Wednesday, October 26, 2016

26th October 2016 - Anything but Pong!

So first evening with the new Olwell.

I was worried that it might not be what I hoped it would be.  What would happen if it was just the same as my old, super cheap, 25 year old flute?

What would happen if I couldn't get a note out of it?

What would happen if I simply didn't like it?

It isn't an exaggeration so say this was a bit like a blind date - will she like me .. will I like her .. will we 'click'?   Or like opening a present Christmas morning when you sort of expect the box is just the right shape to be an Atari 2600 .. is it or isn't it?  Please don't be Pong.  Anything but Pong.

And there's a lot riding on this.  I don't believe that a flute will make me a better player - not even by a small percentage - but if I'm on a road to be a better player I'd hope that my playing will - once improved - sound better on a decent flute than on a kids shop recorder.
So yes .. no miracles .. but you're hoping to get the sense of something that might take you somewhere if you can take it somewhere ..

The low notes are just beautiful.  Deep.  Resonant.  You can feel each note in your hands and on your fingers as the instrument responds.  This was a new sensation.  I don't want to get too mushy but those low notes are just wonderful.  You don't need to play a tune to feel their clarity and power.  Cuts and taps feel hard and acoustic.  All just lovely.

The second register.  This is where things got interesting.  After three hours playing I began to think of my old flute like a bottle.  You can blow over the opening and make a note - it won't be pretty or powerful or in tune with anything but you can get a note anytime.  The Olwell wants you to control your embouchure to hit a sweet spot.  When you get the right place you absolutely get that beautiful sweet, fulfilling note but miss it by even a touch and you've nothing.  Ironic that my cheap bottle top flute can make a windy, leaky note no matter what you do but the Olwell demands control.  This is counter-intuitive (reputation says the Olwell is easy to play) but also it makes sense.  You have no control over the bottle top but it won't let you down.  The Olwell wants that second register G to be just so but it will reward you in a way the cheap flute won't when you get it right.

My thinking on this challenge - if it even is one - is happiness not frustration.  I realise that I'll have to work hard to master something a lot more precise and subtle but ultimately with a reward once achieved.  I could blow on the old flute for another 25 years and the tone wouldn't improve.  So it's all learning and pushing myself to another level .. and that's all great.

Now past midnight and I've spent the evening on a great first date.  But I've work in the morning so will have to call it a night.  That was fun .. let's do it again ..

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