“Touch not the flute when drums are sounding around; when fools have the word, the wise will be silent.” Johann Gottfried Von Herder .

“A man needs something to do.”- Waylon Payne to my Bro-in-law Wyatt Earp. Oct. 2002.

I didn’t touch flutes for over a month. Then I built one and left out two of about 25 steps. Not good. I was working on an outdoor cabana/spa project that a number of you folks …….uh, paid for. I figured if I build enough crap in my backyard, I won’t have any lawn left to mow. I basically built the flute to see if I could still do it. Having probably a touch of early onset Alzheimer’s and a generous helping of ADHD, I end up with short term memory loss, but I’m too busy chasing fragmented ideas to notice. There’s always something new to stare at. So the flute build was just a test. In my world, the phrase “It’s like riding a bike, you just never forget” has no meaning whatsoever.

Along those same lines, before I forget, there’s a nifty little product available now, to help you find your car in a parking lot. It’s an inexpensive, stripped down little keychain GPS receiver. I’m thinking of getting one so I can find my way back to the living room from the bathroom. This “Golden Years” bull**** is highly over-rated.

We had an Easter Sunday earthquake here in Southern California that I’m kind of thankful for. I’m not particularly fond of earthquakes, but as it was occurring, I thought I was having some kind of brain event, like a stroke, because everything and everybody was kind of floating around. I’m happy it was an earthquake because I think it’s probably much easier to build flutes after an earthquake, than after a stroke.

On another note, although I build flutes, my bride has a real job, and she goes to it four days a week. The R&D Div. of Querencia Woodwinds never sleeps, and since creativity knows no bounds, and I make her lunch each day for work, I came up with the “Querencia Bag O’ Pie” for desert. It’s just a slice of lemon meringue pie, or cherry or whatever, dumped into a Ziploc sandwich bag…..with a plastic fork. I think the concept is brilliant although it doesn’t look too good. So far she hasn’t taken me up on my bag o’ pie, and won’t go near it. She still likes the bag o’ Cheez-Its though.

My thoughts on Tablature……
Putting our flute hats on for a moment. I want to write a little bit about the instrument specific notation system known as tablature. As opposed to standard notation. This basically allows you to play previously composed music, guided by little flute pictures, depicting various finger holes covered or open. Robert Gatliff, a flute historian, has a number of interesting archives at Flutetree.com. among them being tablature to contemporary music. http://www.flutetree.com/songbook/contemporary/index.html I think for the purpose of capturing the essence of a favorite little song, tablature is the ticket, with significant limitations. Specifically, since your NA flute is tuned to a minor pentatonic, the majority of contemporary music will require some degree of half holing, and cross fingering to play the melody. My concern is that novice flute players, who limit themselves to trying to duplicate songs…exclusively, will lose interest in an instrument that is so easy, and has so much more to offer. Recent bone flute discoveries indicate this instrument has been around for AT LEAST 35,000 years. Those folks didn’t have tablature. They didn’t have sheet music either. What they did have, was a passionate desire to express themselves with sound, either by mimicking the noises of the natural world around them or recreating a melody that was just stirring in the soul. From my perspective, playing a previously composed song with your flute, is an accomplishment, while capturing a melody from your soul, is cathartic, and sheer magic. Ok then.

Yosemite flute festival……….

The only field trip I take each year, flute-wise, is to this festival. http://www.yosemiteflutefest.com/ It’s in Oakhurst, which isn’t exactly in Yosemite…but about 30 miles away. Anyone who likes flutes, and thinks they might want one, should make their purchase at a flute festival, where you get to noodle around on lots of flutes, from lots of builders. If you’re considering attending this event, and think you might want to purchase one of MY flutes…bring cash. Otherwise I’m going to get that call from the nice lady in Sacramento about the monkey. (see the blog entry of 3/7/10) What’s great about this event is the area is spectacular, even if you hate flutes. The mountains are beautiful, you’re at the front door of Yosemite, Oakhurst is a real town, and down the road is a huge Indian casino that looks from the road like a giant Russian penitentiary. If the airfare is too pricey from where you live, the festival isn’t for almost 4 months. You could walk. If you’re in Maine…leave tomorrow, and don’t forget the bottled water. In any case, have a great summer.