We then talked about playing in a rock style. Related to this idea, Robert believes you can fully reveal yourself with your own music. To put this into practice, we walked through adapting the song “Purple Haze” by Jimi Hendrix (from the album “Are You Experienced”) for flute. After outlining the basic form, we talked about specific things the flute can do to achieve a “rock” sound. One big thing is to vary the vibrato with the pitch, aka rolling in and out quickly. This is a small thing that will make a HUGE difference in keeping the flute from sounding classical. We focused on the opening interval of “Purple Haze” and explored all the different ways to treat it with the flute. This took a long time! There are so many options and variants to the colors and sounds available on our instrument. We tried multiphonics, residual/air sounds, singing and playing, and harmonics. Basically, we did it all. Related, the jazz musician Eric Dolfy was also mentioned.
A small portion of our time was also dedicated to talking about hand position, specifically Dorothy Taubman’s theory and how that can help with wrist motion.
Then things got crazy. P.S. Olt animal calls made an appearance. It turns out that this specific brand actually fits quite well into the end of the flute in place of the headjoint. Robert suggested a band name: Crumhorn for Killers.
There was a lot of experimenting today. Part of that was putting a stethoscope to our throats to explore the amplification available there. We also practiced vocalizing on the inhale, similar to Inuit throat singing techniques.
- I attended the Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference in DC over the weekend. There were some amazing papers, and I heard the words “heteronormative” and “binary” more in those few days than I have in my entire life. There was also a circle dance at one point in support of the water protectors at Standing Rock, which was really cool to witness. Overall, the SEM conference is a wonderful, affirming, encouraging, accepting, intelligent group of people.
- We went to the Holocaust Memorial Museum. Talk about rough. Especially given the current state of the United States. It was one of the best put together museums I’ve been in. While it was hard to walk through, I’m glad we went.
- We made it to our bus 2 minutes before it left for NYC. It was a miracle.
Until next time!