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How can we get further than a quarter-tone system flute?

In the previous blog we discussed the benefits of the Kingma system, apart from for the performance of modern music. We concluded that tuning is aided by the quarter-tone system. However, much like a standard Boehm flute, that is something one will really have to work out and get used to.

So what is a Glissando Headjoint? Invented by the modern-flute-music Guru Robert Dick, this headjoint is made of a tube within a tube. The outer-tube has a lip-plate and slides over the inner-tube to create a glissando away from the original pitch. The flautist controls the glissando by moving their head from left to right, pushing the outer-tube with a set of levers that extend from area just outside the lip plate.
The really interesting thing about this headjoint is how much flexibility it gives you: one can play any note in any dynamic in tune, whilst maintaining the optimal lip position for the best sound production! However, I tried some arpeggios and found the theory very difficult to put into practice. As someone who played flute since an early age, I could not stop my whole sound production apparatus from changing to a position which would ensure an in-tune note as if on my own flute. I think with some practice this can be achieved though, so one could use this as an everyday flute.
More and more music is being written for this type of instrument, so if you’re into premiering and commissioning new works then this should get a few composers interested in writing for you. Also, I think jazz players will find it “funky” to play on, mainly because of the gliassandi that one can have between the notes. I must admit that I could not restrain myself from putting a few cheeky slides in a Bach sonata when I was trying this headjoint out. After all, “Bach is the closest thing to Jazz until you get to…..Jazz”.
So in conclusion, I personally think this is a great creation. I take off my hat to the great mind of Robert Dick for thinking of such a invention. I highly doubt that it will be bought by top end orchestral players; it will just create more problems than it will solve for someone who is not used to it. However, Boehm’s original design wasn’t exactly an overnight hit either. Maybe it’s just a matter of time.
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