Flutes from old and today’s flutes are made from a variety of materials. Each to its own, the humble wooden flute, the blackwood flute, silver and platinum flutes, flutes made from mopane, and the rose gold flute, produce different effects and sensations for the musician. The accomplished flutist is playing a variety of gold, silver and wooden instruments, always aware of the different effects it achieves for his musical repertoire.
It is said that while the experienced flutist is able to manage his way around a variety of flute materials, the beginner always starts with wood. In terms of different sensations and notes experienced, the experienced player notes that the flute’s head joint seems to make the most difference. The remark is made that embouchure cut, taper and riser height produced all have an effect, mostly positive for the knowledgeable and well-practiced player, on what is casually referred to as ‘feel’.
An interesting thought in the sense that new beginners, mostly young folks perhaps, always appear to be focused on the attractive, shiny look of their prized new instruments. That should never be the case. Rather focus on how the flute ‘makes you feel’. Feel your way around newly discovered notes. Feel has a profound effect on ever-changing materials selected or experienced by players. Minute physical effects such as the head joint’s tenon, and the weight of stoppers and crowns make all the difference.
Sophisticated and contemporary flutists will be working, playing and feeling their way around extensions such as food extensions and sound bridges. Pad material and soldered or drawn tone holes are given its part to play as well. Even for new beginners, experimentation is always possible until the right feel with the right instrument is found.
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