Long tones

I’ve known for some time that they’re good to do, and I just took it for granted that they were good for finding notes and getting better breath control, but wow howdy they really are sine qua non for the Baroque flute. I know that they helped me get my feet under me on my Copley, but I don’t think a Baroque is even playable without long tones to help one iron out the wrinkles on the cross-fingered notes. And given that the liphole is larger than on the Stanesby, it’s just easier to blow as well.

I’m really enjoying it, though. Another thing I really like about it is how I can focus on keeping my hands almost entirely relaxed. When you don’t have to negotiate keys, you really can focus on the idea of keeping your fingers as supple as possible and holding the flute as if you’re holding a butterfly. It takes time, and I have to just do maybe one measure at a time with a great deal of focus to ensure that my hands don’t get tense, but it makes a big difference. I also think that skill will translate well to the Copley. I’ve never been one to use my hands efficiently even on the piano (or harp), so having an instrument like this where I will have to be supple and relaxed will teach me a needed skill that I never managed to learn. It’s about time. I’ve always lived on the principal of my hands and not the interest at the piano, and I’m positive it’s held me back and may be part of why I haven’t sat at it for a while. It’s disheartening to sit at the thing, play a bit, then have my hands exhausted. I don’t know if it’s because there’s something wrong with hands or because there’s something wrong with my playing, and I think I’m trying not to make eye contact with that question, which of course is how every pressing problem is solved most efficiently, right? *sigh*

I remember reading an interview with a rock guitarist (can’t recall which one) who told a masterclass of kids that they would learn more about how to play an electric guitar well from playing an acoustic than they would ever learn from just an electric on its own. I have a feeling that playing the Grenser will have a similar effect on how I play my Copley as well.


Oh, it’s fun.

I only know the very beginning of the Bach because once I realized how rough it was on my hands to play the 415 Stanesby (and how poorly it sat on my Copley), I just stopped working on it. But it’s so much easier on the 440 Grenser.

I’m also learning the benefits of doing long tones on the cross-fingerings. I think I’ll have a much better G# on this one, as well as a decent Fnat/F#.

It’s here!!!

And I’m at work! This is pain!


I really look forward to getting used to this, and not having it negatively impact playing my Copley. The G# is much better on this than on the Stanesby as well, which is a nice surprise.

Going to get to work on that blasted Bach partita when I get home tonight.

Definitely more comfy, and a nice G#.

Giving it the finger

One of the more irritating things about the flute (which was not irritating about the piano at all and was almost a total game-stopper on the harp) is that my hands are very long but that all of the length is in my index and middle fingers. My ring fingers barely come up to the nail beds on my middle fingers. 😦

And I’ve just decided that I’m going to try not to always use my middle fingertip on my top hand anymore to cover the hole. I’m always so prim about that but it means that I have a hard time getting my ring finger where it needs to be since it’s so much shorter than my middle one. So top hand position will be gauged by whether the ring finger feels comfortable, and everything else will just have to fall into place based on that.

It’s another instrument where relative finger lengths matter more than just overall hand size, as on the piano. On the piano, my hands are pretty much ideal if not exactly Rachmaninoff-sized. If your ring fingers are slightly shorter relative to other fingers on that one, who cares? It’s length and stretch that count.

Flute angst

I remain angsty about not having a C foot, wanting a diagonal G# and a bottom-hand Bb touch, and needing keys at all. I’m still in love with the idea of having only one key but still wanting a good G#. However, while the G# sounds better on my Copley with a key, actually activating the key is extremely unpleasant for my hands and causes me to have to retool my entire grip and embouchure to do so, so frankly I’d really rather just do more work with my face to get good cross-fingerings than put my hands through that nonsense.

Oh, the emo rollercoaster of an historical flute player!

I’m so looking forward to getting it and playing it a bit. I have to say that while my mouth likes the Copley best of all (it really is a Goldilocks flute for me), my fingers prefer the Baroque, despite the stretch, since there are almost no keys. Any time my pinkies and ring fingers are not both involved, they are happier. They don’t care to collaborate.

Plus, I can use my top thumb to stabilize and hold the flute, making it easier to orient it relative to my mouth, and so I get a more consistent tone. I still haven’t figured out how to not have what amounts to an “embouchure break” on my Copley above about the second octave G. I’m sure I could if I just buckled down, but with work and whatnot, my time availability comes and goes.

What this all means is that I was able to make fairly good headway on that Bach A minor thingie on the Stanesby before the stretch started bothering me, but it’s been very hard going on the Copley. If the Grenser has all the benefits of the Stanesby with a stretch more like my Copley, then so much the better! I’ll be able to get moving on that Bach partita again and can focus on my phrasing and breath!

And I don’t have to worry about moving back and forth between the Baroque and my Copley if the stretch is more similar on both flutes. If I have that 415 Baroque, it’s disorienting as hell to move back and forth between that and the Copley, and I’d rather the two reinforce one another.

Anyhow, I’m really looking forward to getting the 440 Grenser. I wish I could get a 440 Palanca since they are louder and have a really nice G#, but they don’t seem available (maybe it doesn’t behave as well at 440).

45 minutes

The longest 45 minutes of the day will be the ones that need to pass until I can call Lark in the Morning and ask them if that Aulos 440 Grenser is in stock so I can order it from their website.

I still wish that I could at least try one of Dave Copley’s Baroque models. He said that it’s optimized for Irish playing and isn’t that chromatic with cross-fingerings, but the F that he made for me cross-fingers like a dream, so I’m wondering if he isn’t selling himself short.

ETA: Annnnnnd, they don’t answer their phone, and haven’t returned my call. I hope they do, because if they don’t, I’m just ordering it from Amazon. *sigh* I’d rather order from a smaller business, though.

ETA2: They called back, and they have it in stock! Wonderful! I’ve ordered it. And I’ve let my flute-playing coworker know that I’ve got a 415 Stanesby that I can let go if she knows anyone who wants it. If not, I can always unload it on eBay or something like that.

I want that damned Aulos 440 Grenser

I’m just going to get it. The stretch on the 415 Stanesby is uncomfortable enough that I just don’t want to deal with it, and I hate that G#. I imagine the G# on the Grenser repro isn’t going to be much better; it’s only ever been good on the Copley F that I have; the cross-fingerings on that one are stunning. And honestly, the G# I can learn to deal with, but the stretch is just not something I feel like dealing with.

I just want that damned 440 Grenser.

The kaval

Have been tootling on that thing; I can more reliably get a note out of it, but it remains challenging. I wish it were shorter, but it’s still fun as anything to make noise out of something without even a fipple or a liphole. I mean, you can see the ones and zeros flying past as you play it; it’s below even the compiler level. And while it’s a sophisticated instrument, it’s close enough to what were doubtless its accidental origins (someone wandering through the woods picks up a hollow branch, blows into it, gets a surprise) that one feels a connection to those origins.

Anyhow, it’s fun to pick up and get a noise out of every now and then.