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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 12:12 am 
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Joined: Sun Feb 09, 2003 6:00 pm
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Location: San Jose, California
Hello C&F Flautists!

I have a Casey Burns folk flute that has been sitting in a basket for about a decade that I decided to give a blow on tonight.

It took me about half an hour to get a decent tone on the lower octave, with lots of changing of lip placement and lip shapes. I finally got there but it's nowhere near the rich and fat tone that the pros get!.

I've been a Boehm flute player since I was around 16 years old (I'm approaching my mid-fifties), and have played whistle and recorder as well as many other instruments (my regular gig is playing ukulele & singing though I also play English concertina, guitar, keyboard, bass, saxophone, baritone, trombone, fiddle, tahitian drums, etc.) so I value asking people who are experienced in my current fascination about any questions I have.

So here goes:

- I noticed that the embouchure is different on the folk flute. I've found that I get a richer sound if I place the edge of the "blow-hole" further up on my lip than I do on the Boehm flute.

- I also noticed that the air stream needs to be blown deeper into the folk-flute than on the Boehm.

-Finally, the notes on a folk-flute are much less linear than the Boehm in that there seems to be a lot more finessing from note to note than there is on the Boehm.

I would like to hear from players who play both systems. What are the differences in embouchure that you've noticed?

Also, if your only experience is with the folk-flute, can you share any insights about achieving that fat, rich ITM sound?

Thank you in advance!
Aldon Sanders

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 1:43 am 
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Location: Melbourne, Australia
I play both and I also have two Casey Burns flutes. They are great. ITM players tend to turn the headjoint quite far in, so that you are blowing more down into the embouchure hole. Terry McGee has a fine article on this topic:

http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Getting_the ... k_tone.htm

Boehm players frown on turning the headjoint, but some do, a little. This practice was more common in the 19c, however.

Boehm flutes are equal tempered. Simple system flutes are not.

Andrew


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 07, 2020 5:29 am 
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Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I think the main differences have already been summed up. The temperament is up to the maker, really. I think it is too general to say that simple system flutes are not equal temperament. So far I have not found much info on maker's homepages about that. Some tin whistles for example are not equal temperament (AFAIK Generations for instance) but others are. I am not sure if the "old" simple system flutes were equal tempered or not. From what I found, some where and some were not tuned to equal temperament.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 4:25 am 
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
My feeling is that the old flutes were just "bad tempered".

Coincidentally, I dug this out earlier this evening - an analysis of a 1828 Rudall & Rose flute done in the late 19th century by Rockstro and Ellis. The figures are from Ellis, as published by Rockstro. I did the conversion to cents and subsequent graphing. We can infer that Rockstro and Ellis were hoping to find the flute made better sense in Meantone than Equal Temperament. Alas.....

Image


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 08, 2020 6:47 pm 
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
Sedi wrote:
I think the main differences have already been summed up. The temperament is up to the maker, really. I think it is too general to say that simple system flutes are not equal temperament. So far I have not found much info on maker's homepages about that. Some tin whistles for example are not equal temperament (AFAIK Generations for instance) but others are. I am not sure if the "old" simple system flutes were equal tempered or not. From what I found, some where and some were not tuned to equal temperament.

Right, it's mostly a division between antique 19th Century flutes that may have been aimed at other concert pitches than 440 Hz and the need to cover three octaves, vs. modern makers making conical bore flutes where 440 Hz is a given, and they're just adjusting pitch with the first two octaves. That's all we need for "folk" music like Irish and Scottish trad.

I think most contemporary conical bore flute makers are doing a very good job of getting at least reasonably close to good 12TET intonation without requiring too much work from the player in "lipping" up or down. I've been pleasantly surprised at how close to 12TET I could get with both my initial Windward flute and the Thomas Aebi I'm playing now.

It's not just subjective, I test it with the TTtuner Android app on my phone that records and analyzes the playing of a full tune, so I'm not chasing the needle in a way that doesn't represent actual playing. Hat tip to Terry McGee who linked on it with his web site, and introduced me to the idea of RTTA analysis:

http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/RTTA.htm

Use one of these analyzers if you want to see what you're really blowin' on your flute! It goes way beyond just making sure your first octave A note is at exactly 440 Hz with the tuning slide. That may not even be the best target for your specific flute, to get the rest of the range in decent tune.

My best intonation on my current flute is with tuning on a G note and letting the A note be a hair sharp, to get the rest of the notes into 12TET intonation. In the modern session world of every other fiddler using a digital clip-on tuner, and even local pipers tuning with apps on their phone to 12TET, I think it's the way to go. Other than solo performance of course, where you're free to express the music in whatever temperament seems appropriate for the music.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 1:35 pm 
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Location: Bischberg/Bavaria/Germany
I also have this app. The only app I ever paid for. Immensely useful indeed. Especially since I am making whistles and flutes myself :D.
Edit: I also downloaded it because of Terry's recommendation.


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PostPosted: Sun Feb 09, 2020 5:00 pm 
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Joined: Sat Mar 15, 2003 8:06 pm
Posts: 477
I recently had a friend with a McNeela type flute that wouldn't play with any volume. It was extremely frustrating for them. I took it home and oiled it, resealed the cork from the top with a bit of wax in case it had shrunken, and re-threaded the joints. While it will never have the power of a high end flute making the joints more air tight made a huge difference. If a flute has been sitting around unplayed it will likely have some air leakage. This may improve as it absorbs moisture from play, but you may want to contact Casey Burns and ask what he suggests for oiling. He likely has a PDF he can email you.


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