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fifes in sessions
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Author:  gemm84 [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 11:40 am ]
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Just wondering, are fifes used at all in sessions, or are just the larger wooden flutes usually used? I just bought a fife the other day.

Author:  Mal [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 12:44 pm ]
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A fife is just a small flute, so one can play anything on it that can be played on a keyless flute.

The problem is that military fifes are pitched to B-flat, and it is very difficult (to put it mildly) for to play a six-hole B-flat instrument at the correct pitch in the keys most commonly used in Irish music, which are most easily played by instruments pitched in D.

That pretty much wipes out B-flat fifes as session instruments, however I think there are so-called folk fifes pitched in other keys that might be more compatible, but I doubt that this is what you have.

Interestingly, the piccolo, which is an even smaller flute than the fife, was once quite popular among Irish musicians, but passed out of favor for some reason. Hammy Hamilton, one of the most respected Irish flute makers, and also a maker of fifes and piccolos, predicts on his website that the piccolo will make a comeback someday.

Mal

Author:  eskin [ Tue Mar 19, 2002 2:49 pm ]
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Yamaha sells a plastic fife tuned as a soprano recorder, uses recorder fingerings and could, in theory, be played in a session as effectively a piccolo in D. I picked one up while in Tokyo for about $10.00. Pretty loud, and the recorder-based fingerings are a pain compared to the whistle.

Author:  michaelS [ Wed Mar 20, 2002 9:50 pm ]
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I find the Yamaha fife pretty handy. I keep in in my car and use it when I want somthing small to carry around. I don't like the recorder fingering, so I attacked it with my drill, altering the F hole so that it sounded F# (that is, I enlarged the hole the right hand middle finger covers, extending it in the direction of the embouchure hole). It looks a bit fuuny, but it plays OK, in tune and quite loud. It is the best S$7.23 I can remeber spending!!

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: michaelS on 2002-03-20 22:50 ]</font>

Author:  RudallRose [ Thu Mar 21, 2002 10:19 am ]
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occasionally i bring my fife to the session.
and I'm always sure to tell people to plug their ears before I start to play :smile:
The guitarists love it, though....chance to play in different keys.
But there are "fifes" in the key of D, which is essentially a piccolo (but without keys).
I believe Skip Healy even makes one.
Basically, they are in the same octave as a pennywhistle, but played as a flute with that nice woody sound. Great fun. I use one of my own (a Seaman two-piece in D) on stage occasionally.

Author:  selkie [ Thu Mar 21, 2002 12:14 pm ]
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I play the whistle at our session and Highlan Cathredal in the key of D however the fife I play stating on G so often get confused as especailly as the fife is overblown an octave higher. I do take my white fife to sessions as the white one is easier and not so loud to me. I can get the bottom C which our music maestro seems to love. grrrrrrrr.

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