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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:46 am 
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mendipman wrote:
Why not just refer to what it simply and self-evidently is? A wooden flute.

Quite apart from not all of the flutes in question being wooden, people who play modern metal Boehms don't say 'I play the metal flute'. Doesn't really matter whether you play a modern 19th-century-inspired trad flute, platinum Boehm or what, we ultimately all play flutes. Just like people who play Classical/Spanish guitar, steel-string acoustics, electrics, eight-string monsters etc. ultimately all play guitars...

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:12 am 
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"A rose by any other name" What is a name supposed to do? Other than finding fault with its technical accuracy, who in this discussion does not fully understand and get a pretty clear picture of what an "Irish flute" is referring to?

I am hearing lots of suggestions for better/other names, but no consensus.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 9:37 am 
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Peter Duggan wrote:
mendipman wrote:
Why not just refer to what it simply and self-evidently is? A wooden flute.

Quite apart from not all of the flutes in question being wooden, people who play modern metal Boehms don't say 'I play the metal flute'. Doesn't really matter whether you play a modern 19th-century-inspired trad flute, platinum Boehm or what, we ultimately all play flutes. Just like people who play Classical/Spanish guitar, steel-string acoustics, electrics, eight-string monsters etc. ultimately all play guitars...



Poeple will say "I play classical guitar:" that's a common thing around here. It refers to both a style of music and a specific construction of the instrument. I will often say i lay "jazz guitar" meaning I'm not in a dad-rock band


Last edited by PB+J on Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:59 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:02 am 
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We are on the "flute forum". That's clear enough to me.
When someone asks me what instrument I play, I always answer "flute". And then I talk about the music I play, and most of time I talk about "traditional music".
A flute can be in wood, delrin, carbony, bamboo... and suitable to irish, breton, cuban, scottish, swedish, galician or asturian musics... (non exhausive list)
We must give credit to the irish music for popularizing the flute and to the first irish flute makers who started to make new flutes in the 70's. But it's all about flutes now, no matter in which material the're made of or for which music.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:14 am 
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Just when I thought C&F was losing some of its verve....

Personally, when mentioning the instrument to those unfamiliar with it, I absolutely want to name not only the music-producing device, but also the music I strive to make when I use it. In part that's because, for reasons I don't myself understand, I've never been especially fond of the Boehm flute as a classical, jazz, or rock instrument. It just doesn't punch my ticket. So if, for example, a work colleague were to tell she plays "flute", I wouldn't take much of an interest in whether she performs in public anywhere, as I'm just not captivated by the instrument in the contexts where most people (here in the U.S.) typically place it.

But giving the context of "Irish" changes everything. And in telling others about the instrument I play, I want them to have that context, to associate my flute with a particular type of music that's distinct from what they encountered in school music programs, and from the likes of what James Galway, Eric Dolphy, and Ian Anderson have created with a similar instrument.

That isn't an endorsement for "Irish Flute" becoming the standard term for our instrument, of course. And I imagine that if I primarily played music associated with the northwest part of France, I might call my same delrin cylinder a Breton flute.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 10:31 am 
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I wouldn't say "breton flute" but "flute for breton music" because flute playing in breton music is too recent even if it's considered now as a traditional instrument. I think Jil Lehart was the first 'officially' breton flute maker and he started in the early 90's. And Ireland's music influence in Brittany is strong when you talk about flutes.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 11:18 am 
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mendipman wrote:
Why not just refer to what it simply and self-evidently is? A wooden flute.

That neutral description simultaneously places it in the respective context of both it’s history and it’s modern folk or vernacular usage. And crucially it is a description that is creatively and culturally inclusive and enabling and does not appropriate or exclude.

Depending on where in the world you live, that term "wooden flute" can evoke different reactions. Maybe it's different in the UK, but here in the West Coast USA, most civilians would think the term "wooden flute" meant a Native American flute, or some other "World" instrument. Being culturally inclusive doesn't help, when the range of possibilities for the term is this large.

I think we may have reached a consensus of sorts, in that we all call it a "flute" when talking with other members of the tribe. We're really just talking about how to describe it to the civilians, the great unwashed who aren't familiar with trad. Although I dislike the term, at least "Irish flute" is a starting point for educating folks about what it is, why the design is still around, and what it's (mostly) used for.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 12:30 pm 
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The problem is, that it isn't Irish, (as I have said before), & the fact that you, personally, play ITM on it, is neither here nor there, I play folk tunes, (& some others), on mine - others play what they want - it can't be classified just by the kind of music played on it - but it could be classified by how many keys it has, or keyless - then everyone will know what kind of flute you are talking about - & it wouldn't matter which Country you live in either. :D

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 1:59 pm 
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I say 'Irish flute'. When I try to give more detail, people's eyes glaze over.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:27 pm 
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I'm sure I have better things to do, so why am I adding anything?

The solution is pretty obvious and pretty easy depending on the context:

fatmac is in no more or less of a dilemma than my session mate who plays a boehm flute: "What is that? A flute." Except that the boehm player is unlikely to get the question. fatmac can just say: "It's a flute. Well, it's a keyless flute often used for irish music. It's modeled on similar, wooden flutes from the 19th century."

These are verbatim conversations I have had:

In a session a fan comes over and quizzically asks if I'm playing a clarinet. "No, it's a wooden flute."

At a cocktail party, someone asks if I'm a musician. "I like to play irish music on a flute. Cool, I like Irish music"

I tell someone who played flute in high school that I play flute. "But, it's a wooden simple-system flute, not a boehm flute. A recorder? No, side-blown flute." She doesn't even know the term "boehm", so I add: "Well, it's the flute they used for classical music before the silver flute was invented. 19th Century orchestral music."

You read an ad on Chiffandfipple. "For sale, antique R&R boxwood 8-keyed flute in the 3xxx series".

I have never run into the native-American flute confusion.

No need to get hot and bothered about it (5 pages. Sheesh!), because it is so easy to find the appropriate explanation depending on the person and the context.

It's a pretty good conversation starter in any case, because it's something I love and care about.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 3:38 pm 
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It is tempting to feel obliged to qualify the term flute in some way in order to clarify
for others the type of instrument we play, but if we are not careful I think we just end
up surrendering ground, for example by reinforcing the idea that a silver Boehm flute
represents the true meaning of the term flute, and all other types of flute are really
something different. By simply using the term "flute" for our instruments we defend
the ground. Some people might want to know more about our flutes, and why they
sound so good, in which case we can point out some of the differences between our
flutes and others they may have seen. I think it is useful to describe its important
characteristics, but I don't see the need to call it anything other than a flute.

The issue of search terms and keywords on the Internet is something else. To attract
someone to a webpage or eBay ad you can list whatever keywords you like. Similarly,
to construct a search you enter search terms that you think will connect you to what
you are looking for, but it is important to realize that keywords and search terms are
neither names nor descriptions. For example, I have occasionally found nice antique
flutes on eBay by searching for "antique clarinet". I know I'm not looking for a clarinet,
but it is not that unusual for someone to list the antique flute they found as a clarinet,
and if you find one of these there isn't much competition for the auction! :D
So, I just mention this to reinforce the point that search terms and keywords don't
really carry much, if any, meaning or authority.

Cross posted with tstermitz who seems to be making a similar point ... and probably more
clearly.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:14 pm 
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paddler wrote:
It is tempting to feel obliged to qualify the term flute in some way in order to clarify
for others the type of instrument we play, but if we are not careful I think we just end
up surrendering ground, for example by reinforcing the idea that a silver Boehm flute
represents the true meaning of the term flute, and all other types of flute are really
something different. By simply using the term "flute" for our instruments we defend
the ground. Some people might want to know more about our flutes, and why they
sound so good, in which case we can point out some of the differences between our
flutes and others they may have seen. I think it is useful to describe its important
characteristics, but I don't see the need to call it anything other than a flute.

Yes!

Quote:
Cross posted with tstermitz who seems to be making a similar point ... and probably more
clearly.

Can't get much clearer than what I've just quoted!

tstermitz wrote:
No need to get hot and bothered about it (5 pages. Sheesh!), because it is so easy to find the appropriate explanation depending on the person and the context.

Nothing wrong with a good debate! (Would you rather all C&F topics just died?)

But, yes, I agree with both of you. It's a flute which can be explained further when necessary. I have no problem at all explaining to someone that it's a type based on historical models and often (though not exclusively) built these days for traditional — even typically Irish traditional — music. But I will never, ever, ever call it an Irish flute or say I play the Irish flute!

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 4:44 pm 
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I'm neither hot not bothered. It's an interesting question and it's interesting how it varies. I sometimes say "the Irish flute" because I'm usually playing Irish music on it, and it just makes it easier for people in the States to make sense of, although its far from perfect. When I play the silver flute I'm usually trying to play jazz, but if I say Jazz flute people think of this.


https://youtu.be/_c_ufaxeSTs


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 13, 2020 7:37 pm 
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I'm not hot and bothered either. :P It's an interesting discussion about how each of us, individually, describe this instrument we're playing in different contexts, and in different parts of the world. If I meet another player of this music, I'm just going to call it a "flute" anyway.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 14, 2020 3:22 am 
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:lol: Hot & bothered.....its blowing a gale over here.... :D

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