Bass Flute Options

Discussion in 'Bass flute' started by Roger Aldridge, Feb 3, 2008.

  1. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

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    The only bass flute I've tried was a Jupiter. My first impressions were that it takes more air than an alto flute and has a softer volume level. After I tried the Jupiter bass flute I switched to try several altos and settled on a Dimedici....which I'm very impressed with. Now and then I think about having a bass flute. Are there any that are easier blowing and more projecting? Hope this isn't a stupid question! ha ha ha

    Thanks, Roger
     
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  2. Gandalfe

    Gandalfe Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Roger, I can't help you with your question, but I wonder where you might use a bass flute? I suppose there might be a rare flute choir out there?
     
  3. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Flute choir is the most common use, but those jazz folks will play a cymbal stand if you give them a chance, so a bass flute is a no-brainer.
     
  4. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    When I went to a flute recital, many moons ago, the flautist used a lavalier-style mike when she switched to bass flute. And I can say that I was pretty glad I was sitting near the front: it doesn't project that well. Contrabass flute was worse, but it was a rather intriguing sound.

    I think it has a bit to do with how some instruments are just not "meant" to go that low. I remember that getting a "loud" sound out of a contrabass clarinet was fairly difficult, too.

    Hey, Ed! You like acoustics. What do you think?
     
  5. Roger Aldridge

    Roger Aldridge Composer in Residence Distinguished Member

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    Miking a bass flute is certainly a good idea.

    I have a local flute buddy who plays all over. I'll see if she has any suggestions about whether there is a more projecting bass flute model (that doesn't cost an arm & leg). As to how I could use a bass flute.... I creatively look for ways to work-in my doubles -- especially, alto flute and bass clarinet. I transpose by sight. So, in the case of the alto flute, I often transpose lower concert flute passages and play them on the alto.

    Thinking about a bass flute is probably just a G.A.S. attack. Never the less, it's helpful to see what I can learn about the instrument -- just in case.

    Thanks, Roger
     
  6. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    A friend of mine plays contrabass clarinet and he says that most people in the ensemble he plays in don't notice his playing as much as his presence. I suspect that is what goes on with bass flute and even more so with contra bass flute but due to their design flutes don't really project sound like most other instruments that you find in a band. At least that's been my experience.
     
  7. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    We've noticed the same with the string bass - you don't notice it so much as you feel it. I do know that I hate to rehearse without a bass player, almost as much as I do to rehearse without a drummer.
     
  8. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    It's definitely a "presence", but that presence is more felt than heard, especially with the CB clarinet (or bass flute). For color, it's a nice thing. However, an upright bass is probably better if you need to HEAR the note :).

    =======

    I've heard a studio drummer once say that the best drummer is the one that you don't notice is there -- until he's not. Considering I've known a few drummers, this was a refreshing comment. And absolutely correct.
     
  9. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    Two words - Drum Machines. :emoji_rage:
     
  10. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Seriously, though, it's a good acoustics question: why do some instruments just not sound that loud when they're made into bass/contrabass? You need to research that, Edward-san.
     
  11. Ed

    Ed Founder Staff Member Administrator

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    Edwin-San. Not Edward-San.
     
  12. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    That's even better, but doesn't fit with the "Full Metal Alchemist" theme I had going for you.
     
  13. Heckelphone

    Heckelphone Double Reed CE Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Mainly a matter of our ears being most sensitive to frequencies in the vocal range, and the fact that power increases with wavelength. A contrabass note needs a much higher amplitude to deliver the same acoustic energy as a trumpet or piccolo.

    Enjoy,

    Grant
     
  14. pete

    pete Brassica Oleracea Staff Member Administrator

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    Hey, it's Mr. Contrabass! Nice to see you visiting!

    (Maybe we can make you into our Sarrusophone and low double-reeds CE ....)
     
  15. Heckelphone

    Heckelphone Double Reed CE Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Sounds like one of those positions where one volunteers simply by opening his mouth... ;-)

    Sure, as time permits...

    Grant
     
  16. Groovekiller

    Groovekiller Distinguished Member Distinguished Member

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    The best bass flute application I ever heard was by Henry Mancini (a flute player.) In the old Peter Gunn TV series he would sometimes use bass flute alone playing over a walking bass line. Very exposed long, legato phrases with lots of fall offs.

    Great background music when someone is sneaking around in the dark.
     
  17. SOTSDO

    SOTSDO Old King Log Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Didn't the fourth James Bond film (Thunderball) use both bass and alto flutes during the extensive underwater portions of the movie? The effect obtained by all of this flute playing was striking the first couple of times, but boring in the extreme once you got through to the end (which spent about a quarter of its total time under water).

    Having fiddled around with bass flutes a few times, I find that I get better tone on them than the smaller ones (soprano and alto). Like so many other things about the flute, I just don't understand that. One of these days I'm going to take a few flute lessons so as to learn the embouchure from the ground up...
     
  18. Heckelphone

    Heckelphone Double Reed CE Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Bass flutes!

    I have an Emerson bass, with a Robert Dick headjoint. Plays pretty well for me. I tried a Yamaha bass at the same time, and didn't like it nearly as much as the (much less expensive) Emerson. Of course, Yamaha's bass may have been improved since then (I think it had just come out at the time).

    Bass will inherently be softer than the C flute, but projection is something that comes with time.

    Enjoy!

    Grant
     
  19. Iolaus

    Iolaus

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    I already posted the full festival info over in this thread, but I thought if anyone in this thread is in Southern California they might like this event. If not, Maybe you all could pass it on?

     
  20. Heckelphone

    Heckelphone Double Reed CE Staff Member CE/Moderator

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    Tied down...

    Thanks for the post: wish I could make it to Fullerton!
     

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