“Art before commerce” Randy Jackson, American Idol, 3/16/11.
“God gave us music that we might pray without words.” Jon Norris Music, (attributable to the inscription on an opera house in Germany.)
QUERENCIA WOODWINDS MISSION STATEMENT…. “I will build the finest flutes possible, from the finest rare and exotic materials available on Earth…… except during my nap, during Happy Hour, and when I get called in for dinner.”
Well, the magic continues here at Querencia Woodwinds World Headquarters. I’m no marketing genius, and I can prove it. I’m working on flutes with interchangeable barrels or sound chambers. You’ll be able to buy two flutes, and only pay for one….Don’t feel like playing your Am flute anymore today? Pull the barrel off and replace it with your Em barrel. The concept is not new….but the R&D dept. here at Querencia World HQ figured out how to do it without charging a trillion dollars. The downside is that we, meaning me, or I, won’t be throwing in a silk or deerskin lined presentation box, signed by some notable recording artist. In fact, I won’t include any box at all, other than the one used for shipping. Stay tuned.
DRUM CIRCLES…AND YOUR HEALTH
We played an event on the Redondo Beach boardwalk/pier in mid-June. One flute and 12 drummers, manning timbales, Djembes, kettle drums, congas, and three seven-piece kit sets. These folks generate a LOT of noise. My job during drum circles, which can host 30-40 participants, is to basically provide a melody for a train wreck. This was different as there were few participants. We actually got a standing ovation. We did so by taking a lot of the chairs away after the first break, hence the standing part of the ovation…… On a more somber note, if you enjoy the wild abandon associated with drum circles….please enjoy them sparingly. As the flute player, using cordless amplification, I roam well outside the circle, and I’ve been doing this for 8 years. My personal best distance was an eighth of a mile. …big drum circle. I’ll tell you why. It is estimated that 27 million folks in this country have cerebral aneurisms or ballooning blood vessels in their heads. It’s more dangerous to fix them than to try and get through life without having one burst. I’ve seen three people suffer hemorrhagic stroke in drum circles; one, while talking to me. As explained to me by that individual’s neurologist, the brain has pockets of fluid, which start vibrating in the midst of a drum circle with a strong bass mother beat. The vibration can rupture cerebral blood vessels, and the party is over. All I’m saying is use moderation. ….and stay away from the guy with the really BIG drum. I would probably sidestep the next stage-side visit to a Guns n Roses concert as well.
A COUPLE OF WORDS ABOUT TUNING AND PITCH…..
Most folks take for granted a musical pitch wherein A is tuned to 440 Hz, with the rest of the notes following that tuning benchmark. This pitch was more or less standardized in 1955, for all the wrong reasons. I have begun building a number of flutes wherein A is tuned to 432 Hz, known as the Verdi Pitch. The voice difference is both subtle, and remarkable. The story of this pitch is full of intrigue, and mathematics, but nevertheless, worth learning about. This link presents a good starting point… http://www.omega432.com/music.html . On another note, I built a couple of headstocks similar to those used with the interchangeable barrels, only the barrels are sections of PVC wherein I can experiment with obscure and unusual tunings, without destroying a perfectly good flute, and sending it to my Querencia wind chime. If I screw up the tuning or melodic sequence, I just slap in another three cents worth of PVC pipe, and start over…. My latest success is a six hole Celtic tuning, referred to by Scott August as “Celtic with a minor 7th thrown in”. My personal favorite definition of this tuning was provided to me by Clint Goss. Both he and Scott are premier music theorists, but Clint’s “Mixolydian Hexatonic” is the hands-down winning definition. Most of the time when I chat with either of these two gentlemen, within seconds, I’m lost and have no idea what they’re talking about.
Speaking of tunings, and Scott August….He’s written and performs a beautiful downloadable song for Leonard (Lone Crow) McGann, with 100% of the proceeds going to help Leonard fight his battle with bone cancer. Leonard is a legendary flute maker, and Scott plays this number on one of Leonard’s mode 2/5 flutes. As soon as I heard this song, I called Leonard and had him build me one of these flutes. You might want to do the same after hearing it. You can get some information about the flute, and get to the sample/purchase page for the song here….. http://cedarmesa.blogspot.com/2011/08/lone-crow-flute.html A little note about Leonard. This guy is the real deal. He’s a legend among flute builders, and lives on ‘Difficult Creek Road” outside….WAY outside… Bedford, Virginia, in the mountains. While I had him on the phone one day, I did a Google Earth search for his house. What filled my screen initially was a mass of mountains and trees. As I drilled down, I spotted a little clearing which then became a dirt road, a barn, a house with a pick-up out front, a little tilled field, and some small shacks. I inquired as to what the blue dot was in the middle of his property, as I was using it as a target, to find his place in the middle of nowhere. I thought it was perhaps a Jacuzzi. It was not. He informed me it was a poly tarp tied between three trees so his dog could get out of the rain. If you look at his place from space, look for the tarp. And please say a prayer or two for Leonard as well.
I hope everybody experiences a warm and joyous holiday season. I would also hope you mark the New Year by remaining healthy, wealthy, and wise. I realize the part about wealthy is a huge challenge, unless you own a bank, so in the coming week I’m going to be deeply discounting my current flute inventory. If you do own a bank, let me know in advance, and I’ll let you pay the old price for an instrument, since you’re buying it with my money anyway. Play nice. RH