Flute Punch

Archive for the ‘Piccolo’ Category

A friend sent this Craigslist advert to me. It’s easily the 2nd most entertaining thing I’ve read all week.

“They call the trumpet “God’s Instrument.” The instrument that takes a month to learn and a lifetime to master. Forget that. I’m giving you the chance to own “Satan’s Instrument.” The instrument that takes a second to hate and a lifetime to get used to. If your goal is world domination, getting the ball rolling on the apocalypse, or simply disarming someone who’s a little too “rapey,” this miniature flute of terror will hold the game down. And how.

“Brought to you by Lucifer himself, this 4SP Silver Plated Gemienhardt Piccolo will serve his evil minion well. From it’s compact arthritis-inducing body this pipe will unleash a sound that can bring entire crowds of people to their knees in pain and surrender. If you’re thinking of starting a bloody coup, leave the AK-47s and sarin gas at home son, this picc is all you need.

“This instrument has the ability to sing an A five lines above the staff so crisp and clear that if you’re not careful may actually cleave your conductor’s brain clean in half. It’s highest note is one only dogs can hear, that composers have dubbed “X.”

“Apart from the oboe, this is the only instrument able to kick a field goal of pain right between the goal posts of your unfortunate target’s neurons, resulting in synaptic misfires, blown mental fuses, and a complete breakdown of all left brain activity, leaving the right brain to writhe in pain and confusion whilst scrambling all bodily motor functions. Any soul unlucky enough to wind up on the business end of Beezulbub’s piccolo will instantly be reduced to the fetal position and revoked of their right to free will.

“Aside from violating several Geneva Convention protocols, this wailing weaponry can produce frequencies that wreak havoc upon others by causing:
– sudden unexpected nosebleeds
– aphasia
– heart palpitations
– aneurisms
– loss of sanity
– unexplainable rage
– spontaneous combustion
– abandonment of the will to live
– anal leakage

“It’s a common mistake to think that the piccolo also has side effects on it’s user. Many claim it causes acute narcissism, but in reality the only people drawn to this instrument are already delusionally narcissistic, have serial killer tendencies, and show traits as promising future dictators.

“Because of this instrument, I now rule over my own sovereign island, where I preach from balconies and lounge in my throne poppin’ bottles while getting fanned with palm fronds waved by ridiculously hot cabana boys. Tomorrow’s forecast: Whatever the hell I want.

“Since I’m livin’ the dream, I’m retiring from my reign of terror and passing on the torch. Being evil is an arduous, exhaustive effort, and this musical scepter cannot be played by your average whitebread vanilla villain. Only the most cunning, dextrous, morally ambiguous, and questionably sane may apply. Who among you is worthy?

“$300 obo. Willing to throw in a box of gravel and ship.”

Follows is some helpful advice on finding optimal placement for the headjoint cork on piccolos:

Set the cork so that the line on the cleaning rod is in the center of the embouchure hole. Then play, without changing fingerings (don’t lift the first finger), the bottom two D’s. Only lip them. You will probably find the middle D to be flat. Push the cork in a TINY bit. Try again. When they are in tune, check the high register. You might find the highest three notes to be hard to get. Now move the cork out just a tiny bit. The correct position is a compromise between the D’s being in tune and the highest notes playing easily, and is normally 1 mm or a bit more in (toward the piccolo body) from the ‘correct’  (line in the center of the embouchure) position.

I finally put up the first sets of flute/piccolo embouchures on Flickr. Check out my photostream to see pics of different flutists playing in the low, middle, and upper registers. So far I have 5 different players and I’m looking forward to adding more in the future. These are all players with at least several years of experience who are getting a decent sound.

There’s plenty of examples of great flute playing for us to fill our heads with, but great piccolo playing is a little harder to come by.

In this 6 minute YouTube video, Dr. Leonard Garrison, flute professor at the University of Idaho, discusses techniques specific to the piccolo and also demonstrates some nice tone.


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