Thursday, July 23, 2015

Paul Edmund-Davies on Double-Tonguing

Ever struggle with double tonguing on the flute?  In his video lesson titled "Articulation 3," Powell artist Paul Edmund-Davies discusses a different approach, beginning with a discussion of syllables. He suggests replacing the "tuh-kuh" syllables one might use as an articulation for double tonguing with the lighter syllables "doo-goo" or "duh-guh" which allow for more fluid motion of the tongue.

The lesson is in three parts which gradually extend in length of note groupings, beginning with groupings of 4 notes, then 12, and finally, 16.  As with any exercise, Paul reminds us that the exercises must be played musically rather than statically.  In the first section, he suggests thinking of each note moving to the next note and adds dynamics to help with this motion.  As he demonstrates the concept, you can hear the wonderful, fluid direction and liveliness of the groupings.  Finally, Paul comments that the number of articulations increase along with the number of notes in the groupings, and this should help in achieving fluidity when double-tonguing.  The full lesson, compete with downloadable sheet music, is available by clicking this link to the lesson page on Paul's Simply Flute website.

Click here to view the full lesson on Simply Flute.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

I Had To Go Down In The Mines To Climb Up To The Sky

By Lois Herbine

I Had To Go Down In The Mines To Climb Up To The Sky is an aural memoir for solo piccolo with a ghost choir of 16 recorded piccolos, performed as an accompaniment to an exhibition of photography. Howard Hersh composed the work for me based on the life of my great, great grandfather who perished in the pit in the great coal mining explosion of 1867 in Wales. His widow remarried and traveled to Pennsylvania with their two small children and another on the way. The music is in service of the bravery and anguish of America’s great immigrant experience. This living history connects two worlds for me- my love for the piccolo as a solo instrument, which involves reaching new audiences outside the orchestra, and my love of ancestral research.

While uncovering more information about my ancestry, I have also been busy this winter in the studios of East Room Recording, located in Kensington, Philadelphia, recording Howard Hersh’s score one piccolo at a time. Side by side, the eleven-minute solo and accompanying parts are the equivalent of three CDs worth of music. This is the largest work I have ever recorded. During these sessions, I read from a score that is two sheets tall, attached to a sheet of poster board; this allows me to stand in one spot and not have to turn pages. I find it best to read from the score so I can view how the part I am recording fits with the other parts, both dynamically and musically.

The sections sometimes blur from tonality to atonality, as I picture the miner facing peril trying to get out of the mine or trying to escape the anguished echoes of the lost miners’ voices. Hersh’s composition sometimes pits the soloist against the other voices that group in cordial clusters or beat a driving rhythm. At other times, all is at peace as I imagine a quite acceptance ensues and envelops the soloist as the accompanying voices are in chordal harmony. The act of blending multiple piccolos reminds me of voicing and tuning an orchestral string section. Listening back to the recorded tracks is a unique experience- the timbre and ensemble is reminiscent of the flute stops of an organ.

Sound engineer Drew Taurisano records, mixes and balances the 17 voices. A soundscape installed at the Anthracite Heritage Museum in Scranton, Pennsylvania, is currently in the design phase, placing all 17 tracks through speakers that surround the room. This will be accompanied by a visual presentation of images from the museum’s collections. I am very excited about this and for a future live performance at the Lackawanna County Anthracite Heritage Festival!

Friday, July 10, 2015

Artist Spotlight -- Andrea Fisher

Powell artist Andrea Fisher is known to many as "Fluterscooter." A Juilliard grad, she started her line of Fluterscooter bags in 2011 with "one silver bag and a dream."  Now Andrea has been sharing her experiences as an entrepreneur with flutists around the globe -- including students at her alma mater and participants in this week's "Flutes by the Sea" masterclass and workshop in Half Moon Bay, California.

Next month, Andrea will have her own booth at the annual NFA (National Flute Association) Convention, where she will be have plenty of Fluterscooter bags and a few special guests...  She tells us that she will be also conducting interviews at her booth for The Flute View, an online magazine for flutists that she created alongside colleagues Barbara Siesel and Viviana Guzman.  On the performance side, she'll have the opportunity to construct the installation for a performance of her own original music on Saturday, August 15th at 5 PM.

For those who have not had the opportunity to meet Andrea and hear her speak about her experiences as an entrepreneur, follow this link to read the her previous Teach Flute blog post on entrepreneurship titled FLUTREPRENEURSHIP.  Andrea also wrote about her experiences producing the live hologram show, "Flute N Float," in The Making of Flute N Float, which you can also read here by following this link.  She is currently working on a live hologram performance in London, but her DVDs from the Tokyo performance are available on her website:

Click here to view Andrea's full artist profile on the Powell website. The 10th Anniversary Powell Sonaré Fluterscooter bag (pictured in the photo at the top of the page) is also available by clicking this link to the VQP Shop on the Powell website.