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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:38 am 
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I would make an exercise of asking oneself what is the repertoire that you usually play, and what is the repertoire that you would like to play.
In my case, much of the repertoire I usually play alternates major and minor scales, accidentals or changes of scale in the same tune. In this case a keyed flute is the best choice.
If you hardly ever play repertoire with accidentals changes, it might not be so important to spend the extra money, or you might even prefer to have keyless flutes in different tonalities.
As mentioned before, It is also important to consider whether you are going to play alone or in a group of people and which tonalities are used the most.


Last edited by dres on Tue Apr 21, 2020 10:41 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 9:43 am 
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I went over to keyed flutes mainly because I wanted the ability to play accidentals clearly and cleanly. Eb and G# at first.

My repertoire did not include the key of C or F until after I bought a keyed flute. Then I found I really liked the sound of tunes in F, Dminor and Eminor. That does not mean that I can play very many tunes at session speed outside of G & D.

The biggest unexpected advantage I discovered was that by playing in other keys I was forced into learning a better hold - more relaxed and nimble.

I couldn't afford a new flute due to wait time and cost, so I bought an antique for the same price as a good (well-reputed) modern keyless. The cost of the antique flute is learning to deal with a few idiosyncrasies; once those are worked through, you can easily get a great 8-keyed antique flute in the $1,200 - 2,500 range.

Note that some modern makers replicate antique flutes so they retain some of the antique oddities (embouchure, tuning, venting), while other makers "fix" those issues. Sometimes the compromise loses playability in the third register. It is not easy to get a clear assessment of these decisions without talking directly to the flute maker.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 12:50 pm 
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Anyhow I do think that, over the decades, the most popular view expressed on these board is that if your whole concern is playing ITM on the flute, you don't need keys and they are nice to have.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:08 pm 
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Quote:
The fact that many musicians relegate a flute with these capacities to a niche is why I use the word 'ghetto.'

There's a much different connotation in using the word niche vs ghetto, which I would think you'd be aware.

It may be that the majority of people think keys are only nice to have, however some of us disagree. At the end of the day, the OP should decide if they need keys after they've figured out the sort of repertoire they want to have, which can only be done after they have a good amount of experience, such as through listening to a bunch of Irish traditional music.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:16 pm 
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Thanks to all! Well, to answer to the last question, I am a real beginner...I would say 6 months effective.
Thanks to your comments, now I've really understood the "role" of the keys :)


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:25 pm 
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I went with fully-keyed on the rather philistine basis that 1) I'm a gear head, 2) a complete array of keys looks good, 3) it's an attractive resale point to the right market, and 4) they keep your flute from rolling off the table. Once having them, though, they did not sit idle, for I found every opportunity and excuse to use them, and this within the Irish/Scottish tradition, which was my only real interest.

Ghetto ... what an unworthy choice of words.

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 1:47 pm 
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No offense intended. There is certainly enough great ITM to last most of us several lifetimes. I love ITM and I love flute and music in general (including ITM) more than ITM. I think the possibilities for wooden 19th century orchestral flutes are extraordinary and I'm sometimes sad they are not being more explored. For instance I played blues and Old Time for 30 years on guitar before I seriously played flute. If you look at OT in particular the ensembles largely include those instruments used in Irish music (guitar, mando, banjo, fiddle...). And our old flutes, which were designed to blend in (not soar above) the ensemble work wonderfully in OT. I have had leaders of OT sessions angrily threaten to throw me out when I took out a wooden flute. Genuine anger. They like it better after they hear me play. happily. Call it a 'lip fiddle,' they do. There is an idea I'm trying to express and I'm sure somebody can think of a way non-dismissive of ITM of saying it. As far as blues goes, I'm part of Clapton's band on Youtube, only he doesn't know it.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 2:48 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
I have had leaders of OT sessions angrily threaten to throw me out when I took out a wooden flute. Genuine anger. They like it better after they hear me play. happily. Call it a 'lip fiddle,' they do.

"Lip fiddle". I like that. I often called my cittern "the tunable spoons".

jim stone wrote:
There is an idea I'm trying to express and I'm sure somebody can think of a way non-dismissive of ITM of saying it.

Well, you're a proponent of playing as many types of music as one can, and that's laudable. The issue I sense is that due to your more expansive field of interests, you feel a certain amount of frustration with those who focus on specific genres, for it strikes you you as hidebound; "ghetto" expresses this quite clearly. "Niche" doesn't communicate this sense of frustration, and offhand I can't think of anything else that does, either. Maybe someone else has a bigger word-hoard.

My point is that it's probably better to remember that for those of us who focus on ITM and Scottish Trad, that world is vast in and of itself; the journey of deeply mastering and learning from it can be so rewarding that one may need little if any other sustenance. And I'm not proselytizing here, because it all rests on tastes and proclivities; it's not as if we're blind to what's out there. If Salsa were the resounding interest of this site, you'd still be in the same position.

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 3:20 pm 
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Ghetto has several meanings. I agree that the modern one comes to mind with some baggage, but aside from that it is an interesting word implying an insular or closed-minded community. In that sense, it does fit some people in ITM... not anybody on this board, I hasten to add!


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:06 pm 
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"Enclave", then?

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 4:49 pm 
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We tell the story where, through various historical accidents, the piano (when it becomes affordable) is picked up by jazz musicians and typed as a jazz instrument. Pianos always play jazz. I love jazz, but it would be a pity as there are extraordinary options. That in no way implies that there isn't enough in jazz to absorb a musical genius. Nor is it saying that each of us should play as many musical genres on the piano as we can. It's saying that, as piano is versatile and beautiful in many genres, it would be nice if they were explored. Suppose also that people in various non-jazz ensembles get mad when you try to add piano. One of the features of ghettos is that folks outside don't want you to come out.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 5:07 pm 
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If I may add two small points for keys.

The first is that keys can enable you to better control the tuning and sound of
notes without keys. For instance, venting the Eb key helps give one a brighter E. This
may come to matter one day, because over the years one comes to hear and even care
about such things.

Second, there may be something a little backwards about the strategy for a newbie of deciding upon one's repertoire and then deciding whether one wants keys. You may well go through some musical changes in the first few years and the presence of keys may seriously affect your future repertoire. There is something to be said for choosing (if one can afford it) what will maximize one's musical options, especially as keys will still be of use if you only play ITM.

If I had the money and really wanted to play flute, that's what I'd do. (Also decent keyed flutes sell well) That said I add that, given a choice for ITM between a good sounding keyless and a somewhat less good sounding keyed flute, I'd choose the former.


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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Tue Apr 21, 2020 6:33 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
It's saying that, as piano is versatile and beautiful in many genres, it would be nice if they were explored.

But we already have a number of people here who say that they don't play Trad, or they play other musics in addition to it, so I'm not fully convinced about what you say your drift is in bringing it up from time to time. You say you see specialization as an unfortunate confinement, but interestingly enough, this is consistently leveled at Trad players - in all fairness, our numbers make us a sensible target - even though you're courteous enough to try not to make it too obvious (and don't even think of accusing me of paranoia, Jim; it's hard for anyone around here not to arrive at the same conclusion :wink: ). But specialization and ghetto are strictly in the eye of the beholder, so what really needs correcting? As a parallel example, I am very much an Earthling and have no interest in space travel for myself. Certainly the experience would be broadening, but it is unnecessary. I am quite happy to look at the stars with my feet on the ground, so were someone to suggest I'm not living to my full potential until I had myself shot into space, I'd have to laugh. After all, how do they benefit from making my potential any of their business, other than having the satisfaction of leading someone around by the nose? I'm afraid I've gotten a bit too wily for that. When it gets to the point that new forays only serve to reaffirm one's real interests, the practice starts to have questionable value. If one thrives on eclectic variety, then by all means one should go for that. A flute is played just as well or as poorly whether the focus is broad or specialized; the flute does not care either way. That it is played is what matters - not what one plays.

jim stone wrote:
Suppose also that people in various non-jazz ensembles get mad when you try to add piano. One of the features of ghettos is that folks outside don't want you to come out.

To me the question is: Who is served by crashing the gates? This is not to say that one shouldn't experiment; it's saying that the social element has validity, and so does timing. You earned hostility in insisting that you deserve a place in an Old Time setting; while your persistence eventually got you accepted, and people may even be cordial, do you dare believe that, underneath, this acceptance is no longer grudging? Maybe that doesn't matter to you, but it would to me; breaking canonical norms of a session isn't same as working for social justice. But I have to pay tribute to your stubbornness; me, I don't stay where I'm not wanted. Beware, though, of thinking that in setting a precedent, it will necessarily stick.

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 3:45 am 
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The OP just asked why so many aspire to having keys, when just about everything can be played on keyless anyway.

I think the real answer is that it can make playing in some keys easier, but they aren't essential. :)

As for the ITM centricity of this website, I believe it was set up by someone who favoured that type of music.

Everyone else is welcome, whatever they play, (I don't play any ITM), just be aware of the fact that the majority here do play ITM, so it gets talked about the most. :D

Stay safe & healthy.

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 Post subject: Re: Keyed or keyless?
PostPosted: Wed Apr 22, 2020 10:37 am 
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I was here when we set up the flute board. There's no ITM rule. Obviously the spine of the wooden flute repertoire is ITM and so of course we will discuss and ask questions about ITM more than other styles. As to the OT groups I mentioned, the people who got mad (yelling angrily at me that they would throw me out) were old pals who knew me and got mad before they heard a note from the flute. After I attended a couple of times they were panting to have me return, they really liked the way old flutes sound in their ensembles. I don't think there is a rational reason why wooden flutes aren't played more widely in OT (though there may be historical explanations). We know that wooden flutes were popular in the USA and of course quite mobile back in the day when these tunes first came online, many of the tunes are crossover, and wooden flutes generally sound fine in OT ensembles for pretty much the reason they sound good in Irish ensembles (e.g. same instruments, often similar music) Probably many OT tunes were played on flute during the 19th century. A lot of people had chops from playing fifes in wars. I didn't crash anything and there was no rule I broke. People just knew in their bones that flutes have no place in American music ensembles, until they heard a flute in an OT ensemble. Let me suggest something's wrong here. (I'm less sure about blues, but my belief is that you can play blues effectively on any instrument on which you can wail. I'm waiting for an offer from Clapton.)


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