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Harmony flutes

#1
I've recently returned to flute playing in my retirement after 50yrs absence, and have been wondering about the alto and bass flutes.
Do people consider them harder to play than the concert?
Also there seems to be numerous Chinese made flutes(A & B) at very low prices - are any playable for non pro use?
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#2
I would recommend staying away from any Chinese-made instrument. Yes, their quality has gotten better, but the market's still flooded with bad Chinese instruments. Taiwanese (ROC) instruments are generally better quality.

It also depends on how much use you think you're going to get out of it. If I had to play alto or bass flute once a couple years or something, I'd probably rent one -- or transpose the part for an instrument I have, a Bb clarinet (I could look to buy a C clarinet, too, or an Electronic Wind Instrument, like the Yamaha WX-5), because I suck at playing flute. I can say that I've played a few jazz gigs where the low reed part was baritone sax, bass clarinet, and alto flute. I don't recall any bass flute. They sound cool, tho, and there might be more call for one in, say, theater/plays.
 
#3
(...) I can say that I've played a few jazz gigs where the low reed part was baritone sax, bass clarinet, and alto flute. I don't recall any bass flute. They sound cool, tho, and there might be more call for one in, say, theater/plays.
Not very common but fantastic when played like Frank Wess in this iconic Count Basie's Kansas City Seven record of 1962. According to the liner notes, it's the first time Wess had played the alto, that he had borrowed from Charlie Fowlkes, Basie's baritone at that time. Good start... Eric Dixon is the second flute. By the way, the rhythm section is one of the best EVER.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oxQdfofMJQs
 

pete

Brassica Oleracea
Staff member
Administrator
#7
Shapes can be different, too. Bass flutes almost always have a curved headjoint and that style of curve varies between manufacturers. Alto flutes can have a curved headjoint, but there are makes that are just bigger -- kinda like how a viola player looks like he's either got a really big violin or he's kinda tiny. You also have to compensate for the extra weight. That can actually be a chore. That's all minus technique.
 
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