Monday, March 9, 2009

Last Nights Fun

As well as being a tune name, it's the name of a book by Ciaran Carson. Good stuff if you are a player of ITM or the flute. 

So far my favorite line in "Last Nights Fun" is the one about the Boehm "... who devised an instrument of cylindrical bore and enormous tone holes which could not be covered by the fingers, but demanded an intricate system of pads, levers and springs to enable each key to open independently as well as interact with the others. The result, in the opinion of many, is a different instrument entirely; and certainly, it is disparaged by many traditional players as a class of typewriter."

I'm sure a Boehm flute is a fine instrument for the intended purpose, but this shows how one school defends itself against the other. I wonder what Boehm players say of simple system flutes?

1 comment:

  1. I came back to Boehm flute last year -- I played in college, but dropped it after marriage, work and kids took up all my time. I like the flute, but I recently took up Irish flute because I love the sound and the Irish music -- I have a keyless Tony Dixon, and I really love the reedy tone. I think the keyless is more difficult -- requires more air, wider finger spread, and the ornamentation in Irish music is really tough, not to mention the timing, and the quick rhythms! You can't bend tones easily on a Boehm, and taps and cuts are different and yield a clickety aspect to the song.

    But, its hard for me to drop the silver entirely. Playing the Irish flute improves my embouchure for Boehm, and when I come across a lovely air that needs an F natural, I can always play it on my Boehm. And some music is just better suited to one or the other. For church, Amazing Grace sounds great on the Irish flute, but other hymns or worship songs can't be played on my Dixon because of the accidentals or key changes in the songs.