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Thread: Firth and Hall Flute ?'s

  1. #1
    Senior Member hawk's Avatar
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    Default Firth and Hall Flute ?'s

    I recently aquired a Firth and Hall 4 keyed flute. It seems to be in great shape ie no cracks or missing parts and it plays well. I have limited knowledge of transverse flutes especially old ones. Based on internet searches this flute was made in the early 1800's maybe 1833...

    I would like to clean it up a bit without ruining it's patina and other age qualities. I am sure it needs oiling too. Can anyone suggest where I might get some guidence with this?

    Thanks
    Peace
    Hawk

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    How did your restoration go then?

    Or did you just give up on it?

    I know I would've. Those old flutes are a nightmare to restore unless in experienced hands.

    I'd be worried that any extra moisture would lead it to crack.

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    Senior Member hawk's Avatar
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    Haven't given up on it. I've played it and oiled it with almond oil (after some online research) and it's voice seems to be awakening.
    Been looking into finding someone local who can recondition it~I have a few leads and sent a couple of e-mails. Now I have to be patient and wait for a reply.

    the most difficult part for me is NOT doing anymore work on it. I have been a flute maker for 22 years but this type of flute I have no experience with.

    I've also joined an early flute forum and have chatted with a baroque oboe maker which has been great. The more knowledge about early instruments can only help strengthen my passion for the music too!

    Thanks for asking!
    Peace
    Hawk

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    Almond oil...of course!

    I would've used jasmine oil..only because that's what Anthony did to Cleopatra to soften her mean lil' ol' spirit up

    That's good news though. Are you a wooden flute maker then?

    I dread thinking about my pied piper years as a adult wandering off in the woods with a terribly made cheap wooden flute and scared the living daylights out of any sentient animal in the area. It's quite a skill to make flutes! I'm in awe of anyone who can.

    Hmm...maybe that is the way to rejuvenate love for baroque music....or flute music?

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    Senior Member hawk's Avatar
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    Jasmine oil to soften Cleopatra Ha!

    Yes I make Native American flutes using a variety of woods. I use no power tools just hand tools to make them. Wouldn't mind trying a treadle lathe though...

    Interestingly I haven't learned yet to appreciate baroque flute music yet. Oh sure I like some of Telemanns and Bachs works that have flute in it but not pieces that feature flute ~well I better rethink this. Badenerie (Bachs Orchestral suite no 7) has lot's of flute and it is exhilarating to me!!
    Peace
    Hawk

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    Do native American flutes play differently from other ethnic flutes e.g. fingering/blow holes etc?

    I know very litte about flutes other than the standard Boehm types.

    The flute repertoire I'm liking is the modern stuff! I never realised existed when I used to play flute. Too many gavottes, sarabandes and minuets did my brain in. Now I'm a bit more open to contemporary flute stuff and really lovin' it

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    Senior Member hawk's Avatar
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    There are many traditions surrounding Native Flute ~ materials, sound mechanisms, tuning/voicing, dimensions etc were as varied as the people themselves.
    Historically, for example, some flutes were a hollow tume which was played by blowing across the edge similar to shakuhachi or quena. Other flutes were two chambered with a piece called sadlle or bird or bridge tied to the top. It's job was to direct air exiting from the first chamber to the entrance of the next chamber where it would hit the splitting edge and make sound.
    Some flutes were designed to use the index finger rather than the saddle. These flutes had only 3 playing holes and were made by Native Peoples in California.

    Many flute makers today use the two chambered saddle type of configuration. Tuning is becoming very standardized, which I have mixed feelings about. Pentatonic scales are used with these flutes today but in the past a flute was made and tuned according to the players physical measurements.
    I really love the individual uniqueness of a flute built this way. These flutes were meant to be played solo but as more and more people are playing them and desire to play with other instruments standardizing is necessary~I guess...

    What flute music do you like now?
    Last edited by hawk; Aug-31-2010 at 02:35. Reason: OMS
    Peace
    Hawk

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    Thanks for the explanation! They sound fascinating!

    With the native American flute - is it played from ear, or by musical notation?

    I totally agree about tuning to a a player's physical measurements. I don't really enjoy flute as an accompaniment to other instruments and prefer its solo characteristics.

    One reason why I stopped playing flute was because I only ever played baroque or early classical stuff with it (this was our exam requirements). So stuff by Gariboldi, Camus, Berbiguier, Chaminade, Beethoven, Schumann, and maybe an Arietta by Grieg or an gavotte by Grieg would be the most exciting thing.

    These days, I like I modern flute repertoire - Willy Schneider (not Georg Schneider); Braun, Gasser, Gorecki, Ireland, Rouse, even Reinecke.

    I have never ever heard CDs or music of solo flute by these composers, so the only way I have to hear them is if I play them.

    The ones I have heard - by Sariaaho, Slowinski, Meyer, Denisov, Gubaidulina, Honneger, Frank Martin, Debussy (is ok...maybe a bit overrated), the Nordic composers collected on the Gunilla von Bahr album - I've only started to discover this year. Before that, I think one of the problems about enjoying flute playing is finding appealing music.

    I love Irish music and used to have a few penny whistles. But most of the music was learnt aurally which made it very hard to advance or develop further. Same with Eastern shakuhachi flute repertoire. At best, I might learn a few tunes, and then hit a player's block and go no further because of the absence of a model to develop further i.e. I can imitate play of Eastern melodies or Irish music, but I don't have the essence of the folk styles engrained, so I never really am happy with my development in this direction.

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