Showing posts with label Woodwind Instruments. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Woodwind Instruments. Show all posts

Monday, December 3, 2018

Learn To Play a SHAKUHACHI FLUTE

Flute
Shakuhachi - Photo Vijay (CC) 
The Shakuhachi Flute is definitely one of the most popular musical instruments that people love to have in their homes and learn to play in Japan. According to musical history, the Shakuhachi flute has been traced back as far as ancient Egypt and is thought to have migrated through India and China before being brought back to Japan by monks who were studying abroad in China during the 6th century.

Even though Shakuhachi Flutes look different from other flutes of the world and it looks very simple, remember that it can be difficult to learn how to play. Be patient with yourself if you want to become proficient with this instrument. Your practice and work will be well worth it because the sound of a Shakuhachi is very unique and rewarding.

If you are interested in learning to play a Shakuhachi flute one option is to try to teach yourself. Yes, it is possible for someone to learn to play the Shakuhachi flute in their own homes like learning guitar and piano. If you don’t have time to spare for formal lessons, even those taken at home, teaching yourself the flute may be a good option. Fortunately, there are tons of resources that you can pick to gain knowledge and learning. If you don’t have time to buy musical books at the bookstore then you can browse and download instructions or guidelines from the internet. In fact, there are a lot of flute packages these days that can be purchased online that come with comprehensive instructions on how to play the flute.



Obviously taking flute lessons from an experienced player and teacher is definitely much better, just to make sure that you are learning the instrument properly and correctly. A certified and professional flute teacher can show you exactly the proper technique when it comes to playing the Shakuhachi Flute. There are many flute teachers out there however if you want to learn fast and easy make sure to think about the basic things before taking their lessons: see if they are certified and if they have been teaching flute for a while now.

Have they been working long enough to be known as one of the best teachers out there? Check with their previous students and get their feedback. Are they affordable or worth spending your money and time with? And lastly, do you feel comfortable learning with them? Good luck and have fun learning to play the Shakuhachi flute!



Saturday, November 24, 2018

How to Make a BAMBOO FLUTE For Homemade Music

Bansuri, a bamboo flute popular in India. The ...
Bansuri, a bamboo flute popular in India.
The picture shows a 23-inch long flute often used in concerts
 (Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
Want to know how to make a bamboo flute for your own homemade music? Flute making with bamboo can be really simple, as most of the work is done for you by way of the natural hollows that are grown into the bamboo. However, there's just a little bit of math involved in figuring out how to make a flute the right length for the fundamental note (the lowest not that you can play, with all fingers covering every hole), and for how to make flute finger-hole placements precise, as well as the embouchure (blowing edge hole). The one, simple, all-important mathematical formula to do the job, is really very easy to understand. Allow me to show you...

To understand how to make a bamboo flute, you'll need to be aware of two basic numbers in flute making in order to make perfect homemade music. The numbers to know for how to make a flute with perfect tuning are; the linear measurement for how far sound travels per second, and; the number of Hertz (the vibratory frequency) of any particular notes you will have the flute play. But to correctly gauge the sound, first, we need to know how to make flute embouchures. For this example, we'll use a transverse (or "side-blown") flute. It's very simple - make the hole for this be about half the width of the bore diameter, and have the hole's center point be situated at one bore diameter's distance from the inside of the closed end. Bevel one edge on the inside at an acute angle for the best "airstream splitting edge".

Okay, now for the numbers and how to use them in making our bamboo flute, and superb homemade music. The distance sound travels per second, at sea level, and at about 70 degrees F (or 21 degrees C), is 13526.5 inches (or 34357.31 centimeters). Now you take the frequency number of the note, which for this example we'll say the fundamental note will be "A", which would be 440, and divide the previous number by this one. What you will get is the length of one wavelength for this note, in this case, 30.74 inches, or 70.08 centimeters.



How to make a flute body the correct length for this is now to divide this measurement by two, which would make it about 15 3/8 inches, or 35.04 centimeters. You'll find that due to other factors in flute making, such as bore diameter and flute body wall thickness, you may need to shorten this a little bit more to get the note precisely - do this a little at a time. Use this same formula to find out how to make flute finger-hole placements along the length according to the notes you wish them to play, and there you have it!

    If you'd like to learn more about how to make a bamboo flute, flutes of various types and varieties, or any homemade instruments of woodwinds, percussion instruments or strings with precision, feel free visit my website on how to make your own music with professional quality homemade musical instruments that you can make yourself, at http://rockfreakinsolid.com - these ain't your children's paper plate tambourines, shoebox and rubber band guitars, or butter bucket drums!

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Monday, November 12, 2018

How to Develop a Great FLUTE Embouchure

Català: Detall de l'embocadura d'una flauta tr...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Learn how to develop a great flute embouchure and you are well on your way to being a great flutist.

Embouchure is a French term for the position of the lips and facial muscles used when producing a sound on a wind instrument.

Keep the following steps in mind...

1) The facial muscles and lips should be relaxed.

A tight embouchure with the corners of the lips pulled back and lips stretched produces strain and stress, a puny sound, and tires the player quickly.

Strained facial muscles inhibit the air from flowing freely out of the body. It's like putting your hand over a garden hose--the water is slowed down.

Try these exercises...
a) Pout as if you are unhappy or angry.
b) Imagine the corners of your mouth are reaching down to the floor. 
c) Roll your bottom lip out and try to hold a pencil with your bottom lip.

2) Keep the lower jaw relaxed as well.  Imagine this...
a) You are holding a golf ball in your mouth.
b) Your lower jaw is falling off your face onto the floor.
c) Try to yawn with your lips closed.

3) Concentrate the strength and power in your abdominal area. 

That's where the airstream originates.  You need a fast airstream pushed from the abdominal muscle up through your lungs and out the mouth. If your lips are strained, this gets in the way of that rushing air coming out and your tone is not nearly as vibrant as it could be.

Keep these important elements in mind and you will develop a great flute embouchure.



Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Oldest MUSICAL INSTRUMENT Unleashed By A Cave

Prehistoric flute made of bone
A prehistoric flute made of bone (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Music undoubtedly plays an important part in any sophisticated culture. But the fact that ancient people had a great longing for music might surprise you. The people of that time were not equipped with the modern accessories such as pedal extenders, adjustable piano bench or the sheet music cabinet space, but they certainly knew how to make musical instruments. One such civilization is known to exist in Europe. They used to make a flute out of the bone of a vulture. This flute was structured by drilling appropriate holes in the wing bone of a griffon vulture. The interesting part is that this flute has been recently excavated and is known to be the oldest musical instrument found.

Exhumed from a cave in Germany, the existence of this flute indicates that the people of that civilization had a good taste for music. Probably by now, you will be able to imagine how one of the first inhabitants of Europe used to enjoy the sound of the flute and drums by dancing around a campfire. As told by the archeologists, the flute is around 35,000 years old. But no real surprises there, as every civilization has a history of music. The way music is widespread today; there is no question to its prevalence back in the ancient times.

Moreover, you would not disagree with the fact that music probably has its roots even in ancient times which are not a part of recorded history. However, the discovery of this flute reveals that this was the first time when people started making musical instruments that can last for a long time. And as you can see, they were more than successful in their attempt.

Obviously, this cave was inhabited for millenniums otherwise it would not have provided such a clear view of the past civilizations. The cave protected the artifacts of the past quite well. Or else, how could you have possibly imagined a flute lying in the depths of the cave in a nearly original form for almost 35,000 years? Well, the idea seems quite perplexing. But all thanks to the excavation technology, today's archeologists have been able to get hold of a great piece of archeology.

Interestingly, the cave from where this instrument was excavated was the same from where a 40,000 year Venus statuette was found. For all those readers, this statuette is the oldest known sculpture of a female form. Besides this, the cave also had other beautiful artifacts including inscriptions and carvings. Various carvings of a horse's or bear's head; a water bird in flight; and other chimera forms of human and lion give an insight into the artistic taste of those people during that time.



This is not all, as another restructured form of the same flute was found further deep into the cave. Sadly, this one was found in 12 pieces buried under the floor of the cave. It is also believed that the cave will unleash more archeological assets in future that will surely leave one wide-eyed with excitement.



Friday, October 5, 2018

CLARINET Tone and Tuning

English: Bb- and A-Clarinet, German System (wi...
Bb- and A-Clarinet
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)



The enjoyment of musical performance by both the performer and listener depends on several factors apart from the work being performed, two of these are the instruments tonal qualities and its tuning.

The clarinet tone is dependent on the design and construction of the instrument, the clarinet reed and the skill of the player developed over many years of practice.

Instrument design and construction has gradually been improved over the years and quality instruments are now capable of producing a very fine tone indeed, given a good quality instrument the bore of the Clarinet will affect the tone and this has become a fashion thing which has varied over the years, a slightly larger diameter bore will produce more of a mellow tone than a smaller bore which would be referred to as a bright sound, however, it must be recognized that the player has a great influence on the sound produced.

Factors affecting tone are the air supply and how the player controls its flow into the instrument with the tongue together with the lips controlling the reed, a steady flow of air into the instrument is achieved by control from the diaphragm, I prefer to think of it as breathing into the instrument rather than blowing. A fine tone can only be developed by playing long sustained notes and slow tunes as part of the daily practice over the formative years, in fact, this aspect of practice should always be part of the daily routine.

Clarinet tuning is, of course, a very important part of the player's activity, and yet it is an activity which is frequently misunderstood by conductors and players, modern quality clarinets have come a long way in this respect the over the past fifty years but we still see players setting up their instruments incorrectly.

The availability of affordable electronic tuners certainly helps but the recognition of the correct procedure is frequently missing. The body of most common instrument pitched in B flat is made in five parts, starting at the top we have the mouthpiece, the barrel, the upper joint, the lower joint and the bell.

At the end of the mouthpiece and the upper and lower joints cork covered tenon's push into the barrel and the bell, the method of tuning most frequently adopted is to warm up the instrument by playing for a few minutes, temperature will cause the pitch to rise, and then with the joints pushed together play B with all holes covered, this will be a little sharp, then pull out the barrel to lower the pitch to the correct level, unfortunately this approach will put some parts of the instruments range out of tune!

The correct method of tuning is to start with all fingers off, this will give open G then adjust the barrel to bring G into tune, then play B with all holes covered and pull out the center joint to bring B into tune, a good instrument will then be in tune over most of its range, the highest register, above top C may need adjustment on some notes with the players embouchure.

    Adrian McQuire
    Amateur Clarinetist for over 55 years

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Friday, September 28, 2018

The Asian Elegance of the WILLOW FLUTE

A simple willow whistle.
A simple willow whistle. 
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The willow flute is simple in design, as is the case with most flutes. It differs from most others, however, in that it does not have any finger holes to manipulate the sound that it emits. It has a fipple mouthpiece, meaning that the air escapes from a small hole just below where the musician blows into the instrument. The willow flute is also known as a sallow flute and was created by the Scandinavians and was often used in their traditional folk music. It is certainly a unique instrument that has its own unique sound and one that has been around for a fairly long time.

When the willow flute was first created, it was made out of the bark of willow trees and this is where its name came from. Today, this flute is often made out of plastic, like other types of flute such as the fife or recorder. When looking at how a willow or sallow flute is played, one might be curious at how one can alter the sound to create different notes.

Most other flutes have either finger holes or holes with keys that would allow a musician to manipulate the sound made by the flute in order to make different notes. This particular flute, however, does not have any finger holes; instead, the musician alters the sound that is made by the willow or sallow flute by changing the amount of air they blow into the instrument. To be more exact, the musician alters the pressure of the air blown into the instrument. The sound is also changed by the musician covering or uncovering the end of the willow flute. Covering the end of the flute actually creates certain overtones while leaving the end of the flute open allows for a different set of overtones to be created.

The willow or sallow flute is certainly unique in many different ways. First, its design is quite a difference from how other more typical flutes are created in that it does not have any finger holes drilled into the tube. It is also unique in the sound that it can create. While it may seem odd in how it is played in order to created different sounds, it is not an overly difficult instrument to learn. It can be quite challenging at first, but once someone gets used to it the instrument can be quite easy to play. It is not an overly expensive instrument and can be easier to acquire than other, more complicated instruments.



It may not be the best for a beginner, but it can be an instrument that a more experienced musician might enjoy. It can be more difficult for someone who is new to playing music because it is not like playing a recorder or some other basic flute. A person playing this particular instrument has to have good control of their breathing in order to create the sounds that they want. Once this is mastered, the instrument can be quite rewarding in the music that it can allow one to create.



Tuesday, August 21, 2018

OBOE MUSIC for Beginners (Part One) – A review of Oboe Tutor Books

An oboe
An oboe (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
When I began to play the oboe back in the late 1950’s, my teacher started me off with Otto Langey’s book, The Oboe. Although not ideal oboe music for beginners it was all that was available. Since that time a number of alternatives have become available, - some are learning methods and some are books of pieces for young players.

As an experienced player and teacher of the oboe, I have used a variety of material in oboe lessons over the years; - some of it is still available and some not. In this article, I will review the books that I have found particularly helpful and which, to the best of my knowledge, are still available today.


“A Tune a Day for Oboe” When I first began to teach in about 1972 this was the book most widely used, indeed it was one of the very few books of oboe music for beginners around at the time. It is still available although not used as often as it used to be. It is a fairly comprehensive book made up of a part tutor, part study book, and part easy pieces. The order in which the notes are introduced is a little questionable in my view but there is a nice balance of exercises and tunes used for each new note or technique introduced. The tunes selected are a mixture of the familiar and the unfamiliar which is good. Some of the tunes in the first half of the book are in duet form, with a second part for the teacher to play. Some of the later music is arranged in duet or trio form for a group of students to play. “A Tune a Day” does have quite a lot to commend it but I always found it a slightly dull book, both for student and teacher.

“Learn as you play oboe” This book dates back to 1980 and quickly took over from “A Tune a Day” as the most used of the oboe tutor books. There were a few others which cropped up at about that time as I remember, but they quickly sank without trace. The approach of this book was fairly similar to “A Tune a Day” but with the addition of three sets of Concert Pieces for which piano accompaniments could be purchased. These pieces quickly found themselves on to the Associated Board syllabus at appropriate grades. This book was followed up by a book of First Repertoire Pieces (with piano accompaniments) which also found their way on to the exam boards. My assessment of this book is very similar to that of A Tune a Day in that it is rather dull and uninspiring. Also, the sequence in which the notes are taught is not entirely to my liking.

“Team Woodwind” I am not, and never have been a fan of any kind of band method. It is a concept which does not sit easily with me. I have included this book in my appraisal of oboe music for beginners as I know that some teachers like this particular approach or are pushed into it by circumstances. I have always believed that we begin by working in like-instrument groups (i.e. - with other oboes) before branching out when we are ready into woodwind ensembles and, later, bands and orchestras. Putting different woodwind instruments together too soon I feel is a mistake! “Team Woodwind” is a well-produced book with a reasonable collection of material but it is not for me.


“Abracadabra Oboe” When it came on the market back in 1990, Abracadabra Oboe was the book I had been waiting for since beginning to teach. The sequence in which the notes are taught is absolutely spot-on and the balance between learning material and tunes is excellent. There is also a very good balance between known tunes and the unfamiliar. The only shame is that this book did not materialize 20 years sooner. Material from this book has, not surprisingly, been adopted by the exam boards for the earlier grade exams too which makes it an ideal choice for beginner oboe players.

The three key issues in any oboe tutor must be:

1) The introduction of notes and techniques must be in a logical and helpful order.

2) The layout must be attractive to the eye of the beginner oboist.

3) Most important of all, the book must inspire and motivate young oboists to practice and, therefore, progress.

So, when assessing oboe music for beginners, in my personal opinion, based on many years of both playing and teaching, Abracadabra does all these three things in a way which no other oboe tutor does and provides an ideal starting point for anyone who wishes to learn to play the oboe.

Robert Hinchliffe is a professional oboist, composer, teacher, conductor, and music director. This article is based upon over 35 years of both playing and teaching the oboe. If you have found this article interesting and would like to know more about the oboe, please visit http://www.oboeplaying.co.uk.




Monday, August 20, 2018

GEMEINHARDT FLUTES and the Historical Evolution of the FLUTE

Gemeinhardt is the world's largest exclusive maker of piccolos and flutes, making musical instruments for all level players from beginning students to professionals. Kurt Gemeinhardt was born in Germany and served as an apprentice to his father, also a flute maker. In fact, Kurt Gemeinhardt was a fourth generation flute maker. It is no wonder that Gemeinhardt has had a significant influence on the evolution of the flute in the 20th century.

In 1928 Kurt moved to Elkhart, Indiana, America's mid-20th century capital for musical instrument production. In 1948 he opened his own manufacturing plant called The Gemeinhardt Company. Gemeinhardt specialized in all-silver flutes, and in 1952 the plant had to be expanded to accommodate orders. Later, Gemeinhardt also made entry level flutes and other intermediate models.

In the late 1990s, Gemeinhardt acquired Roy Seaman Piccolo Company, which was famous for its handmade granadilla wood piccolos that are in demand from professionals the world over. Today, Gemeinhardt makes a range of flutes, including piccolos, student, intermediate, and professional flutes, bass flutes, and alto flutes.

The company is now part of a parent organization, Gemstone Musical Instruments, also based in Elkhart Indiana. Gemstone makes and distributes every level flute under a variety of names, including Gemeinhardt, which has a long reputation as a company that makes excellent flutes with beautiful intonation.

You can still occasionally find a hand-crafted Gemeinhardt flute from the 1960s - some of them made by Kurt Gemeinhardt himself. These are amazing instruments, many of which feature an open hole design, which allows for a richer, more lush tone. Anyone lucky enough to find a solid silver open hole flute from the 1960s will pay several thousand dollars for it, but in addition to its inherent quality and craftsmanship, it will have a long history to go with it, and might just have been held in the hands of the great Kurt Gemeinhardt himself.



Saturday, August 11, 2018

Band Instrument Repair - FLUTE - The Foot Joint

Flute
Photo  by Khairil Zhafri 
The foot joint of the flute consists of 3 keys on a C flute and 4 keys if there is a low B on the foot. The foot joint keys are the property of the baby finger of the right hand. The keys are made in such a way as to be pushed in different combinations by the baby finger.


One of the weakest points on the flute is where the foot joint joins the body. This is called the lower tenon and can be easily damaged. The foot joint can become loose and cause air leakage and loss of sound or become to tight and be very difficult to remove or put on. This can lead to numerous problems. The fact is that the foot joint is long, almost 6 inches in some cases, and the tendon that supports its weight is only half an inch long. Supporting that much weight and length as well as being constantly put under the pressure of the keys being pushed down can tend to take it's toll if not maintained.

Like the body of the flute, the foot joint keys, springs and pads have to be maintained. Replacing, leveling, and seating all have to be done in order to have the keys seal correctly and thus allow the lower notes to play.

Almost all of the keys of the flute work in conjunction with one or more other keys. This means that when you press down on one key it may also cause one or more other keys to be pressed down at the same time. These keys have to be regulated so that when it is required that two or more keys close at the same time, it has to be the same time or you will have loss of sound and the flute won't play. Regulating the keys so that they work in this fashion is probably the most vital repair of the instrument. It requires a delicate balance of bending and leveling the keys as well as seating the pads better and adjusting spring tensions.

The final result of all of this should be a flute that is solid feeling, with no rattles or excessive key noise. No sticky pads or loose feeling keys. When you press the keys it should be very light pressure with a big sound and minimal effort. The last thing you want when you are playing the flute or any instrument really is to be fighting with the physicalness of it instead of just enjoying the artistic and creative nature of it.

To sum it up, you need to have respect for the instrument you are playing and give it the attention it needs. Care and maintenance mean that it will always perform the way it is intended to play and you will enjoy your creativity uninterrupted by physical glitches.



Friday, August 3, 2018

Japanese Zen Flute SHAKUHACHI - History, Information and Facts

La fête de la musique 2014 au musée Guimet (Paris)

The shakuhachi is a Japanese end-blown flute. It is the Japanese most well-known woodwind instrument. The shakuhachi flute (or also known as Zen flute) is used by Zen Buddhist as a tool for meditation as well as playing jazz, classical and traditional Japanese folk music. This flute is made from the very bottom of a bamboo tree, but versions now exist in ABS and hardwoods.


Although the bamboo flute is quite simple in appearance, it is very difficult to play; its unique and magical quality is revealed to the listeners by the purity of its tone. In the hands of a master, the flute produces an extraordinary, subtle, sensual music – prized as being perfect for meditation and relaxation. Its beautiful, soulful sound made it popular in 80’s pop music in the English-speaking world.

The name shakuhachi is derived from the term “isshaku hassun” meaning one shaku and eight suns (1.8 Japanese feet). Usually, the term shakuhachi refers to the standard size instrument, which is 54.5 cm in length, but it can also refer to many different sizes ranging from 1.3 – 2.5 shaku (39.4 – 75.7 cm) and longer. The shakuhachi is usually made from the root portion of a thick-walled bamboo (known as madake in Japanese).


There are two contrasting styles of making these instruments: the first involves using a style that is similar to the Zen Buddhist monks from the past. There is no filler in this shakuhachi and it is also sometimes called as ji nashi or hocchiku. If you look down the bore of a ji nashi, you can see some nodes of the bamboo protruding. While the second style has a filler made up of a certain mixture of ingredients, possibly including a powder called tonoko, lacquer or urushi and water. This is finished to create a polished surface.

Shakuhachi can be made in one piece (it is called as nobekan) or in two pieces with a middle joint (this also called as nakatsuki). Two of them has no difference in quality, only the two piece is easier to transport and often contains filler. The top part of shakuhachi is called utaguchi – literally ‘song mouth’, and this contains an insert made of various materials such as buffalo horn, ivory and plastic. Its shape is based on the preference of different schools.

Shakuhachi flute is possibly the simplest non-percussive instrument ever conceived. This instrument has no keys or pads like a western flute, no strings like a violin or guitar, no mechanism inside like organ or piano, no reed like a clarinet or saxophone, it does not even have a mouthpiece like a recorder. Zen flute has only five finger holes, which is fewer than the penny whistle or much other wind instruments. To play a note, your mouth and lips must become part of the instrument. Despite this simple construction, this instrument can produce an inconceivably broad range of musical sounds


The Zen flute came from China to Japan sometime in the 6th century. The instrument was then adopted by a sect of Zen Buddhist monks around the 15th century. During this period, the flutes began to be made from the spiked root section of the bamboo – so the flute could double as a particularly ferocious weapon. That probably explains the flute’s long association with the martial arts.


By Susan Wong
Feng shui bamboo flutes
are used to ward off the bad chi whereas the lucky bamboo plants are used to attract wealth.
Article Source: EzineArticles



Monday, July 30, 2018

I Grew Up On A CLARINET

Clarinet with a Boehm System.
Clarinet with a Boehm System.
(Photo credit: 
Wikipedia)
For the most part, I loved my childhood. I loved growing up in a house full of brothers and sisters. I always had a playmate and there was never a dull moment. We had a great family time and my mother was the most amazing cook. We all had to take lessons of all kinds from the time we were really young. I remember being forced into trying piano and clarinet from around the time I started elementary school. At first, I was quite excited about the piano and quite hesitant about learning the clarinet.

My feelings changed rather quickly, however, when I began showing a natural talent for the clarinet. I had trouble mastering the ivories of the piano and my mouth and fingers just naturally worked together on the clarinet in a way that my mom said sounded just like magic. I think she might have said that simply because she wanted to inspire me to stick with the instrument for her own listening pleasure.

I'm not exactly sure when it happened, but eventually, I came to enjoy playing the clarinet as much as my mother loved hearing me play. I guess I liked it because it was the one way I stood out from among my siblings. In a large family, I had to take any opportunity I could get to stand out and make a name for myself. The clarinet was my opportunity and I grabbed ahold of it with all I could.

I signed up for private lessons after school and I became a part of every local band and orchestra that would accept me. I guess my perfectionism was evident even from these early years. All of my hard work paid off when I was offered a scholarship to a well-known music conservatory where I went for three years after high school. My parents could not be more proud of me, except I think they were a little concerned that I would not make a career out of clarinet and would be stuck poor and leaning on them.

My time in the conservatory led me to get a master's in music education and I have found my calling as a teacher of clarinet at a local university. It is my privilege to use my love for the clarinet and my talents to help other students achieve their dreams with the clarinet as well. So follow your dreams, whatever they are. For me, it was the clarinet. I'm so glad that I grew up playing it.



Saturday, July 28, 2018

BASS CLARINET - Music-instruments of the World

Bass Clarinet - Music-instruments of the World



Friday, July 20, 2018

Beginning CLARINET: The Very Start

clarinet

Like starting with any instrument, beginning clarinet is a process of learning that involves both great achievement and the occasional setback. However, if the beginning clarinetist follows a few tips relating to clarinet care and clarinet playing, the success is sure to outweigh the setbacks.

The first thing that a new clarinet player should learn is to put together their instrument properly, and how to hold it. One of the important things when putting a clarinet together is not to force any part into another, and that the side lever is up when the lower and upper parts are put together, otherwise bent keys could be the result.

This type of care should be extended to all parts of the clarinet - while it is inevitable that reeds will eventually split, they will last longer with careful care. The clarinet itself will last longer and have less need for repair if it is looked after properly, which includes cleaning after each time it is played and being put in its case properly.

One of the most difficult things for the beginning clarinetist is getting the embouchure correct. The embouchure is how the lips are shaped to hold the mouthpiece and create the correct vibration of the reed. Make sure that the bottom teeth are covered by the bottom lip and that the top teeth are touching the mouthpiece, but not clamping down too tight. It is normal for beginner clarinet players to have a lot of squeaking! As you continue to learn and practice, this annoying part of beginner clarinet playing should disappear.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A First Look at the OBOE

A Musician's Fingers
Oboe - Photo by Ksayer1 
If you are just learning about the oboe, you are about to learn that there is a lot to learn!

While this article is by no means an exhaustive look at the oboe, we'll try to cover the basic stuff to give you a better idea of this beautiful instrument.

The oboe is a double reed (which means that two pieces of wood vibrate together to make the sound) instrument that is directly descended from the 16th-century shawm. While the shawm might be considered the great-grandfather of the oboe, its sound (which was LOUD and annoying) changed quite a bit before it became the modern day oboe.

Oboes are usually made of grenadilla wood, but sometimes, in an effort to produce slightly different tone colors, other woods are used. The oboe has sterling silver keys and is made up of three "joints:"
  • a lower joint
  • an upper joint 
  • and a slightly flared bell
The sound is produced by using a reed made of two blades of cane which vibrate together.

Pitched in "C," the oboe's pitch range starts at the Bb below middle C on the piano and ends roughly 2 ½ octaves above that, around a G. For the adventurer, higher notes are possible though less comfortable and less frequently called for in music written for the oboe.

The oboe has a narrow conical bore, making its timbre focused and penetrating. The French word for oboe, "hautbois." Hautbois literally translates to "high-," "strong-," "loud-," or "principal-wood," depending on its various spellings. Some people say that the oboe sounds a bit like a duck. Track down a recording of Prokofiev's Peter and the Wolf for a great example of this.

The oboe is often played in groups of two or three in orchestras and bands and is used in many combinations for chamber music. It is primarily a melody instrument and, because of its lyrical and mournful timbre, is often used for very emotional sections of music.

Good examples include:
  • Stravinsky - Symphony in C
  • Barber - Summer Music
  • Gabriel's Oboe
One of the oboe's most important jobs is that of "tuner" in an orchestra. Listen carefully to the beginning of an orchestra concert with oboes in it and you will hear the oboe player play a tuning "A" from which the entire orchestra takes their pitch.

There are actually 4 different instruments within the oboe family, which cover the soprano, alto, tenor, and bass ranges. The oboe itself is the most soprano of its direct family. The second most common instrument in the oboe family is its tenor version, the English horn.

The English horn, or "Cor Anglais," is pitched a 5th below the oboe, in "F," and is fingered almost exactly like its smaller sibling. The range of the English horn begins at a written B below middle C and goes up to about concert "C." Like the oboe, it consists of an upper and lowers joint, but it has a bulbous bell at the lower end which makes it look quite different. English horn players also use a bocal, onto which the reed is attached.

The sound of the English horn is similar in quality to the oboe, but because it is larger and lower, its timbre is a bit more mysterious and sorrowful. The English horn is often used in the band and orchestra, though less often in chamber music. It is quite common for the 2nd oboist of an ensemble to have to "double" on English horn, having to switch back and forth from the oboe as his/her part dictates.

Famous English horn solos include:
  • Rossini - William Tell Overture
  • Dvorak - New World Symphony
The oboe's alto family member is the oboe d'amore, which means "oboe of love." This instrument looks like a small version of the English horn, with the same bulbous shaped bell and curved bocal. It sounds a minor 3rd lower than the oboe, is pitched in concert "A," and again fingered almost exactly like the oboe.

The oboe d'amore's sound is truly distinctive, being reminiscent of its soprano and tenor relatives, but more muted and sweet. It is often used in pairs and most frequently in Baroque music, especially that of J.S. Bach. Check out the beautiful solos and duets for oboes d'amore in the following Bach pieces:
  • B Minor Mass
  • Christmas Cantatas
  • Concerto for Oboe D'amore
The oboe d'amore does not often appear in ensemble pieces after the Baroque era, though one of its most famous orchestra solos was written by Ravel, in Bolero.

The oboe's bass family member is the Bass oboe, which is the most obscure of the oboe family members. The bass oboe is pitched in "C," like the oboe, but sounds an octave lower than its written pitches. It looks like a very large English horn and is played with the same fingerings, but its bocal is more drastically curved.

The popularity of the bass oboe was brief and is rarely used today. One of the few orchestral pieces which employ the bass oboe is Holst's The Planets. Its murky and atmospheric timbre is well suited to a piece about outer space.


The oboe and its relatives all use a double reed, but the reed is different for each instrument. Basically, the bigger and lower the instrument, the bigger the reed is. The oboe's reed is the only reed with an attached cork, the others being on metal tubes which slip directly onto a bocal. From its soprano to bass ranges, the oboe family covers a wide spectrum of tones colors, though remains lyrical and poignant in all its versions.

The oboe is a beautiful instrument to play although it can take quite some time to master. Even producing a sound can be quite a challenge for a beginner.


    Oboist and entrepreneur Maryn Leister helps beginner, intermediate and professional oboists become happier oboe players.

    She is the owner of the oboe learning company MKL Reeds and publisher of the Reed Report and Oboe Success Tips Newsletters.  Each newsletter is full of straightforward tips on becoming a better oboe player and on taking control of your oboe reeds.

    Get your free subscription to the Reed Report newsletter and start your own journey towards a more rewarding oboe future right away.  Sign-Up now and get your FREE Oboe Reed Tips!

    Article Source: EzineArticles - A First Look at the Oboe


Tuesday, June 19, 2018

PAN FLUTE - Music-Instruments of the World

Pan Flute - Music-Instruments of the World



Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Do You Want to Learn the CLARINET?

Clarinet with a Boehm System.
Clarinet with a Boehm System. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The clarinet is the second highest sounding instrument of the woodwind family which consists of flute, clarinet, oboe, and bassoon. It was invented by Johann Denner around 1690 and in the 1800's Klose adapted the Boehm flute system to the clarinet making it playing in all keys. It came into general use around the time of Mozart and beyond. Here is some information to help you decide if you want to learn the clarinet.

The clarinet has been made from a variety of materials including wood, plastic, hard rubber, metal, resin, and ivory. Grenada is a popular material used by professional musicians and most modern inexpensive clarinets are made form resonite ( plastic resin ). It looks like a long cylindrical tube with keys down the length of the tube covered by keys. The upper end is shaped like a mouthpiece and the lower end opens out like a bell shape. One side of the mouthpiece is flattened to allow the single reed made up of a single piece of cane to be fixed to it.

Clarinet players hold the instrument in front of them and produce a sound by blowing through the single reed on the mouthpiece, thus making the reed vibrate against the mouthpiece. The various sounds are created when the player presses down the keys and hinged rings such that movable pads cover the holes, in different configurations or finger patterns. The clarinet produces a mellow tone with a brilliant upper sound. The range of notes the clarinet can produce is over three octaves from E below middle C on the piano upwards to a C three octaves higher.

There are more than twelve types of clarinet with varying sizes and pitches, hence they make up the clarinet family. Many are rare or obsolete. The most common ones used today are the clarinet in Bb and clarinet in A. Both are used in orchestras depending on the key of the piece.

Clarinets are used in jazz and classical ensembles eg the orchestra, concert bands, in chamber groups, and as a solo instrument. They are rarely used in rock or pop music. There are usually two to three clarinet players in an orchestra each having different parts and changing between the clarinet in A and clarinet in Bb. A popular chamber group which the oboe takes part in is the wind quartet which consists of 1 flute, 1 clarinet, 1 oboe, 1 bassoon, 1 french horn. And it is combined with other instruments in various groupings.

Some famous clarinet players include Benny Goodman, Artie Shaw, Woody Herman, Sabine Meyer, Julian Bliss, Richard Stoltzman.



Gearbest Clarinet Reed Trimmer
Clarinet Reed Trimmer

Thursday, May 17, 2018

BAMBOO FLUTES

a saluang (bamboo flute) from West-Sumatra
A saluang (bamboo flute) from West-Sumatra (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
One of the many materials used to create the musical instruments known as flutes is bamboo. This is a tradition that stems back to the early generations of Australia and the Aborigines. The Chinese are also well known for using bamboo to create flutes but they are believed to have been directly influenced by those found in Australia.

Each of the flutes was hand carved from sticks of bamboo and then holes were placed in them for the fingers. A location towards the top of it was for the person to blow air into. The way the fingers covered up the holes was what determined what sounds that the flute produced. This is very similar to what most people know as a recorder. Bamboo flutes can be good for children to learn on too before they move on to more advanced models.

Today you can buy bamboo flutes to play as well but you need to be patient in getting on. Each of them is made custom and it can take up to six months before you order will be processed. Yet you will end up with a flute that is original and that you can make music with. They are also very beautiful so you will want to display it when you can for others to see.

Most bamboo flutes don’t have all of the musical ranges with them though. You can get them custom made with particular keys in place though. The majority of bamboo flutes out there though are in D minor. They also feature seven holes for the fingers to cover. You will definitely notice a different sound coming from a bamboo flute though. It is a very low and deep sound that is interesting. It is quite different though from the soft sound you get with a nickel flute.

Bamboo flutes often run a couple of hundred dollars due to the amount of detail that goes into the workmanship. Many of them are imported from other countries too. You can find them online as well as listen to the various sounds they offer. For those that enjoy the flute, this can be a great item to add to the mix.



Sunday, May 13, 2018

Band Instrument Repair - FLUTE - Body

Western concert flute 1
Western concert flute (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now the body of the flute is quite intricate. There are 18 keys on the body of a C flute. The number of springs can vary somewhat but it is around 13 give or take.

The springs can be made of steel or copper or bronze. Steel is the best and easiest to work on. They have to be adjusted for the right strength. They can be too weak, which can cause closing problems and leaks. Also, they can be too strong which can cause the same problem. You have to get a feel for the exact strength and that can vary from flute to flute. Some springs need to be replaced and that in itself can be very tedious indeed. Also, for the first while, as a beginner in flute repair you stab yourself with these little springs and it really hurts to put it mildly!

The pads also need to be taken care of and need to be replaced or reseated. They are made of felt and covered with 2 layers of fish bladder. I have no idea why they use fish bladder. Pads can get torn or punctured or just plain worn out. They are vital and cannot leak or the flute will lose some or all of it's volume.

Pad replacement is time consuming. Each ad is held in with a tiny screw and washer or a nylon snap. They vary in size and thickness. Once you have put them in you have to iron them and reseat them so that they will seal completely. To reseat them you have to wet them with alcohol and then clamp each key and pad, then heat them and if possible leave them overnight. It's not always possible to leave them overnight so I tend to put them in a pad oven and cook them for a couple of hours. This helps make the flute seal air tight when being played.

Next is to balance and regulate the keys with their newly seated pads.