My favorite flute?

2009 October 20

I’ve been out performing this month again and as always I got a question that stumps me every time some one asks it: “What’s your favorite flute?”

I’ve been asked this question at least a hundred times and it still surprises me. Mostly because I’ve never sat down and thought about it on my own. “…hmm, what’s my favorite flute?” It is a perfectly reasonable question, I guess, but one that I could never answer.

Why not? Well here are a few reasons.

Too Many
I’ve been playing Native American style flutes for over ten years now and stopped counting how many I had at least nine years ago. As my collection grows I forget about some of the old ones. Newer ones catch my attention and they get played more. It’s human nature.

Not All Flutes Sound Alike
Every flute I have sounds slightly different. What I like about the sound of one flute may be great for a certain mood, musical style, or playing style, but not work as well outside of those parameters. I might prefer other flutes for other moods, styles or types of playing.

The sounds of some flutes I own are sweet, some are clear, some are loud, some are soft, some are warm, etc. Many flutes have a lot of these qualities, but not all flutes have every good quality one might look for. I’ve never heard a flute than can sound both “plains” and “woodland” style. It’s one or the other.

This may be why I prefer some flutes over others, they do more of the things I want a flute to do than others. Flutes that can be played soulfully one minute and then aggressively the next I like better than flutes that only play one way.

This doesn’t even begin to address Anasazi flutes, Mojave flutes and other “world” flutes. Although the same parameters apply. The more I can do with one flute the more I like it.

Too Specific
Some flutes are so specific that they end up limiting themselves. I have drone flutes and doubles that do a few things really well, but not everything. Bass flutes and really high pitched flutes can also fall victim to their specific design. When you get down to it all NAFs are based on one key and that limits them as well. So all flutes suffer from being specific in some way.

A World Full Of Options
In the end the main reason why I could never pick a “favorite” flute is that I like to keep my options open. I don’t have a favorite color, or a favorite meal, (I do have a favorite food: pumpkin… go figure), I like many different styles of music, a variety of tea blends and types of beer, I like all the seasons (although I think I prefer fall), and as the seasons change and the food at the farmer’s market changes I get excited with all the new stuff they offer.

Variety is the spice of life and there are so many wonderful things on our planet for us to pick from that I don’t see how anyone could ever say “This is my favorite.”

So, now that I’ve thought about it, do I have a favorite flute? Well surprisingly I do…
But it will change tomorrow.

6 Comments leave one →
2009 October 21
Rick McDaniel / Lewisville, TX permalink

Pretty much feel the same way. perhaps the “favorite” is the newest, whose songs are still being explored.

2009 October 21

Hmmm … Maybe I don’t have enough flutes yet. I do have two or three favorites that stand out from a first-rate crowd, but I know what you mean about them changing from day to day, mood to mood, song to song, etc.

I think people early on in their flute journey are just looking for advice about what flutes to buy–there’s certainly a difference between great and not-so-great flutes. It’s hard to know the difference, though, unless you’ve played a fair number of each.

2009 October 21
Penni H permalink

The great part is a flute that has been ignored for a while can suddenly become a favorite again.

2009 October 25
Mark Harper permalink

Reminds me of the question of whats your favorite CD? I am in a place currently where the low flutes are just not interesting to me. This too will pass.

2009 December 14
BigJohn permalink

ok, well since “what Flute is your favorite” is a subjective issue and hard to answer, how about this…which Flute do you gravitate more towards? i am sure it depends upon your mood for that day,but i am sure there is one you reach for more then others,on those days? which one or ones would they be? i have 3 as of now i go for they are my Chris Ti Coom in (Em), My Laughing Crow in (F#m), and last but not least, my Butch Hall (Am), i Love them all but these are my main ones i grab depending upon my mood, Peace,BigJohn.

2009 December 14

Lately I’ve been “gravitating” the most to my new Charango… Go figure…

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