In part 1 of this guide, I explained how tubes for handmade flute headjoints are made. In this article, I’ll talk about the method I use to make a lip-plate.
It is very unlikely that you will not know at least one piece by Cecilia McDowall – even if it is the very popular Comic Song from the ABRSM grade 4 book! She isn’t a flute player, but her father, Harold Clarke, was. He was principal flute at the Royal Opera House, and professor of flute at Trinity College of Music. So it is inevitable that Cecilia would write music for us, and write it well. She is completely woven into the flute fabric in the UK, with works on exam lists and commissions ranging from contemporary solo pieces to music for large flute ensembles.
Recently there has been some debate over whether the cork assembly inside the headjoint makes a difference to the way the flute plays and feels. Many headjoint makers and flute enthusiasts have been experimenting with different materials and set-ups, and several alternatives are already available through specialist shops. In this article I want to demystify this subject and find out whether there really is truth to it.
What I am intending to do over my next few blog posts is to describe the process involved in producing a headjoint from tubes and sheet, through to the final finished product. I am not for one moment suggesting that this is the only way of making a headjoint, but it is one that works well for me.
One of the most bewildering parts of the Just Flutes catalogue is the Baroque section. All the titles seem to be the same, there are a great many composers who wrote a great many sonatas, and there are just so many editions to choose from! No wonder it’s confusing! This is a golden age of flute writing though and some of our most wonderful music comes from this period.
Over recent years in Jonathan Myall Music, we have come across more and more flute players who suffer a silver allergy – and I’m one of them. I have several allergies: silver, dust, cats, (sharp flute playing!), and have found that I can not do anything about them other than to find a way not to be exposed to the causes. However, a silver allergy really isn’t helped by playing a silver flute! If you are like me, and need help with finding an answer to this miserable problem, read on!
There are masses of accessories designed for cleaning your flute and keeping it in top playing order. Here’s our round-up of what we suggest that very flute (and piccolo) player should have in their cleaning arsenal.
Sticky pads can be infuriating. However, they are something that nearly all flute players have to put up with to some extent. Very few flutes have no stickiness at all, and to be honest, there is not that much that you can do about it!
Sometimes the best teacher you ever have will be yourself. Yes, it’s true! Many of us are used to listening to recording of ‘the greats’ performing the pieces that we are learning, and we know how they sound through our headphones, stereo or computer speakers. Why not listen to yourself like that too? By doing so, you have the opportunity to find out what it that ‘the greats’ have that you don’t (or even vice versa!).
I absolutely love the music of Amanda Fox. She is a wonderful combination of classically trained flute player and natural jazz pianist. She has an amazing way of performing her own music, her rhythmic understanding being instinctively different from the ordinary musician. She once described to me an astonishing list of styles that she has drawn from. These included Bach, Rachmaninoff, Elton John, Carol King, Debussy, Chaminade and several jazz musicians – very much a mixed bag. She is also quite a character! She never stops talking, and is infectiously enthusiastic about all she does.
If you look at your flute, you will find that all the keys are sprung open except for D#, G# and the trill keys. The
The headjoint of the flute is probably the most ‘personal’ part of the instrument. A headjoint that plays well for one person may be another player’s idea of hell! For this reason, no hard and fast rules can be given as to what makes the “best” headjoint, but a few guidelines may be useful.
Welcome to the Just Flutes blog. Our plan is that this blog will develop to become a huge resource for flute players, comprising of ideas