minstrel: Re: fifes

Christina van Tets cjvt at hotmail.com
Thu May 18 08:22:21 PDT 2000

Hello the list!

Kat wrote:

>If you take a modern flute and start on the C in the staff and just start
>overblowing to get the octaves, you'll get 2 before you get the next fifth,
>then a fourth, then a third.  And most of the time, they're horridly out of
>pitch.  On older instruments - fifes, etc - where you don't necessarily
>have fingerings for the next octave up, you can often "fake it" by lifting
>the first finger.  Overblowing works occasionally, but not always well.

I'm glad to see we're in agreement then!

> >Yes, I suppose I forgot about that - lipping around sort of becomes 
> >nature.  Actually I found fife a heck of a lot easier once I learnt the
> >'new' forward embouchure for the modern flute.  For some reason it's less
> >strain on the mouth in fife too (tho' I can't say I've noticed that on
> >picc.)
>Most of the high range is achieved more through support, a firmer and
>smaller embouchure, and pushing the bottom jaw forward slightly.

Yes, that's the embouchure that I understand was pioneered by Susan Milan 
(though that may be my treacher's bias on the topic) about 6 or 7 years ago. 
  It's much easier on the cheek muscles, though I find that it doesn't make 
a heck of a lot of difference on picc.  I could hardly get any sound out of 
the fife when I used to play with the older, 
corners-of-the-mouth-almost-touching-the-earlobes embouchure.

>the instrument is usually highly frowned upon, but it it work for you, go
>for it.

I don't normally roll, because my modern flute is so d**d responsive, I can 
get a bit more than a tone just by rolling and lipping together.  Serves me 
right for buying a handmade headjoint, eh...

>By the way, as an introduction...  I'm Kat, flute player (yes, modern
>flute, but I haven't the money to get a period instrument as of yet)

No, neither have I (I keep looking up Lark in the Morning and howling), but 
I did find a 19th C fife in the back of my grandfather's cupboard.  It's 
wooden, only has one key, and plays fairly nicely as long as I don't try to 
play with anyone, because the d*&d thing is just temperament.

>member of the Canton of Gate's Edge in Houston...

Lucky you to have a group close by...

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