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 Post subject: Re: Bansuri flutes
PostPosted: Tue Feb 23, 2021 4:31 pm 
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Joined: Mon Oct 12, 2020 10:03 am
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Sedi wrote:
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Just try playing some Mozart on a keyless Irish flute in E or B major scales.. it would be nearly impossible.. So yes, keyless Irish flute is a limited instrument.

Watch the video I posted, which proves that you can play fully chromatic on a tin whistle.


Sorry for the late reply. Some friends here had some extremely valuable input and also corrected some of my mistakes. My sincere thanks.

Yes I watched the video. And I also think that the guy has a rare talent. But in terms of musical quality, he can not play all those sharps and flats clearly enough.

I explicitly stated that half-holing is technically possible and do'able. But as mentioned, it is extremely difficult and not practical to learn playing the chromatic scale on a small holed flute, especially when there are so good keyed Irish flutes.

Besides its difficulty, shaps and flats does sound very weak and unclear on small holed flutes, no how much effort you put into it. Even with cross fingering, the color and strength of the notes change .

Bigger the holes, easier, more accurate and stronger sharps and flats. It is that simple. As long as you play with pipers grip on a large holed Irish flute, you can manage sharps and flats more easily.

Here is a random quena video, I did not search for it. There are thousands of chromatic quena and bansuri playing videos on youtube. The only problem is, most of these videos are not in English, so you may have difficulty finding them.

https://youtu.be/_5Eegi1skDQ

Especially pay attention to 1:22". The guy repeatedly plays A# by straightening the middle finger and you can see how easy it is.

Between 1:15"-1:20" and 2:45"-2:50, he is playing nearly the full chromatic scale, and that is impossible on a keyless small-holed flute, even for an extremely talented guy like the one you posted. More importantly, he plays each note clearly, strongly, and distinctly.

Here is an awesome example:

https://youtu.be/O_bDRiolSBw (MOZART FLUTE CONCERTO by an amateur bansuri player at home)
Absolutely no one can achieve such a skill on a small holed flute!


By the way, these guys are not master players.


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 Post subject: Re: Bansuri flutes
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 10:08 am 
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So -- I've been busy on the weekend making a new flute which is a bit better suited for chromatic playing. Works really great. But it might not be fair to compare it with "proper" Irish flutes with a conical bore. There are so many effects at work to make a half-holed note sound good. For example on the typical flutes the thick wall has a chimneay effect which can strenghten the note but at the same time make it more difficult to half-hole.
Of course it is no question that bigger holes make half-holing easier and sound better.
But I still disagree that half-holing and cross-fingering is difficult. A recorder player does it all the time. And I played ocarina before I started flute (again) -- on the ocarina there are many cross-fingerings for all the accidentals.
Sure, a quena or quenacho can be half-holed easier and will even sound pretty good for Irish music.
My goal however was to make a flute that will have the typical "reedy" sound and can be played chromatically at the same time. The easiest way would probably just to add a new hole for the pinky to play Eb. But that would be cheating.
So the flute I came up with works great for Irish music and can be played chromatically. The sound-quality of the cross-fingerings depends mainly on hole size but also on other aspects of the construction -- wall thickness, undercut on the holes, etc.
And another factor not mentioned so far is the stopper position. When changing the stopper position the sound quality and strength of different notes will also change -- even with the holes being the same size. That is because the standing wave inside the tube gets shifted.
So a stopper position a bit closer to the embouchure might strengthen the low Eb far enough to make it easier to half-hole.
Also I came across this page:
http://mfleck.cs.illinois.edu/flute-tips.html
Rather interesting as she notes that the typical Irish tutorial books are not well suited for chromatic playing since they don't even mention most of the fingerings needed.
And -- yes, of course this is all easier to do with a keyed flute, which is probably the reason nobody does it routinely. But where would be the fun in that :D . Besides, the lighter the flute, the better for longer playing. The flute I made weighs 182 grams.
The lowest hole is 8.5 mm which is probably bigger than on most normal flutes but still smaller than the lowest hole on my Qwistle low D.
I also ordered some new drill bits with 13.5 and 14 mm for the second lowest hole so I can move the lowest hole a bit further down and still be able to play the right hand fingerings with normal grip and not piper's grip (which I also often use anyway).
I learned Bourree in E minor, which works quite well. And I am currently learning a few other Bach tunes -- mainly "Minuet and Bandinerie".
Of course there are tunes that are quite hard -- like "Last Waltz" from the movie "Oldboy" -- a favourite tune of mine. It is originally played on clarinet in B. So there are some note changes from a half-holed F to a half-holed Eb. Quite tricky of course. But probably not all that much easier on a larger-holed flute. Just the change from one cross-fingering to the next can kind of mess with your head (and tie a knot in the fingers) :D .
But I have to thank all of you for the discussion and especially neyzen. If it wasn't for you I probably wouldn't have tried playing all that classical music I love (could have just used my boehm flute but I really dislike the construction, all those keys and that I cannot properly play Irish music on it, unlike some people who can, like Joannie Madden). The last few days were quite a musical journey for me. And a lot of fun. So -- I think it is a lot of fun playing chromatically on a keyless flute. Not really hard at all. Not harder than some other "normal" tunes I learned.
Oh, almost forgot -- this is the flute I especially designed. I made the hole #3 (from the top) a bit smaller to make it possible to cross-finger G# (still too sharp in the 1st octave however but works with a litte reduction of air-pressure or slight inward rolling of the flute). Half holing G# is easier however and will sound nicer.
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I can post a complete fingering chart for it, if anyone is interested.
However -- it is more or less identical with this one:
http://mfleck.cs.illinois.edu/flute-fin ... imple.html
And for the 3rd octave:
https://www.wfg.woodwind.org/tinwhistle/tw_bas_3.html

An interesting side-note -- German marching bands play 7-hole cylindrical chromatic flutes that are like a hybrid between a renaissance flute and a modern flute. But the fingerings differ a lot from a 6-hole flute or tin-whistle:
Something like this would be the equivalent to a normal D flute -- it is advertised as a "C" flute but the lowest note is actually D.
https://www.thomann.de/de/sandner_tenor ... _black.htm
Would be a cheap alternative to a baroque flute.


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 Post subject: Re: Bansuri flutes
PostPosted: Mon Mar 01, 2021 11:01 am 
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neyzen wrote:
Absolutely no one can achieve such a skill on a small holed flute!

Why? I think you have watched the video by Antoine Pihier? If you use words like "absolutely" and "no one" -- it is quite clear that you need just one person who can do it, to prove you wrong. It is like saying "there are no black swans". If I show you just one black swan -- you are proven wrong. I showed you the video by Antoine Pihier so your statement is already proven to be wrong. You just seem to ignore it.
You do know that the baroque flute (on which Mozart's flute music was originally played) is a small holed flute and except for the few notes involving the Eb-key all the rest is done with cross-fingerings. Cross-fingerings are actually easier than half-holing on a small-holed flute. And depending on the flute, rather well in tune.
Absolutely anyone can achieve such skill on a small-holed flute IF he practices to play that tune! Which is in D major -- a key not really hard to play on a normal keyless flute anyway. And absolutely everyone in Mozart's time did play this tune on a small holed instrument with cross-fingerings.
Take a look at the fingering chart for the baroque flute -- for most fingerings you actually don't need the key and the rest are cross-fingerings.
http://www.oldflutes.com/charts/onekey/
The baroque flute fingerings will work with most small-holed flutes, too with slight variations.

I respect your love for your instrument. Please respect however, when I say that cross-fingering is not AT ALL hard to do! That is a simple fact. Just ask a recorder player. Ask an ocarina player. Ask anyone who uses cross-fingerings if he or she thinks they are harder to do than "normal" fingerings. They are not harder to do. And if the holes are too big for the cross and forked fingerings -- half-holing will work. With a combination of both you can play almost anything on any keyless 6 hole instrument. How fast and how good is a matter of practice. BTW -- how good the notes sound is also mostly a matter of practice and not a given fact that is absolutely determined by the physics of the instrument.

Quote:
But no amount of practice will overcome genetics.

Of course it will. Ask anyone who plays professionally. Talent (if it exists) might account for 5 %. The rest is practice. And with practice you can overcome missing talent. You just need to practice harder.
You might not become a soloist in the greatest symphony orchestra maybe. But what are we even talking about? The question was if someone needs "talent" to play cross-fingerings or half-holings, which in itself is a ridiculous idea, sorry to say that. Unless you miss so much "talent" that you cannot even hit one hole on the flute correctly that is. In that case you might not wanna play the flute or whistle at all. If you can hit a hole correctly then you can learn to half-hole and cross-finger. Really no talent involved here. Just give it a try. It's loads of fun.
So -- just a little remark on this whole discussion. My point is not to prove anyone wrong -- my point is to broaden the perception of what can be done. Like "whistlecollector" has done for me on this very forum. At least I think he was the one who said the whistle is a chromatic instrument, while I was the one disagreeing. But I changed my mind. And that -- combined with this discussion here (and a bit of chromatic playing I have done before) -- opened up a whole lot of new possibilities.
Of course one could just buy a boehm flute and learn that. But like I said, where is the fun in that?
It's much more fun to explore the possibilities of a "limited" instrument and find out that it might not be as limited as one has thought. Like I did before myself.

Edit: I found the earlier discussion on that matter:
viewtopic.php?f=1&t=108459&p=1217339&hilit=chromatic#p1217339

And for everyone's delight:
https://youtu.be/I_tnrwgcfew

Edit again -- this might be interesting reading, too:
http://woodwindsresourcefile.weebly.com ... _flute.pdf
It concerns the problem of intonation and playing different keys on the baroque flute,


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