Music

An evening of flute practice

As y’all know I’m a writer first and a musician second, but Musician!Anna is really only a few steps behind Writer!Anna, and if the instruments yell loud enough I have to pick them up. No questions asked and no quarter given. Tonight, the instruments yelled loud enough. So I grabbed Norouet and Shine for some tunes practice! (For those of you who may just be tuning in, Norouet is my current main wooden flute, and Shine is my piccolo, my oldest working instrument, from way back in my days of middle school.)

It’s been too long, so my fingers found Norouet a bit big and awkward to deal with (which of course means I damn well need to play Norouet more). So I mostly punted over to Shine instead just to review all the various tunes I know.

Started off with Road to Lisdoonvarna, including the variation I’m trying to play with. And by variation, I mostly just mean, several little additional twiddles I’m throwing in there, just to vary up the rhythm a bit and make it more interesting to listen to when I swing back around for a third repetition. Along with this, since I still typically play ’em in a set even though our Renton session imploded, I did Swallowtail Jig and Morrison’s. Morrison’s STILL gives me fits. I can’t play it at speed without losing my breath control. Augh.

Also stumbled my way through Banish Misfortune, Blarney Pilgrim, and Si Bheag Si Mhor, the other tunes from the Renton session I am still more or less able to play without having to consult sheet music.

After that, though, I jumped from Ireland over to Quebec, to practice the two tunes I was taught by Genticorum’s flute player! These tunes, y’all may or may not recall, are 6/8 de André Alain and Gigue du Père Mathias. Playing with these tonight, I determined that 6/8 de Andre Alain is more or less in my fingers. The Gigue, not so much. This is probably pretty much a direct result of how I was working with Alexandre de Grosbois-Garand on the first tune for most of our lesson, and we barely bounced off the second one.

That said, I DO have a phone recording of him playing through both of the tunes. And I have just determined that I was more or less able to follow what he was playing, at least in the slow bit of the recording. The fast bit where he kicks into full, proper tempo? Um, yeah. I gotta work on that part. *^_^*;;

The real, important takeaway here though is that yes, I apparently can learn tunes by ear if I have an opportunity to work through them a few times–either with a suitably slow recording, or with somebody with an instrument sitting with me who’s willing to fling me a few measures at a time until I can reliably echo what’s being played. And let me clarify–I can do this on the flute. And specifically on Shine, since that’s the instrument that goes back clear to my formative years, so it’s the one whose fingerings I don’t have to think about. I don’t have that level of comfort yet with flutes that don’t have keys.

(And the other takeaway here is that holy hopping gods Alexandre can play him some flute. Y’all go buy Nagez Rameurs for a proper demonstration of this! Did I mention the part where that album’s up for an award, and going head to head with Le Vent’s latest AND La Bottine’s latest as well? BEST AWARD NOMINATION LINEUP EVER. <3 )