 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Jul 19, 2008 10:15 am
Posts: 964
Location: New Hampshire, USA, or Co Clare...
Jim-- "a fragment of world music".... LOL. Tell that to Matt Molloy and see how far you'll get. Talk about spreading yourself way too thin. I don't know of a single person who plays in all those genres that you mention and plays them with the least bit of real competence. Playing ITM well is enough for me.

Chas-- if you can't handle the extra few ounces of key weight then you have some real problems. And if your hands are a mess now, how will playing an eight key help that issue, much less the weight problem? I play plenty of tunes that indicate a low C/C# and I have always been able to fold those low notes -- and other low notes down to low G on the fiddle -- into the tune with no problem. Again, if six keys are good enough for Matt Molloy, Catherine McEvoy, and countless other top players, they're good enough for me.

This is an endless debate so I will yield the floor.

_________________
Freedom is merely privilege extended, unless enjoyed by one and all. The Internationale


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 4:04 pm 
Offline

Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 9:47 pm
Posts: 85
Julia Delaney wrote:
Jim-- "a fragment of world music".... LOL. Tell that to Matt Molloy and see how far you'll get.


With all due respect ITM is a fragment and not the whole.

Julia Delaney wrote:
Talk about spreading yourself way too thin. I don't know of a single person who plays in all those genres that you mention and plays them with the least bit of real competence. Playing ITM well is enough for me.


You've introduced "the least bit of real competence". Why unqualify those of us less than stellar yet happy amatuers just enjoying their tunes?


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 6:41 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
Posts: 343
Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Are there tunes you love that will be easier with keys, or that really need keys to be played at all? For me, that's the only criteria for keys vs. no keys. Work backwards from the repertoire you want to play.

The decision about keys or no keys was maybe easier for me, because I played Irish and Scottish trad on mandolin for almost 10 years before picking up flute. That meant I already had some tunes under my fingers with tricky accidentals, or in unusual keys. Not the standard session fare, but tunes I still enjoyed playing like the J.B. Reel, or the Galway Bay hornpipe played alone at home, or with my fiddler Significant Other. With the mandolin background, I hadn't been avoiding the non-flute-friendly tunes.

I started on a keyless flute just because I wasn't sure it would stick. Once it "stuck," I moved to a keyed flute. I still have trouble with the more difficult tunes like Galway Bay, and it doesn't let me play every tune on flute I can play on mandolin, like some of the Cape Breton stuff that goes all the way down to the open G string on a fiddle or mandolin. But I wanted at least the option of being able to play a few of these non-session tunes at home that I enjoy.

So to recap my personal experience and thoughts about it -- yes it's true that you can probably do fine in your local Irish or Scottish trad session with a keyless flute. If you go further afield into "personal favorites," then you may appreciate having keys on your flute. Let your repertoire decide the matter.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:05 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sun May 01, 2016 6:54 am
Posts: 706
Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I think, if I'd ever really venture into classical music (which I only do very little, like "Air on G string" from Bach, which works just fine on a keyless flute), I'd get a baroque flute with just one key. Basically, the only note for which a key is really needed is the Eb in the first octave. It can be half-holed in the 2nd octave quite fine (might depend on the flute though). I do play a little jazz on my keyless flute ("Take 5" for instance) and some stuff would work fine with half-holing or cross-fingering, depending on the flute. Bigger holes are easier to half-hole. So I'd go for a keyless pratten style model. Maybe with just the most necessary keys. Like the Eb.
The reason for more keys is a more even sound of course, as some notes will sound weaker when cross fingered or half-holed. That and the volume was the whole reason keys were added, as far as I know. I do have a boehm flute as I did play a little, when I was younger but I much prefer a keyless flute. The weight would also be an issue for me as I type a lot on the computer for a living. The less strain on my fingers, the better.
Since the question of the type of music you play on flute came up. A basic six hole flute exists in many cultures. So all that music could be played besides ITM. Like the "Schwegel" in Bavaria and mainly Austria, a wooden six hole flute. Or the "Shinobue" in Japan with 7 holes (but basically plays like a 6 hole flute). Or the quena, which plays very similar to a flute. I think every flute player could play it.
Oh, and one video I just love to link to, when it comes to which music one can play on a keyless six hole instrument: https://youtu.be/eOmba730e0A


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 7:53 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Oct 10, 2001 6:00 pm
Posts: 7598
Location: East Coast US
Julia Delaney wrote:
Chas-- if you can't handle the extra few ounces of key weight then you have some real problems. And if your hands are a mess now, how will playing an eight key help that issue, much less the weight problem? I play plenty of tunes that indicate a low C/C# and I have always been able to fold those low notes -- and other low notes down to low G on the fiddle -- into the tune with no problem. Again, if six keys are good enough for Matt Molloy, Catherine McEvoy, and countless other top players, they're good enough for me.


Oh, geez, David, I'm not saying it will help my hands, just that it will help my playing a low C. I certainly won't be using the 8-key exclusively, not even close, but there are some tunes and pieces I really want to play with low C's. I play some classical music, and folding isn't a thing there.

_________________
Charlie
Whorfin Woods
One cat short of crazy.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Mon Apr 20, 2020 8:31 pm 
Offline

Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 8:06 pm
Posts: 632
Marish wrote:
If all say that the 90% of the Irish tunes are playable on keyless flutes, why all want a keyed flute? I'm asking because I'm very close to ordering a Solen Leseouf and I'm thinking to a keyless flute. But every flutist I see online has a keyed one. But, again, Terry McGee and Martin Doyle (and others as well) declare it's not necessary.
I'm a bit confused...



It depends on what you want to do and how much money you can part with.

You can play the great majority of Irish Trad without keys. But keys are nice if you want to play in A or F. And tunes that go down to C will have you octave jump if you don't have keys.

Since you are asking the question I have a question for you: How long have you been playing and are you happy? If you want to stick to ITM you could go either way. I've known some great session players that have played keyless for decades. But if you want to branch out and experiment with Jazz, classical or church music, keys could be nice. And then there is that moment in a session when a singer wants accompaniment in their favorite key Bb...

I had a keyless for a couple of years, then moved to a 5 key, then a 6 then an 8 over a period of 6 years. I am glad for the keys I have, but use them seldom in ITM. Depending on the session you play in you could easily go for hours without the need for keys, or just skip that occassional G# if your not playing a solo. :D


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 46 posts ]  Go to page 1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 19 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.077s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)