Flute Players

A discussion group for celtic tunes played on flute, whether it be wooden, metal, delrin, or somewhere in between.

Members: 174
Latest Activity: Oct 15, 2019

Discussion Forum

The Sligo Maid - a book of newly composed Tunes for flute and tin wistle,

Started by Carmel Gunning Mar 11, 2019. 0 Replies

Hi Everybody, I am just letting you know that I am 50 years in the music business this year and to mark the occasion I am working on a few projects. My first project - a book of newly composed tunes…Continue

Irish Flute Advice

Started by Nas Brain. Last reply by Paul keenan Oct 16, 2016. 53 Replies

Hey Flute Players,I want to get my first Irish flute and I need some guidance as to where and what type of Irish flute I should get.  I've played tin whistle for about 2 years and classical flute for…Continue

Headjoint Pitch Beginners question

Started by Russell Leahy. Last reply by Russell Leahy Mar 14, 2016. 2 Replies

Hi Everyone-I have just bought a trad simple system 6 hole D flute. Could somebody please tell me: when I play just the headjoint by itself to work on embouchure: what pitch should I get or what…Continue

keys on Irish flutes

Started by Gordon Paterson. Last reply by Bredna Overend Jun 13, 2014. 7 Replies

I would like to hear some opinions on block mounted keys v post mounted keys on Irish flutes . Thanks Gordon.

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Comment by Jem Moore on January 25, 2012 at 16:32

I'm starting a feature documentary on legendary flute maker Patrick Olwell, and though I'm donating my time and equipment for the next six months, I have to find a way to pay for travel to interview musicians like Matt Molloy and Seamus Egan. So I've put up a Kickstarter campaign, and starting today I'll have 30 days to meet my goal or else I don't get anything. So if you can share this link, or pass it on to folks who might be interested in the story, it would be a great help and really get this project off the ground.

For those who don't know me, I've been a professional musician for almost 25 years ( )  and have recorded 15 albums, one of which (April Fool's Waltz) actually has Patrick playing on it. I left the folk scene in 2001 to pursue a career in aviation, and I am currently a Captain at Republic Airlines on the Embraer 190 jet. I started making films about three years ago ( ) , and last year had a film  I did for the Heartland Chamber Music Festival voted "Best Documentary" at the Music Educators of America conference. 

I'm very excited to be working with Patrick on this project, preserving his story, and hearing the stories of the musicians he has inspired with his flutes. It's going to be a great project, I just need to get the word out and see if I can make it happen. I'll be joined in this effort by Blayne Chastain, founder of and where he offers flute and whistle lessons online. He is also involved in video production, and will bring an impressive set of skills and knowledge to the project. 

Check out the Kickstarter page for a video explaining what's going on, and some more info about how we're going to do it. Thanks, and if you have any questions, please drop me an email anytime....

Spread the word!

Comment by Danna Hotmar on January 20, 2012 at 11:01

I am so glad to have found this site! Thanks so much for starting it Anton, and thanks to Kevin for expressing what I was feeling myself. I have played a silver flute since the 4th grade and played all through college and as an adult, although was not a music major. 2 years ago I was asked to join a celtic band and I have also been playing a Casey Burns folk flute. I have some books, I get on youtube for instruction and finding others versions of tunes, and I plan on going to a celtic music retreat next year. I know I am still very much a novice and I need desperately to hear other players, their music and their comments. I am very happy to have found you all!

Comment by Aine Heslin on December 14, 2011 at 11:56

Aha Tony, I see that it has already been taken care of by Kevin.

Comment by Aine Heslin on December 14, 2011 at 11:53

Hi Kevin, first of all - sorry Tony I did not realise what I was doing and if it is possible for you to move this discussion to the proper place please do so. 

Thanks Kevin for your reply. I love your eloquent style of writing and wish I could match it but, never mind! You have actually put into words exactly how I feel about the flute and flute-playing and are a very good teacher.

Comment by Kevin McDermott on December 14, 2011 at 0:05

Well, I'll play: but remember, it's just one man's opinion. First, some important points: the tunes are all about rhythm, and variation in stylish playing is all about how you achieve the feeling of unbroken, inescapable forward movement on the beg beats...but vary the many smaller units in between.

Two: different instruments have different capabilities, both "positive" and "negative" (if you want to think of it that way, which I'm not sure is a good way, frankly, as you'll see...). In other words, concertinas and boxes can't slide from note to note; whistles and flutes don't really like to play in Bb and don't have a low A or get the idea.

As flute players, we live in an era which has been overshadowed by the immense talent of one man—Matt Molloy. Coleman set the stamp of the Sligo style on fiddling for all time, it seems; and Molloy has set the stamp of his highly idiosyncratic style on fluting. I hope not for all time, frankly.

When Molloy appeared on the horizon, all were (rightly) blinded by the brilliance of his technical virtuosity, which is staggering. His idiosycratic genius was to apply that virtuosity to bringing piping style, in all its complexity, to the flute. And he did, and does, it wonderfully. As one man's style—an amazing parlor trick—it is fantastic. If this were the 19C, he'd be on the variety stage. But the same power of recording that made Coleman's style THE style has made most fluters ape Molloy's. The good news is: we live in a time when many young players are attracted to the music, and are good enough to pull it off; the virtuosity you can hear among many 20-something fluters is astounding. But I think we're losing something along the way, and that (to my way of thinking) is....actual, idiomatic, flute playing.

The flute—when compared to the pipes—is distiguished by the need for the player to take breath; this must, of necessity, break the melodic line. We can either try to hide that fact ingeniously (the current style), or we can make the most of it and use it to create an authentic, flute-style phrasing, which will be unlike a piper's phrasing, or a fiddler's, or a box-player's. This is the older, and I think the more authentic style—not in a good/bad sense, but in the REAL sense of the word, meaning being part-and-parcel of what something is.

That's all philosophy, of course. The nuts and bolts of "how-to" you've already struck upon—deciding what can go, and still keep the forward movement (or, on the other hand, be an interesting "ornament" by the silence it imposes) and being free enough to have several different ways to change it up so that the ear of the listener is, if not "fooled", kept interested and pleased at the variety.

Now, that's a long answer, and I hope you might find something worthwhile in it. Keep working on your breath control, and don't forget that your embouchure has a great deal to do with how much air you expend when're cutting an airstream with the edge of the hole...and only the part that goes down the bore is doing anything for you; the rest is wasted, as far as the music is concerned. So maximizing the tone you get for the amount of air you expend is perhaps the best thing you could do, I think. Good luck, and let us know how it's going! Slán!

Comment by Tradconnect Reviews on December 13, 2011 at 23:45

Just a quick reminder to use the discussion forum above for discussions, rather than the comment wall. That way you can track responses

Comment by Aine Heslin on December 13, 2011 at 23:17

Hi flute players, just joined the group and decided to kick-start the discussions with this: I would love to hear what your feelings are on breathing and how to incorporate it into the phrasing of a tune.

I have always struggled with breath control - maybe I'm just unfit!! - but I cope by sometimes leaving out a less significant ( not 'insignificant' I hasten to add) note in order to take a breath and I also note that some players change their breathing places second time round the part/tune so I try that too.

Some players ensure that they have taken a good enough breath to take them over the end of the part and into the next before taking next breath - I like this as I feel it adds variety to the sound!

I find that if you play the last few notes of your breath strongly the taking of the next breath is not so noticable but you must be prepared to take the next breath quickly then.

Please jot down your thoughts about this subject - I am interested to hear them. Thanks.

Comment by Anton Emery on December 9, 2011 at 17:06

Hi Folks,

Thought I would create this group for flute players in the celtic tradition since we didnt have one yet here on Trad Connect.

I started playing the silver flute around age nine or ten and continued up until high school when I got into the guitar. About six years later I got hooked on irish music, started going to sessions, and picked up the whistle. Learning tunes at first was a bit of a challenge but the basic finger mechanics where there. I got a wooden flute not long after that and could already more or less play it due to my silver flute training.

I now play a blackwood keyless by John Cochran. I got it about 4 years ago and have been quite happy. I would like to get a keyed flute sometime down the line.

I enjoy playing flute because its such a simple instrument, just your breath and a wooden tube. I like that its nice and compact to take to sessions. Sometimes I dont get to play as much as I would like at times so my embochure gets out of shape. I have a hard time telling if i am tune with other instruments and folks often have to remind me that I am just a tad sharp or flat. I dont know if its because of the timbre of the instrument; I wish my ear was better.


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