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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:16 am 
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Having missed Ben's Peeler fife, I bought a new standard model Bb.
People here have a lot more experience with fifes
than I do, so your advice is welcome. I'm experienced
on flute and not entirely unprepared and I believe some tuning
anomalies go with the design (military fife). I'm going to talk as
though it was a D flute. The low D is flat. I'm rolling the flute out
and trying to play on the edge, so as to include overtones from second
octave D and thereby bring the note up to pitch. What do you do?
The F sounds a bit flat, and I am rolling the flute out. The C natural is
a tad high and I am playing cross fingered with three fingers.
Any advice welcome. The fife is grenadilla, and I am sold on the stuff.
It sings, and there seems to be something beautiful in the fife, if I can
find it. Want to play Celtic music on it. Thanks


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 8:15 pm 
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I'm getting the impression the fife is pretty well in tune in the second octave,
and possibly the first octave is as it is to get there. Perhaps this is an instrument
meant to hang out in the second octave, mostly.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 9:47 pm 
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Probably true. Fifes are optimized for the 2nd and even 3rd octave. Some of them are AFAIK not even meant to ever be played in the 1st octave.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 20, 2021 11:25 pm 
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The Standard model is supposed to have a better first octave than the original,
so maybe there is hope. Terrifically healthy challenge to my embouchure.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 12:15 pm 
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Fifes are approximately 27 cents sharp, as used in today's American drumcorps. They're not meant to play in the 1st octave, although the notes seem to be like those on an Irish flute. Some Bb drumcorps fifes can do a better than others on the 1st octave and the tuning of the scale. On the fife, 2nd and 3rd octave are the focus for loud, outdoor parade music with drums. On the Irish flute (and D pennywhistle), the 1st and 2nd octaves are the focus.


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:03 pm 
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Thanks. I'm finding that the Bb fife (as well as the F flute) works well on Indian chants,
especially Krishna Das, 'Bernie's Chalisa.' Rather strange playing holy music on a military fife.

I wonder if the Cooperman two-piece Bb
fifes do better in the first octave?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 21, 2021 5:48 pm 
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Jim—

Sounds like what you are really interested in is a piccolo. They are designed to play in the lower two register as a high pitched flute, rather that in the upper registers like a fife.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 22, 2021 10:24 am 
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Just to say that I seem to be getting the fife in tune.
The remaining challenge seems to be low 'D' (Bb) but I am
closing on it. I've owned a Bb fife before, bought used, and
liked it. Sold it because I wanted a thumbhole. My L1 finger was
wonky but it isn't any longer, so I don't need one. I like the cigar
shape and the lightening fast fingering. Maybe I can use it busking, or
perhaps it will just get me arrested. Thanks to everyone for the
helpful posts.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 02, 2021 3:35 pm 
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Fife fingering is not the same as a flute.
Also, tonguing is required


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 1:23 am 
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True. And sometimes there is some confusion between the different terms fife, piccolo or band flute. But shouldn't a maker normally include a fingering chart with his instrument?


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 8:25 am 
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Sedi wrote:
True. And sometimes there is some confusion between the different terms fife, piccolo or band flute. But shouldn't a maker normally include a fingering chart with his instrument?


Yes, Ron Peeler usually does send a fingering chart.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 03, 2021 9:14 am 
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Or you could just Google (or the search engine of your choice) "Fife fingering chart" and there will be lots of images available....

Best wishes.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 05, 2021 8:20 pm 
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This may be bad advice, but I find that changing my embouchure a better choice than rolling.The Peeler is a straight bore and will have tuning issues for the typical scale, but will be in tune with a corp of other fiffers, or sound great on it's own if you accept it for what it is. It is a fife and not just a short flute, not a Bb band flute, not a piccolo, but that fife should be able to play a high note like a whisper in the third register.

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PostPosted: Sat Feb 06, 2021 10:20 am 
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jim stone wrote:
I wonder if the Cooperman two-piece Bb
fifes do better in the first octave?

I think in this case a used Healy fife would be a great option. Amazingly powerful and controllable through 3 octaves with a Boehm like tapered piccolo like head. Resale is usually poor because it fills a relatively small market which is why I mention "used".

Every time I pick up my Healy fife I think "this is absolutely beautiful" and set it down because I simply prefer the quirks of my Firth & Pond Peeler fife. This is why I also think it would be a good fit for you.

I'll also mention band flutes in Bb are out there, but at that point you need to learn about high pitch and low pitch and what you are looking for.

On a historical note the Venn diagram of fife and Irish music in the US overlaps quite a bit due to several reasons but it comes down to reenactment, tradition, and modern musical theory. Those 3 overlap, but at the same time certain tools are better suited for each category. Most fifes will be a compromise of reenactment and modern music tuning.

One last tip, try bumping up a half octave. Playing a tune in "G" is fairly straightforward and the military fife sits well in that range. You'll also find the tune carrying further.

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