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PostPosted: Sat Dec 18, 2004 11:43 pm 
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This whole thing is beginning to sound a little obsessive to me, and I should know, because I come from a long line of people suffering from OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder).

So, let's simplify things alltogether: finger the flute however it feels OK to you. Rather than getting hung up on whether or not you are fingering the flute correctly, think about what you could be saying with the flute. What do you want to communicate? My answer to that question is that I want to compose a waltz this is so beautiful that anyone hearing it will want to hold their partner and dance until the musicians are totally exhausted. That tune is close, and I am working on it. I hope that you are on the dance floor with your sweetheart when the musicians strike it up for the first time.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 12:34 am 
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Doug Tipple wrote:
What do you want to communicate? My answer to that question is that I want to compose a waltz this is so beautiful that anyone hearing it will want to hold their partner and dance until the musicians are totally exhausted. That tune is close, and I am working on it.

you go Doug! we're all ready for tunes like that!

forgive some "old farts" exploring the twiddly bits of this all too fascinating craft. for my part, i'm genuinely interested in the variety of human experience we discover together here. i'm honored by the contributions of all the wonderful folks that hang out here. heya!

enjoy! /dan

ps- my middle finger bends about 45 degrees to bring it inline with the other two. :-)


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 3:34 am 
To clarify, I would interpret 'piper's grip' as playing with the fingers streched like this left handed gentleman's top hand (allthough he seems to use the fingertips more than I would), or the right hand of the picture in the previous post (using the middle segment of the fingers, for most holes at least). I have no trouble or strain on the hand or wrist playing a and b rolls with the top hand in this position.

Image

On the other end of the spectrum I would think of players playing with their fingertips, sometimes with the fingers not straight with the lower hand fingers curved as well, like for example Mick Hand in the picture below:

Image


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:44 am 
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Great pictures.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 6:36 pm 
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Location: split,croatia,europe
i also exchange my grip from clasic to pipers grip. i am almost 2 m tall, big hands, and after struggle with clasic grip for few years,when i saw eamonn de barra and maria rafferty in live, i was converted immidiatelly.my opinion is that with pipers grip rolls on a and b are more fluid and crisp, and also cuts on these notes. you must hear maria rafferty cuts!
also,think that people with big hands find that grip more faster and natural than clasic grip, because i found my fingers cramped alot with clasic grip.
i am agree that at first moment you will have some problems with flute stability ,but after a while you will find a proper place foryour lh thumb ....
and of course ,problem with b flat key, but who care for bflat?
marin


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:06 pm 
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Hi folks,

I'll start by saying that I've been playing flute for all of about 1 month, and started playing piper's grip, from my familiarity with low whistles. Up until tonight, I've had some issues with it, like the flute rolling on me, so my embouchure wasn't the steadiest, and also hitting the T3 hole with my ring finger was not always on target and seemed to be hard to feel its location.

I was using the 3 point hold-the two thumbs opposing each other on either side of the flute, and the chin as the contact points. My thumbs would get tired of the pressure after not a long time, even when I relaxed consciously. And since I have some wrist problems and mild arthritis in my fingers, I just automatically went to piper's because it felt natural with minimal strain.

I just spent about and hour in front of the computer reading this post, and trying the fingertip grip on both hands. I ended up playing the best I have yet, and my embouchure was solid too. I was moving along at a good clip for me, and I was happy about it.

I found that if I went back to the piper's grip for my lower hand, there was less strain, and the upper hand in the standard grip felt pretty comfortable too, and my embouchure was still very steady. Now my lower hand thumb had less pressure on it from the support of my upper hand at the base of my index finger, and now my upper hand thumb was free to float, or rest on the flute if I needed some more stability.

I also went back and tried the full piper's grip a couple of times to see the difference, and found it not as good for me as the modified grip of just the lower hand using pipers.

I don't know if it's my imagination, but since I was trying to be quiet for my neighbor's sake (and my wife who was napping), my embouchure was pretty easy too. I think the flute being more steady had helped greatly with this too.

I am glad I got Doug Tipple's 3 piece flute, which not only sounds great, but because there is a joint between the upper and lower finger holes, it made it easy to experiment with the ergonomics. As I have it now, the holes are inline, and just the headjoint is angled towards me. But it is nice to have that option of giving a twist to have the holes in a different position. And it's a great sounding flute too, as even Michael Eskin and many others have commented about. All in all, a great start; this forum and a Tipple flute!

Thanks for this topic, and all your input, it's made a difference in my playing already!

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Barry


Last edited by greenspiderweb on Sat Feb 26, 2005 10:01 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 7:50 pm 
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greenspiderweb wrote:
I was using the 3 point hold-the two thumbs opposing each other on either side of the flute, and the chin as the contact points. My thumbs would get tired of the pressure after not a long time, even when I relaxed consciously.

first, i am completely in agreement w/ "do what's comfortable and works for you". it is possible though, to execute piper's grip without undue pressure by positioning the thumbs so that they support the flute underneath at an angle instead of gripping the flute from the sides. the only pressure this way is the weight of the flute itself, which is minimal.

here's a pic:

Image

note that none of the fingers other than the thumbs are on the flute. while this is a bit wobbly at first, it feels quite natural after a time and encourages an easy, gentle touch when closing toneholes. any wobble can be eliminated by lightly touching the right hand pinky to the flute (or Eb key), though this isn't absolutely necessary. it does help to have a flute with a left/right body joint so you can angle the hands independantly.

fwiw /dan


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:22 pm 
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Hey Dan,

Thanks for the great picture, it shows exactly what you're talking about! I tried it, and seems to be less stress, you're right, but it still doesn't work as well for me.

Every time I shift back over to the standard grip up top, and keep the piper's below, it just sets it up for me, and I don't fumble at all with the embouchure, and there's even less stress on MY hands/wrists. So, for now, I think I've found that magic groove for me.

The only place I feel restricted with this grip is the index finger on the top hole, with a little less freedom of movement than in piper's, because the flute is resting on the base of that finger, but I figure that it should feel more natural with practice.

I can't wait to try it tomorrow when everyone is away at work and see if I still can play full throttle as easily as I can play quietly now.

So, thanks for the input, and who knows, after I have played awhile, I might find full piper's to be better for me, but for now, I will keep what seems to work the best. Up until tonight, my progress was minimal, and now I feel I have made the leap across the chasm!

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 9:38 pm 
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greenspiderweb wrote:
... for now, I will keep what seems to work the best. Up until tonight, my progress was minimal, and now I feel I have made the leap across the chasm!

very cool Barry! i'm glad you've found what is working for you. go with that feeling of *rightness*.

enjoy! /dan


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:02 pm 
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Curious: Can one use this grip on a
keyed flute with a Bb key? The question was raised in
the post that started this thread.

Looking at that post, by the way,
my impression is that this question was never
answered:

My first question is: does the left thumb play little or no role in stabilizing the flute? The flute has a tendency to roll towards me, even though I angle my wrist so that the base of right index finger is almost flat. And if I push with my lips, after a while, my lips feel like they're being crushed and start to cramp up.

The answer is that the left thumb indeed plays little or no
role in stabilizing the flute in standard grip. You can take it off the
flute, if you want.


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 19, 2004 11:16 pm 
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jim stone wrote:
Curious: Can one use this grip on a
keyed flute with a Bb key?

which "this grip"? if my flavor of piper's, i'm keyless & clueless, really. from what i've read, no. that's a clear requirement for some folks, i know.

enjoy! /dan


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 12:37 am 
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bang wrote:

Image

note that none of the fingers other than the thumbs are on the flute.
fwiw /dan


Bang, I notice that you were fortunate to get one of those fine flute beards! Very nice!

I balance the flute between the joint of the left index finger (pushes in), my chin (pushes out, and it's not my lip, but right under it), and the thumb of the right hand (pushes out). It's good in that the flute doesn't roll around and it's comfortable. I don't have pain in my thumb, which I did before adopting this method. The left fingers are sideways in Rockstro style.

The thumb on the right does not grip, either--it just stays straight with the tip pushing against the flute body. The fingers are straight on.

That's on a CB ergonomic Rudall. With a cylindrical bamboo, I have to use piper grip on the right with the whole hand angled. Still, there are those three points that keep the balance.

Finding those three points and getting them to work together was the key for me. I haven't had hand pain since and the flute is stable.

I'd like to say this is exactly like Grey Larsen's recommendation, but if I went back and looked at the book I'm sure I'll find that I'm not following it in some respect.

Take this with a grain of salt . . . it's not like I can play the thing.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 1:00 am 
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Peggy wrote:
Bang, I notice that you were fortunate to get one of those fine flute beards! Very nice!

nah! i'm afraid it's just one of those cheap imported copies. :-P

interesting that both grip styles have essentially three points of support.

enjoy! /dan


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 7:12 am 
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Right, so Piper's Grip, left hand, appears to mean
that one may one day have to relearn the
fundamentals in order to play
a keyed flute--I promise you it's worth avoiding. I do think
there's something to be said for from the beginning
learning to hold the flute in a way that will
let you progress farthest and give you the
most options.

I certainly don't think that people should use
what hurts and doesn't work for them!
At the same time, though, I'm a bit concerned that the
advice to newbies 'Do what doesn't hurt
and works for you' may cost them trouble later.

The flute position that may be best for you
and enable you to progress farthest
may be quite awkward initially. I know
that left hand position on standard grip
seemed virtually impossible for me
when I began to play flute--it took a long time
for me to get used to it. I'm glad I have it.

I think Grey is giving good advice in his book,
and there is something to be said in favor
of adopting his position--
probably most newbies can
do this. And yes, he means standard grip for
both hands (see earlier posts of mine
in this thread).

I add my opinion from
another thread: for newbies,
if you can find a good teacher of wooden
flutes, a single lesson at the beginning can
save you time and trouble
later. These are pretty cheap, in my experience,
and worth going a distance to find.

Best to all, Jim


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 20, 2004 4:33 pm 
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What an interesting discussion! Well, on more careful reading of Grey's description of normal grip, the left thumb is supposed to provide a slight amount of pressure for stability to oppose the force of the left fingers on the tone holes. I don't recall Grey saying that one of the balance points is the chin in the normal/standard grip, so much as the lower lip. I will recheck this.

I find that sealing the tone holes in normal grip is difficult. I cannot get the same volume from the flute as I do with piper's grip (eg, with my left thumb under the flute), and sometimes all I get to sound is an airy wind - no note at all. Perhaps it is because the beveled edges on the Folk Flute's tone holes require more pressure with my type of fingers? All I know is that as soon as I switch back to piper's grip, the sound comes back.

Maybe I would do better with a polymer flute too. I seem to have to swab the insides of my mopane flute every other tune. I hear that polymer flutes don't care about moisture buildup.


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