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Re: The Woods of Early Transverse Flutes....

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  • odinjara
    Hi Rod, I spent a fair amount of time searcing for an online sound clip of this sone by John Thow. Certainly worth the effort as I learned about a new
    Message 1 of 9 , Sep 1, 2010
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      Hi Rod,

      I spent a fair amount of time searcing for an online sound clip of this sone by John Thow. Certainly worth the effort as I learned about a new composer...
      Can you suggest a site where I might hear "To Invoke the Clouds" ?
      Thanks
      Hawk

      --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, rod cameron <rcameron@...> wrote:
      >
      > The many North American 'flutes' that I have examined would be called 'recorders', or flute a bec, not transverse flutes, if they were in Europe, that is, they have a windway, and generate their sound, remote from the lips or embouchure. Most appear to be constructed in the same manner as a wood cornetto, which as we know has a 'trumpet' mouth piece. That is, the wood is cut in two halves and each hollowed out then put together with glue, or hardening natural pine zap. There appears to have been little concern for the accuracy of overtones, as there is on the cornetto.
      >
      > Traverso players may enjoy the modern piece written for baroque flute by the Late composer Joh Thow. It is called "To Invoke the Clouds", and was inspired by a Native American rain chant. It is set for either solo or duo traversi.
      >
      > I love the melancholy sound of these native flutes. As said before, they have a limited range, yet their sound is so close to the sound of untouched Nature. Another end blown flute, the Japanese "Shakuhachi" made of bamboo, yet with a highly complex and exact bore, built up by plaster and a toxic varnish, also seeks to commune with Nature. It is a delight, and you may learn a great deal about this from Monty Levenson's large website:
      >
      > http://www.shakuhachi.com/
      >
      > best wishes
      >
      > Rod
      >
      > On Aug 31, 2010, at 4:14 AM, odinjara wrote:
      >
      > > Thanks for your reply Terry.
      > >
      > > Native flutes are as varied, in terms of materials, as are Native Peoples. Cedar, sumac elderberry used in the northeast, rivercane in the south(east) pine, pinyon in the south west while western red cedar, redwood are some woods used in the northwest. Plains folks used red cedar (juniperus virginianus). Bone was also used... These are just a few examples. With todays makers you'll see lot's of variety in types of wood used including exotic species. I like lilac...
      > >
      > > Building techniques, tuning and voicing varied as well.
      > >
      > > I think there are various reasons for the use of soft woods in Native Flutes. Cedar was/is a multi purpose wood. It is water resistant, light weight yet sturdy and has medicinal (physical and spiritual) properties and , as you mention it is fairly easy to work. Sumac and elderberry (which is a hardwood) have soft piths which make them easy too.
      > >
      > > These flutes typically were made from splitting a piece of wood, hollowing it and re-joining. Hide glue or pitch/sap were used to glue the pieces back together. Tools made from stone, shell and eventually metal were used.
      > >
      > > Interestingly most of the early flutes had no finish on them at all. While there are examples of old flutes in museums and private collections most of these are only about 150-200 years old. I played a couple of 200 year old Kiowa flutes in a museum. Both had been beautifully preserved but not played. They really had dried out from non use. Consequently their voice was almost non-existent. I have found that most woods require no finish for this type of flute. As long as it is played and handled often the wood does not dry out and become porus.
      > >
      > > Native flutes typically can play about an octave and a third and historically the tuning/scale was based on the physical porportions of the player. Of course this varies amongst the different Peoples...
      > > The flute was not standard or uniform~ each one was unique as it was meant to be a solo instrument.
      > >
      > >
      >
      > Rod Cameron
      > PO Box 438, 10580 William Street
      > Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
      > Mobile Phone: 707 813 7593
      > Home: 707 937 9921
      > Studio ( no messages) 707 937 0412
      > http://picasaweb.google.com/rodcameron2/
      > Skype: scotflute
      >
    • Rod Cameron
      Hawk, I know that Mindy Rosenfeld and Stephen Scultz have performed it. John Thow thought very carefully about the traverso, and wrote some enharmonic
      Message 2 of 9 , Sep 1, 2010
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        Hawk,

        I know that Mindy Rosenfeld and Stephen Scultz have performed it. John Thow thought very carefully about the traverso, and wrote some enharmonic differences to create intentional 'beats' in the piece, so it is a good one for good players. I know that Stephen will not mind you emailing him, to ask how to get hold of the music, and where it is published. Here is his address:


        If you have no results, email me and I will find out by other means. John Thow was a close personal friend, and a great composer, he was composer in residence at UC Berkeley. I also know his surviving family. His spirit will delight in his music works continuing to see the light of day, and be shared in the world.

        Another source will be our esteemed colleague, Robert Bigio. He and John were  friends, and I believe that Robert, who edits the Pan flute magazine, has published something about the piece. Robert posts on earlyflute.

        good luck!

        Rod

        On Sep 1, 2010, at 11:05 AM, odinjara wrote:

        Hi Rod,

        I spent a fair amount of time searcing for an online sound clip of this sone by John Thow. Certainly worth the effort as I learned about a new composer...
        Can you suggest a site where I might hear "To Invoke the Clouds" ? 
        Thanks
        Hawk

        --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, rod cameron <rcameron@...> wrote:
        >
        > The many North American 'flutes' that I have examined would be called 'recorders', or flute a bec, not transverse flutes, if they were in Europe, that is, they have a windway, and generate their sound, remote from the lips or embouchure. Most appear to be constructed in the same manner as a wood cornetto, which as we know has a 'trumpet' mouth piece. That is, the wood is cut in two halves and each hollowed out then put together with glue, or hardening natural pine zap. There appears to have been little concern for the accuracy of overtones, as there is on the cornetto. 
        > 
        > Traverso players may enjoy the modern piece written for baroque flute by the Late composer Joh Thow. It is called "To Invoke the Clouds", and was inspired by a Native American rain chant. It is set for either solo or duo traversi.
        > 
        > I love the melancholy sound of these native flutes. As said before, they have a limited range, yet their sound is so close to the sound of untouched Nature. Another end blown flute, the Japanese "Shakuhachi" made of bamboo, yet with a highly complex and exact bore, built up by plaster and a toxic varnish, also seeks to commune with Nature. It is a delight, and you may learn a great deal about this from Monty Levenson's large website:
        > 
        > http://www.shakuhachi.com/
        > 
        > best wishes
        > 
        > Rod
        > 
        > On Aug 31, 2010, at 4:14 AM, odinjara wrote:
        > 
        > > Thanks for your reply Terry.
        > > 
        > > Native flutes are as varied, in terms of materials, as are Native Peoples. Cedar, sumac elderberry used in the northeast, rivercane in the south(east) pine, pinyon in the south west while western red cedar, redwood are some woods used in the northwest. Plains folks used red cedar (juniperus virginianus). Bone was also used... These are just a few examples. With todays makers you'll see lot's of variety in types of wood used including exotic species. I like lilac...
        > > 
        > > Building techniques, tuning and voicing varied as well.
        > > 
        > > I think there are various reasons for the use of soft woods in Native Flutes. Cedar was/is a multi purpose wood. It is water resistant, light weight yet sturdy and has medicinal (physical and spiritual) properties and , as you mention it is fairly easy to work. Sumac and elderberry (which is a hardwood) have soft piths which make them easy too.
        > > 
        > > These flutes typically were made from splitting a piece of wood, hollowing it and re-joining. Hide glue or pitch/sap were used to glue the pieces back together. Tools made from stone, shell and eventually metal were used.
        > > 
        > > Interestingly most of the early flutes had no finish on them at all. While there are examples of old flutes in museums and private collections most of these are only about 150-200 years old. I played a couple of 200 year old Kiowa flutes in a museum. Both had been beautifully preserved but not played. They really had dried out from non use. Consequently their voice was almost non-existent. I have found that most woods require no finish for this type of flute. As long as it is played and handled often the wood does not dry out and become porus.
        > > 
        > > Native flutes typically can play about an octave and a third and historically the tuning/scale was based on the physical porportions of the player. Of course this varies amongst the different Peoples...
        > > The flute was not standard or uniform~ each one was unique as it was meant to be a solo instrument.
        > > 
        > > 
        > 
        > Rod Cameron
        > PO Box 438, 10580 William Street
        > Mendocino, CA 95460, USA
        > Mobile Phone: 707 813 7593
        > Home: 707 937 9921
        > Studio ( no messages) 707 937 0412
        > http://picasaweb.google.com/rodcameron2/
        > Skype: scotflute
        >


         
        PO Box 438
        10580 Williams Street
        Mendocino, 
        CA 95460,  USA
        Home 707 937 9921
        Mobile: 707 813 7593 (best !)
        Skype:  scotflute

      • Mitchell Gass
        ... Hi Hawk, I too was curious, and I found performances of both the one- and two-flute versions (on modern flutes) at
        Message 3 of 9 , Sep 1, 2010
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          At 11:05 AM 9/1/2010, odinjara wrote:
          >Can you suggest a site where I might hear "To Invoke the Clouds"?

          Hi Hawk,

          I too was curious, and I found performances of both the one- and
          two-flute versions (on modern flutes) at

          http://www.amazon.com/Native-American-Stories-Classical-Flute/dp/B00004SZU4/

          Best,

          Mitchell Gass
        • Ron
          ... One of the differences is that all the species of yew contain poisonous alkaloids. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus R.H.
          Message 4 of 9 , Sep 2, 2010
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            --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "odinjara" <hawkhenries@...> wrote:
            >
            > I am curious about wood choices when it comes to early flutes. I notice that boxwood is often used as well as cocuswood, rose wood and, I believe blackwood.
            >
            > As you may know I build native Flutes. It is generally agreed that hard woods will gove the flute a bright and crisp voice while the softwoods give a softer more mellow voice. Of course the maker has a great influence on the final voicing no matter what wood is used.
            >
            > What leads a maker of transverse flutes to choose between hard and >soft woods? Never having used boxwood is this a softwood? Any >similarities between it and European Yew? I've made several flutes >from Yew and while it is a conifer and in theory a softwood it is >fairly dense and responds more like a soft maple or birch.
            >


            One of the differences is that all the species of yew contain poisonous alkaloids.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taxus


            R.H.
          • Barbara Kallaur
            I performed this once upon a time in the version for 2 traversi, with a then student, Amanda Markwick. You might be able to access an online link at the IU
            Message 5 of 9 , Sep 11, 2010
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              I performed this once upon a time in the version for 2 traversi, with a then student, Amanda Markwick. You might be able to access an online link at the IU Jacobs School of Music Library. Or they might be able to make you a copy. The best route is to email the reference librarian in the Music Library, Dr. David Lasocki.

              Good luck--
              Barbara Kallaur
              Historical Flutes, Early Music Institute
              Indiana University Jacobs School of Music




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