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PostPosted: Tue Sep 27, 2011 11:11 pm 
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So I've been playing with some Sopilka (technically they are Dentsivka) for a while and am having one issue.

I am wondering what the "proper" way to play the right hand thumb hole is. The issue is because it has the typical eastern european, fipple window on the bottom configuration, you don't have a lip on top of the flute. So, when you are pressing down with your right hand first and second fingers and remove your right thumb, there is nothing to stop it from pivoting on your left thumb and moving away from your mouth.

To get around this so far, I have been sliding my right thumb off of the hole instead of lifting it, so I can maintain upward pressure. I've tried rolling one way or the other, but it feels awkward and sometimes my thumb fails to clear the hole and the note is flat. Neither of these methods seems to work well for fast passages and both result in small unwanted slides, so I am wondering if there is a better way.


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:40 am 
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I've never played one, or even seen one in the flesh. So this is coming from complete ignorance of your instrument. But would it be possible to use your right hand little finger to support the instrument? A bit like a lot of people do with the flute or the low whistle?

Also, you've slightly confused me with the hands thing ... Are you playing with your right hand on top? Is that the 'right' way to do it? Or is there no 'right' and 'wrong' way?

At any rate, the gist of my first paragraph is: is there a way of using fingers, ones that are not being used for notes, to stabilise the instrument, either by resting them on the body of the instrument, or by covering tone holes lower down and in such a way that they wouldn't affect the sound?

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 12:52 pm 
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I am playing with the right hand on bottom. These are ten hole instruments, so each finger/thumb has it's own hole. I normally use my pinkie to stabilize when I am playing further up the scale. In this case however, it would only exacerbate the problem because there would then be even more fingers pushing down without a thumb pushing back up. Here are a couple pics.

Image

Image

In my horrible drawing below, you can see that the Left hand thumb and index make a fulcrum and when you take away the right hand thumb, all of the fingers are pressing down with nothing to stop it from moving except a little friction from the top lip

Image


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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 1:21 pm 
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On the contrary, I think it's an excellent drawing. :thumbsup:

Right. I knew the instrument you were talking about (10-holed Sopilka) but didn't quite grasp the problem until you gave your excellent drawing. :)

Here's a fingering chart I've found:

http://www.crees.ku.edu/outreach/documents/sopilka.pdf

As far as I can see from that chart, the only note where you might get a problem because the RH thumb is raised and the RH fingers are pressing down is D#/Eb. If I've got that right, it shouldn't be too much of a problem, and yes, maybe you do have to slide the thumb just for that note.

Is D#/Eb a common note in Sopilka playing? In particularly difficult passages, might it work out better to half-hole with RH2 instead? It is at least a nice, big hole ...

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 28, 2011 2:48 pm 
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Yes, I see the problem. Generically, the solution would be to use the top hand to push the top of the instument back down to compensate. But since the top thumb hole (and thumb position) is directly below the top index hole, there's no top hand fulcrum to enable you to do that.

I see two possibilities:

o Rolling the bottom thumb, as has already been mentioned. Or "hopping" the thumb - which might give you a cleaner note without unwanted note sliding, but could be tricky. Here's a better solution:

o Adopt a "fluter's grip" on the left hand. Angle (rotate) your top hand so that the fingers are pointing more downward, not perpendicular to the body of the instrument. this puts the index finger in contact with the instrument along the length of the 1st and 2nd finger joints, and restores the counter-pressure above the thumb hole fulcrum. Now you can use your top finger to push down again when you lift the bottom thumb. VoilĂ , problem solved (hopefully).

Here's a photo of Jem Hammond using top hand fluter's grip on a low D whistle:

Image

Compared to the photo, you can even flatten the index finger against the instrument somewhat more for better contact. Let us know if that works for you!

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 29, 2011 10:56 pm 
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Hadn't thought of the fluter grip on the top hand. Have to play around a bit more and see what works best.
Thanks guys.


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