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.


I should stop doing this.

Every now and then, I plug up the bottom two vented holes on my Copley with a kneaded eraser and blow a nice fat, warm low C out of the thing, and it makes me morose for the rest of the night. 😦

Very nice :-)

Looking forward to a listen

I’ll try to titrate it out to myself over the next few nights, but we’ll see how that works.

ETA: Well, so much for the titration. Lovely, lovely, lovely piece of work — very autobiographical and exactly the sort of intensely evocative, R&B/AOR blend you’d expect from him. There’s lots of wonderful opportunity for ornament, so I might end up transcribing the tunes into 8-bar pieces and writing some variations for my own personal enjoyment. Beautiful, beautiful work, and hopefully the first of more.

It would be nice if it were followed up on with a tour, but a serious road tour is a bit much to ask of a 69-year old much less one that wore out with tours in the 80s and early 90s, and to be honest, regular people won’t get any of those tickets anyway, not with bots and online scalpers in the mix.

Getting faster

The chromatic scale, I mean. I’m also working on the second octave one, but need to make sure to smooth out the transition from one to the other and ensure that I can breathe all the way through the whole thing. For right now, I’m going D-D-A and then stopping there. After that, the second octave deviates from the first.

I also want to try something else with the Boehm C foot that I crammed onto the bottom of the thing, just because I’m stubborn. I think a big part of the reason why it’s not working (aside from it being a stupid idea, I mean) is that the hole sizes are too big. I’m going to see if I can’t cut a proper sized hole in a piece of cardstock and then rubber-cement that inside the Boehm C foot and see if it changes the pitch enough for it to be close-ish. If it does, then at least I’ll know that this might be an interesting avenue to pursue.

I also want to talk more to Maurice Reviol. I still hate the idea of sending my flute through the mail and being without it, and also risking it being held for ransom by an overeager bureaucrat although there would be no reason for that to happen. But I’ll see what he says. The exchange rate makes it a very reasonable thing.

One unforeseen benefit

… of having wasted eight hundred bucks on a Boehm flute, I mean. (Argh, that makes me cringe just to say that.)

Anyhow, one unforeseen benefit of having done This Stupid Thing is that it forced me to admit that I cannot take advantage of the speedy Boehm key mechanism while still managing to get a nice savory conical sound out of it. It just isn’t going to work like that. This is just a champagne flute and there is no getting a chianti sound out of it much less the whiskey-marinated medium-rare steak I prefer to get out of a flute.

So I’ve just knuckled down to learning how to hold the damned Copley properly so I can free up my top hand. This means backing my bottom hand off of the piper grip and bracing my bottom thumb so it can push out and stabilize the flute horizontally.

And this, of course, means sounding like a beginner again — breathy since I’m not holding the flute the same way and the liphole isn’t where I think it is anymore, and the dreaded leaky fingers.

Oh, joy.

However, I can play — or I can sense that I’ll be able to play with practice — a decent chromatic scale without swearing every time I have to struggle with the G#/Bb keys with my top hand. With time, I think I’ll be able to get it up to a good clip as well.

So … hooray? I guess?

Well, I’ll never be happy I wasted that money. I’ll leave it for a bit and then talk to the Flute Pro Shop again and see if they will consign it for me. In the meantime, it’s back to basics on my Copley.

Um … yeah.

So I think this was a bad idea. I’m just not into this flute. I wish I could have tested it out before buying, because I think this was an expensive waste of money. Not as expensive as my Copley — less than half the cost, but nevertheless that’s still a good chunk of change. I should see about unloading it on eBay or maybe consigning it through the shop I bought it from.

In other news, I think I found out how I’m actually supposed to hold my real flute, and that it will let me use my top hand Bb key much better. I watched this amazing kid again, and realized how far back she was holding her thumb. Once I realized that I should be pushing out with my bottom thumb and pinky, my top hand freed up amazingly. I will have to get used to this new grip, but it shows a lot of promise. I’ll see how it works out.

One always has bad nights …

… but I’m getting the uncomfortable feeling that I wasted money on that thing. I just don’t like it. I like my Copley. I should have saved the money on the Viento and just gotten a g/d C foot for the Copley.

I’ll keep going with it just to see if there is a hump to get over, but right now, it’s looking like I just do not like Boehm flutes.