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Re: [earlyflute] Are there any fifers here?

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  • Dan Colburn
    Hi Rick, I own two Cooperman fifes, a C and a Bb. I can also testify that high B is a truly nasty note. Many of the traditional fife tunes - think Bruce &
    Message 1 of 8 , Oct 1, 2007
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      Hi Rick,

      I own two Cooperman fifes, a C and a Bb. I can also
      testify that high B is a truly nasty note. Many of the
      traditional fife tunes - think Bruce & Emmitt book
      from 1861 - unfortunately use this note.

      The previous advice is quite good. High B just needs a
      little extra 'oomph' in order to get it out. I
      basically use the same embouchure I use on piccolo,
      BTW, when I am playing fife. I find that if I use too
      much force or tightness I am in the same condition as
      if I did it on picc - terrible sound and very little
      control.

      As the other poster said, practice slurring G-A-B and
      down until you find what works on the B and it becomes
      at least somewhat comfortable.

      Dan

      --- Rick at CIT <rmw@...> wrote:

      > Are there any players of traditional
      > American or British fifes here? I'm talking
      > about the keyless, six-hole, 19th century instrument
      > commonly in Bb (a major third below the piccolo),
      > not early military flutes.
      >
      > I could use some advice on or information about
      > the third octave B.


      It takes approximately 1 hour to learn the fundamentals of flying. It takes a lifetime to know when not to fly....
    • Rick Wilson
      Thanks, Dan. I posted my original message to get confirmation that. as you say, high B is a truly nasty note on the fife. It reminds me of the third octave
      Message 2 of 8 , Oct 1, 2007
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        Thanks, Dan.

        I posted my original message to get confirmation
        that. as you say, "high B is a truly nasty note" on
        the fife. It reminds me of the third octave A on
        some baroque flutes, though I think high B
        (third octave B) on the fife is harder. Not all baroque
        flutes can play the third octave A, just as not all
        fifes can handle the high B.

        There is a real puzzle for me here.
        Baroque/rococo flutists are not asked to play
        the third octave A except in a handful of cases.
        But a huge part of the fife repertoire uses
        the high B (about 60% of the tunes in the
        AVF collectioun, as I said earlier).

        How can this be? Maybe these tunes were arranged
        by fife virtuosi to show off? Weren't these collections
        of fifie tunes intended in large part for non-professionals?
        What proportion of non-professionals played high B's?
        What do most fifers do today with tunes with high B's?
        Do they play them, ignore them, or maybe play them
        (the whole tune) an octave lower than intended?

        --Rick Wilson
        rick@...


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Dan Colburn
        To: earlyflute@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Monday, October 01, 2007 4:20 AM
        Subject: Re: [earlyflute] Are there any fifers here?


        Hi Rick,

        I own two Cooperman fifes, a C and a Bb. I can also
        testify that high B is a truly nasty note. Many of the
        traditional fife tunes - think Bruce & Emmitt book
        from 1861 - unfortunately use this note.

        The previous advice is quite good. High B just needs a
        little extra 'oomph' in order to get it out. I
        basically use the same embouchure I use on piccolo,
        BTW, when I am playing fife. I find that if I use too
        much force or tightness I am in the same condition as
        if I did it on picc - terrible sound and very little
        control.

        As the other poster said, practice slurring G-A-B and
        down until you find what works on the B and it becomes
        at least somewhat comfortable.

        Dan

        --- Rick at CIT <rmw@...> wrote:

        > Are there any players of traditional
        > American or British fifes here? I'm talking
        > about the keyless, six-hole, 19th century instrument
        > commonly in Bb (a major third below the piccolo),
        > not early military flutes.
        >
        > I could use some advice on or information about
        > the third octave B.
      • Steve Dillon
        ... If your fife says Crosby GD, it is most likely from Granville Draper, who was in business from 1861-1865 in Boston. Since it is the Crosby style, it should
        Message 3 of 8 , Oct 9, 2007
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          --- In earlyflute@yahoogroups.com, "Rick at CIT" <rmw@...> wrote:
          >
          > Mine (a J. W. Pepper and a "Crosby" by GD) are late 19C and do
          > not have the small holes or equal-sized holes of late 18C and
          > first-half-of-the-19C fifes.
          > By the way, I do think that practicing the fife can help with
          > the high notes on other early flutes. I recommend it.
          > Thanks again,
          > Rick Wilson
          > rmw@...

          If your fife says Crosby GD, it is most likely from Granville Draper,
          who was in business from 1861-1865 in Boston.

          Since it is the Crosby style, it should be a good player. (And
          sonewhat rare, BTW)

          I also have a Crosby GD, and the high B speaks very easy for me, but
          than I might just be a high note freak on the fife.

          Just because a fife is from the 18th/19th century doesn't mean it is
          harder to play.

          I have in my collection a Cahusac fife (1738-1816) and 2 Astor fifes
          (1778-1819, per Langwill). All of these play very easy and the high
          B is no problem to hit. I also own a Callender, from Boston, 1802-
          1818, from the address. With this fife I can take the paint off the
          walls with the high B.

          Just take one note at a time, and build up to it.

          The interesting thing is that I find fife music from the period that
          goes up to the high D. Doesn't seem like many do that today.

          Sincerely,
          Steve Dillon
          Dillon Music
          www.dillonmusic.com
        • Dan Colburn
          Hey Steve - Boy do I agree! I once got a chance to play a Civil War fife from the display case at Fort Ward. I would do nearly anything to get my hands on that
          Message 4 of 8 , Oct 9, 2007
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            Hey Steve - Boy do I agree!

            I once got a chance to play a Civil War fife from the
            display case at Fort Ward. I would do nearly anything
            to get my hands on that fife, or any like it. It
            played so easily, all the way up that I did not have
            to work at all. Why can't one like that be made today?

            Dan

            --- Steve Dillon <steve@...> wrote:

            > Just because a fife is from the 18th/19th century
            > doesn't mean it is
            > harder to play.

            > Dillon Music
            > www.dillonmusic.com

            It takes approximately 1 hour to learn the fundamentals of flying. It takes a lifetime to know when not to fly....
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