Author: Fintan Vallely
A Complete Guide to Learning the Irish Flute is the most comprehensive tutor yet for keyed and unkeyed ‘Irish’ wooden flutes. Originally published in 1986 under the title Timber, Fintan Vallely’s tutor was the first-ever guide to learning the wooden flute and has become the source for countless students of the instrument in Irish music. This new, revised, expanded and thoroughly illustrated edition is designed for all levels, from the absolute beginner to advanced player. With his comprehensive, step-by-step guidance and entertaining and highly informative text, Vallely takes the learner through every aspect of flute playing – from holding, blowing and fingering to ornamentation, breathing, articulation and practice. Photographs illustrate the instructions throughout, and a 2-CD set of recordings with 180 tracks not only demonstrates everything from how to read music to all of the techniques discussed, but also includes recordings of each of the 100 tunes in the book.
Learning is simplified by presenting the various aspects of playing in neat, achievable modules, which help break down many of the difficulties encountered in first-time playing and carry the student through to exploring more advanced techniques. This makes the book ideal not only as a beginner’s guide, but also as a manual for all stages of playing, a resource that can be used productively for many years. Written with both the essential traditional elements and modern-day usage of the flute in mind – including rhythm, articulation, harmonics and pitch change – these techniques, rarely discussed in the past outside of jazz and orchestral flute playing, not only offer huge potential to the budding virtuoso, but are of immeasurable value in tone production for all players. The tutor can be used for learning to play any kind of flute – long or short, in any key – and is suitable too for learning the tin whistle, for those who wish to begin on it with a view to later moving on to the flute.
Finally, helpful notes include advice on choosing a flute, recommended further music to play or listen to and discrete tips on session etiquette. The aim of this tutor is to help new generations of flute players to master this wonderful instrument. The author hopes that it will contribute not only to raising standards in flute playing but also to the development of Irish traditional music in all its forms, from flute making through to performance. It is hoped too that it will encourage players outside Ireland to explore the use of the flute – as has already been done with great style in the music of Brittany and Scotland.