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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 6:52 am 
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Just wondering...on my travels to find "the" flute of my dreams, I came accross a Folkers and Powell baroque flute yesterday. Played it and thought "WOW"...I really love this flute", (then stifled a startled squeak when I realised it was nearly 2 grand :o
and wandered off to look at a 36 string harp at the other end of the shop!...but I'm getting side tracked now...)
What I'd like to know, is what is the difference between a baroque flute with an Eb key, and a modern Irish flute?...I know the pitch of the baroque flute can be a=392, 410 or 415, but apart from that, what's the difference? Seems pretty much the same to me.
C.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 7:12 am 
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A flute maker will go into more depth, but the biggest differences to me are volume, tone hole size, and bore size - all larger on the Irish flute. Other than those differences, they are very similar.

Eric


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:12 am 
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Hey Cass,

I think the Baroque flute maker Clive Catterall's website would be your best source for information. Here: http://www.flutes.fsbusiness.co.uk/index.html

He makes a Baroque flute, Folk Flute (Irish) and an Ordinary Flute (larger holes with the Eb key).

All the Best!

Jordan


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 8:26 am 
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Generally I second Jayhawk, with the following additions:

A Baroque flute is designed to play fully chromatically (all the semitones of the normal Western scale) through cross-fingerings and the use of the Eb key, and a good one will do so pretty well, though there are major issues of skill and practice to develop the embouchure flexibility to play with good intonation and reasonable tone strength on all notes as well as Classical standard fluency with the fingerings. Baroque performance practice is of course a huge field in its own right! A good instrument will not be lacking in volume and fullness of sound if well played, but for the reasons Jayhawk gave, it won't produce the kind of sound generally preferred for ITM, though ITM played upon it will doubtless sound very good! In the right hands, it can do many things that no other flute can do.

Always remember that a modern keyless flute sold as an "Irish" flute is actually a simplified, stripped down version of a C19th Classical 8-key "simple system" instrument, probably with some modification of tone hole size and placing (depending on the maker) to optimise its power and intonation in the home and near-home diatonic modes used in ITM. Some chromatic cross fingerings may work, but it isn't designed for that and some semitones will only be achievable by half-holing. It is really closer in many ways to being a side-blown low whistle. You certainly can't seriously try to play much of the Baroque flute repertory on one, whereas you can on an 8-key, if not exactly "authentically".

(In my opinion, the ommission of the Eb key is generally a mistake and a false economy. Having one won't make the flute chromatic, but venting it if you have it will help massively with the power and intonation of several notes, especially the problem low E. It doesn't matter how you reconfigure the holes, that note is bad without an Eb to vent. I think the ITM habit of not using the Eb key even if you have it chiefly arose from the tendency of some older players on period 8-key flutes to turn the footjoint keys away because either they weren't in proper repair or the touches for the low C and C# got in the way of chunky RH3 fingers! Younger players copied that and never developed the habit of "normal" use of the Eb key, and as the modern makers came along and started making keyless flutes, the whole thing got kinda ingrained..... Certainly if you do play an original 5, 6 or 8-key flute you really should vent that Eb as per the standard C19th fingering charts.)
Jem.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:17 am 
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Ta for all the info. If anyone's interested, have a look at all the beauties here...I was like a kid in a sweet shop!

www.e-m-s.com

I could have quite happily camped in this place for at least a week, and still have missed something! They don't sell Irish flutes, but since we're on the subject of all things Baroque...Fantastic shop!
C.


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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 10:13 am 
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You may find these interesting.

http://www.oldflutes.com/compare.htm

http://www.oldflutes.com/index.htm

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 11:21 am 
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In addition to what's been mentioned, Baroque flutes were not and are not standardized. I have two types, based on Grenser and Rottenburgh flutes both from around 1760. To play in tune with each other (or anyone else), they need to be lipped differently. Most modern Irish flutes are optimized to play in tune in D or G, with the only large differences in tuning among makers being the C/C# issue. Traversos have that, plus the F/F# issue -- on most flutes the difference with no lipping between the F and F# is maybe 20-30 cents. Some make the F# very flat to bring the Fnat into better tune, and on these flutes the more in-tune F# is actually XXX OXX(k). Other notes will vary, too, depending on the preferred intonation of the maker.

As with Irish flute makers, modern traverso makers have been known to correct some of these features, but many players prefer to have all the idiosyncrasies included. If you do decide to get one you might want to order directly from the maker and tell him how you'll use it and how you'd like it tuned. OTOH, it's really a blast figuring out all the nifty little gadgets you need to learn to play a one-key flute fully chromatically.

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PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2007 9:45 pm 
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I've got an old Folkers Baroque flute at a=415. Not much good for traditional music at that pitch BUT....

The one-key flute continued to be made and sold well into the early twentieth century! In general they were less expensive than models with more keys, and therefore would have appealed to players who didn't have a lot of extra cash, and those who were a bit old-fashioned.

The same phenomenon is found with other instruments, like five-key clarinets which you see for sale in the early Sears catalogs. The folks on the early clarinet list call attention to these on eBay all the time- the seller is usually claiming they're Mozart-era instruments! Any Baroque or early Classical 1-key flutes that had a pitch level close to the local standard were probably picked out of the same rubbish bin or curiosity shop that players got their obsolete 8-key flutes from.

There is a huge variety of sounds and design philosophies available with 1-key Baroque or Classical era flutes. Some were built with multiple joints that you could interchange for playing at different pitch levels. I've got a modern copy of an early 3-piece French flute at a=392-ish that plays a whole step below a=440 and has a huge boomy tone. If I can talk the session players around here to do a couple tunes in flat keys, I'll be all set! I usually play a maple 1-key flute that has an extra joint for a=440, and I think it holds its own quite well, though I like my other flutes better for style and tone.

Look up those "Flute Gods" / "Flute Geezers" files on the net and take a listen. Lots of different sounds and approaches.

There is even evidence for the 1-key flute being used for early barn dance and contra dance playing in America, even though you never see them today in an oldtime session. And you don't need all those keys to play tunes in Eb or E- just look up a copy of Quantz and practice, practice, practice.


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 3:35 pm 
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[Thread revival. - Mod]

I was interested in this post but as I am largely self-taught do not understand some of the terminology and acronyms

I have played a classical flute for a number of years but having always loved the sound of traditional Irish flutes recently bought a Casey Burns D Flute which I enjoy playing

As my Irish flute is in the key of D I've struggled to find many pieces to play which are more than 4 or 5 lines in length and with lots of repeats. I would also like to play other types of flute music with it but was wondering if a baroque flute would suit me for this purpose

Here's the rub....I don't understand and have so far in my playing had no need to understand - music or flutes which can be played chromatically, ITM, cross fingering, semi tone higher or lower, etc.

What I do understand is that with my Irish flute I can play pieces with 1 # or 2 #'s. If I bought a baroque flute which key signatures or type of music would the Eb key open me up to......or is it not that simple?


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 7:28 pm 
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Independence wrote:
Here's the rub....I don't understand and have so far in my playing had no need to understand - music or flutes which can be played chromatically, ITM, cross fingering, semi tone higher or lower, etc.

What I do understand is that with my Irish flute I can play pieces with 1 # or 2 #'s. If I bought a baroque flute which key signatures or type of music would the Eb key open me up to......or is it not that simple?


A keyless Irish flute in the key of D is based on the diatonic scale of D major: D E F# G A B C# D. These notes are obtained by closing all the holes (xxxxxx) and the lifting one finger at a time (xxxxxo for E, xxxxoo for F#, etc.).

A Baroque flute (traverso) will allow you to use cross fingerings, such as xxxxox for F natural, xxoxxx for G#, etc. See for example here. In addition, it has one key to play Eb, a note for which there is no cross-fingering available. With the help of the key and cross-fingerings, it is possible to play a full chromatic scale, i.e. the 12 semi-tones of the scale, going up the scale one semi-tone at a time: D D# E F F# G G# A A# B C C# D

The Baroque flute plays and sounds quite different from the Irish flute. If what you are interested in is the Irish flute, you're probably looking for a keyed Irish flute: 6 keys will allow you to play fully chromatically (with in-tune C's and C#'s) starting from low D. An 8 key flute will add two notes: low C# and low C.

On some flutes with large holes, it is possible to play some accidentals (notes which are not in the scale, e.g. Bb for D major) using half-holing. It's fine if you have a couple of accidentals here and there, but for anything serious you'll probably want a keyed Irish flute or a traverso.

Oh, and ITM = Irish Traditional Music

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 6:11 am 
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Blimey, I actually understand what you have written

Thank you for explaining so clearly


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 4:32 pm 
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in addition to Gwuilleann's excellent summary, most of the accidentals on a baroque flute are "veiled".

Unlike a fully keyed flute or even a recorder, in order to get (reasonably) in tune cross-fingered notes, the embouchure, bore, and holes are all small. This leads to the sound being much quieter than a modern flute, but also to incomplete venting of the cross-fingered notes. This gives those notes a sound that seems more distant than the notes of the D major scale. With many years of concentrated practice, a really good traverso player can get a pretty uniform sound from the instrument. But even then, the composers who wrote specifically for flute (Quantz and Frederick the Great come immediately to mind) actually used the unevenness of the notes to their advantage.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 23, 2020 5:04 pm 
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I think this is a nice summary of the evolution from rennaisance to baroque to romantic flutes:
https://youtu.be/UwrKzMJ60bM


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 25, 2020 10:23 am 
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Thank you everyone

That's been very interesting and most useful


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