Playing inside a car

Playing inside a car

Playing inside a car    16:31 on Monday, September 24, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Some neighbours of mine have lost their patience with my practise and therefore I am playing more often inside my car, wjile parked in my garage.

But it is not a comfortable place and worst of all, holding the music sheets in a reasonable position is very difficult. Anybody has found a solution to the problem of fixing the sheets to the steering wheel or its equivalent?

Any commercial solutions anywhere?

Re: Playing inside a car    17:17 on Tuesday, September 25, 2012          

(48 points)
Posted by Tonehole

That sounds really grim.

I suppose you've already tried playing when they're out, or limiting it to an hour at a time?

There's no way I could manage to play in a car. I only have 2 doors in mine and I'd poke the window with the end of a standard C Boehm concert flute. It's quite amazing if you're managing to play and not getting deafened!

Maybe just stick the music on the rear windscreen wiper and play it standing? You can buy a music stand lamp to illuminate it maybe. Or just blu-tack it onto the outside of the window and play that way.

I don't know if it helps, but if you were playing a baroque traverso instead of a Boehm concert flute, your neighbours might not notice. Mine don't I'm really loving the baroque traverso - these were designed for chamber music and translate very well for modern chamber sized rooms. The Boehm concert flute is definitely more of a concert venue instrument with a louder penetrating sound. I'm afraid, even the most patient of people show their explosive side with me after a week in their company. They just don't understand that a flute player needs a good 4 hour practice session daily :/

Re: Playing inside a car    08:46 on Wednesday, September 26, 2012          
Re: Playing inside a car    08:48 on Wednesday, September 26, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

I think I have tried everything and so far had managed to avoid serious confrontations with neighbours. But some of them are more understanding than others and many come and go after a few months. The woman that has complained directly used to leave for her job early, but now she seems to be at home all the time. If she is jobless and nervous I suppose she might not be willing to listen to an amateur like me two hours a day.

Playing inside a car is not so bad, except for the music sheet problem. In fact it has some advantages. For example, there in no reverb at all and it helps in listening to the actual tone one is producing. It is not deafening, all the contrary. I play every day in the garage, outside the car, but the reverberation is very high and misleading. Then, when I play during my lesson or in student concerts it sounds so different that everything looks more difficult, frustrating and I am never satisfied. Studying in a very brilliant space is quite a bad thing, in my opinion.

I have a big car and there is enough space inside, but of course I cannot stand and must play seated. Another advantage is that I can play out of the normal hours, for example if I arrive late and have not yet practised.

Re: Playing inside a car    08:55 on Wednesday, September 26, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

"Could you put some kind of mini-stand on something like this?"

yes indeed, this is the idea, but a desk or tray like the one you kindly reported is not adequate. It must be mostly vertical and hold the sheets from below, as a normal stand does.

One problem with the stand is that the music must be placed rather high on the steering wheel, otherwise I have to bend the head too much to look at it and this spoils my tone and is a very uncomfortable position

Re: Playing inside a car    13:25 on Wednesday, September 26, 2012          

(57 points)
Posted by Watcher

So put something like this on the desk:

If its too low, but some books under the unit to prop it up.

Re: Playing inside a car    15:06 on Wednesday, September 26, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Yes, I could use the desk/tray + a table music stand. Thank you.

I will use this arrangement if I cannot find something simpler and more portable. In these days I will visit a big music local store and check what they offer as table stands.

I also think that a standard,cheap music stand (collapsible type) that could be detached from its foot could be hung in some way on the steering wheel. I will see and report on the solution finally adopted. Thank you for your ideas.

Re: Playing inside a car    11:01 on Thursday, September 27, 2012          

(260 points)
Posted by travel2165

Do you have a close neighbor who has a van or SUV? You could surely set up a stand in such a vehicle!

Re: Playing inside a car    15:18 on Thursday, September 27, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

I own a Honda CRV 4x4 but it is not really a SUV. I cannot stand in it. The garage is too low for really tall vans to enter (max height at lowest, problematic passes is only 1.80 meters). Otherwise I would by one myself!

Concerning the Traverso idea, I am quite tempted, as I prefer baroque music over any other and the Traverso would be perfect for it. But I am not so advanced with the Böhm flute so as to say "OK, now for the Traverso". I still have to work a lot on my chosen instrument. Also my teacher cannot play it.

Re: Playing inside a car    18:36 on Friday, September 28, 2012          

(48 points)
Posted by Tonehole

Jose -

I've found a solution for you.

Get your grumpy unemployed neighbour to hold your sheet music for you whilst you play. You can pay her in 6/8 time along with a few waltzes and scherzos

I'm a big traverso fan! Suddenly after years of dithering, I decided just to buy the Aulos Stanesby replica. I really love it! I do have another two traversos at the moment as well.

There are no baroque teachers within a 100miles of me. I've had to teach myself. The Quantz 'On Playing the Flute' is the masterpiece treatise for the baroque traverso - it was written with the baroque traverso in mind. It's an excellent resource. Of course, I'll never be as good as the conservatory grade players but I'm not trying to be (I do have a day job lol). Just want to enjoy baroque dance music played live. As great as recordings can be, I prefer live flute music, than recorded.

are extremely good quality - much cheaper than the Aulos and you get handmade craftmanship with it. If you're new to the baroque traverso, you will probably prefer the Grenser or the Rottenburgh design. I've just bought a flute from Luc to try out - it has a miniscule embouchure which will really challenge me. He's very approachable if you email him too (no relation or anything - just a happy traverso player

I don't know about you, but I started off on the Boehm flute. I like it for playing outdoors in summer when I have the space. I think it was Brahms who referred to the Boehm flute sound unflatteringly as a cannon! Schwedler, the leading German flutist of his generation, also agreed and refused to allow the German conservatories to adopt the Boehm flute (rather ironic, in view of its inventor's origin) and preferred the wooden conical (romantic) flute or 8 key simple system flute.

I must say - I discovered the simple system key: these come in various guises. Some are loud and honky (like the Irish flute) and others, are sweet and dapple delicate (like the German Meyer style). These are much cheaper than baroque traversos, but being old, often have problems and need a bit of skill to get back to playing order. They share much in common with the baroque traverso - like the conical bore - and sound sweet and delicate, rather than bright and harsh like the Boehms tend to.

It does get confusing learning 3 systems (Boehm; simple system, and baroque fingerings) although I can play better on the Boehm than the others, I prefer the baroque traverso for indoors. The first month was tiresome, trying to stop hearing my breath sizzling all the notes through lack of embouchure control with the traverso. It's much better now. Fingerings are mostly intuitive if you ever played school recorder. The baroque finger grip is different from the Boehm hold too. Ultimately, it's a more refined instrument, so the delicate shades of tonguing also show up (di-de-di-de or de-di-dil-de-di-dil are very differently sounded from ti-ri-ti-ri-ti or ti-te-te-ti on baroque traverso). I really enjoy mine - the fact that I'm still unable to complete a Bach sonata without so many mistakes on traverso doesn't bother me. It's really good fun trying to play it and strive for improvement each time. With a baroque traverso, I don't mind if I never reach perfection, it's that enjoyable just trying. Whereas with a Boehm flute, I find myself frustrated and annoyed with each feels like a chore trying to get through the end without choking...!

Re: Playing inside a car    05:25 on Saturday, September 29, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis

Thanks for all that information!.

But first, your solution will not work. You do not know my jobless neighbour! She much resembles the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauber Flöte.

I am and feel much better and safer locked in my car on the second basement than near her, on the fifth floor. Also because she is not a user of the garage and therefore has no key to enter...

Learning to play the Traverso, wow! I have to consider this carefully. I am not young, to say it positively, and I give all my efforts to the Böhm flute. Otherwise I would not advance and even so, I improve very slowly. I have to work months if not years on a piece such as Bach's Suite BWV 1067 (the "Overture" in B minor), just to play it without errors and a marginally passable, but still not satisfying tone.

So taking time and physical capacity (my hands ache after a couple of hours practise) from my main instrument would probably go against my progress, but I do no not know.

And I have a waiting line, too. I have a very nice,Indian artisan-made Bambu Bansuri (E scale) awaiting my decision to start learning it and I also own a simple system flute (five keys) but is not playable without some repairs.

But still tempted.

Re: Playing inside a car    16:29 on Saturday, September 29, 2012          

(48 points)
Posted by Tonehole

"You do not know my jobless neighbour! She much resembles the Queen of the Night in Mozart's Die Zauber Flöte."

There must be some music that can shake the ice from her dreadlocks

I wish I had been introduced to the traverso when I was in college's only hit my radar when I could afford my own. I figured I'd want to try to play it as one of life's wishes before death - it makes life more satisfying

The Boehm flute is much heavier ... also more clunky with its typewriter keys click clack clackety clack away. It's great to have one or two, since most fantastic wooden flutes (like your bansuri) are diatonic. I tried a bansuri and couldn't cope with the finger stretch...but the xiao flute fits my fingers much better - it has a virile deep tone with feminine elegance too.

If you find your hands are aching after a few hours, it's probably best to give it a rest and try a different flute with a different grip. The baroque traverso is held differently - I find it relaxing alternating between the baroque grip and the Boehm grip without tiring.

Is that 5 key system flute, the same one you showed me months ago when I joined this forum? I've managed to repair a few simple system flutes which had minor issues - like new pads, or rethreading the tenon. I did seal a crack in one, but it isn't very pleasing so I will try again. The only one which is really giving me a headache, is one without a long F key (missing/broken). I haven't found anything to replace it to hot solder back into place, and it would need the wooden block rebuilding too.

What's wrong with your simple system flute? In any case, it might be mid-way loud between a baroque traverso and a Boehm flute. With the traverso flutes, some of the sweetest and dainty sounding ones have very small embouchure holes - around 7mm lol. That's a big change from 12-14mm embouchures

Re: Playing inside a car    06:49 on Sunday, September 30, 2012          

(2368 points)
Posted by jose_luis


Those traverso's (traversi?) by L. Verhoeven look nice and are affordable. Do you have one of these (if so, which model?)or are you playing another type? Anyway I will have a look at other possibilities before deciding.

My E scale Bansuri was made to my hands' size, I sent a picture to the artisan. But still, it requires a lot of finger extension and I fear for my old hands. The holes are big and they must be covered not with the finger tips but with the next lower finger part (sorry no idea of its name), so this increases the finger extension needed to cover them. But the sound is beautiful, as is the whole instrument.

The traverso is a different issue, no keys except for the lowest note (is it a "C"?) and similar to a recorder fingering, I suppose.

The simple system flute I received as a gift from a pro musician friend of mine, a bassoon player. He told me that none of his friends at the orchestra (including the flutists) had been able to obtain any sound out of it.

That was surprising because I managed to make it sound rather easily. The trick was to insert the head section into the barrel section very deeply. The problem is with the keys and pads; they are in bad shape and the keys do not move very freely. But I do not plan to have it fixed because I have no intention of learning another fingering.

I only have one simple system instrument so if I showed a picture to you it must be the same. Sorry I cannot recall that opportunity in detail.

I have just measured the blowing holes sizes: the simple system is 10x11 mm; my Nagahara headjoint is 10x11,5 and the Bansuri is 11,5x12 mm These values are not very exact as I am using a very old caliper. The "good", electronic (though chinese) one stopped working some time ago.

Have just found this: Any comment?

Re: Playing inside a car    10:09 on Sunday, September 30, 2012          

(48 points)
Posted by Tonehole


yes I just bought one of the Verhoeven traversos - I could tell you which one, but then I would have to kill ....

I think I've gone overboard....I was so entranced with the Aulos Stanesby, I finally bought a von Huene Grenser replica in marine coated boxwood I have a few English vintage traversos which I'm slowly repairing and have only just succeeded in getting a sound from. I'm not an expert repairer, so I mostly manage by researching and going along with the internet advice...

I'd avoid the Lissieu model in the link: it is a prototype early baroque model without a key, and has intonation problems across the scale. Generally, if you stay with a Rottenburgh or a Grenser model until you know what you're after, this is probably the safest route. However the Aulos plastic Rottenburgh copy is much inferior to the Stanesby replica. Stanesby replicas have a special tone - it's still very different from my von Huene Grenser replica.

I gave up trying to play the Bansuri and the Irish low D flute. My finger stretch just can't handle the piper's grip without acheing. With the Irish low D flute - like the Bansuri - the 5th hole was so large that my fingers could fall through it!

With baroque traversos - the majority have the lowest note of 'D' above middle C. They are tuned to A= 392Hz, 398Hz, 400Hz, 402 Hz, 410 Hz, 415 Hz, 420 Hz, 425 Hz or 440 Hz. The A= 415Hz is my most popular one, but I'm planning on getting a A=400Hz one eventually. The Verhoeven one I ordered is a A=392Hz. Generally, unless you play ensemble, you should stay with A=415Hz or more popular, A=440Hz. The problem with A=440Hz is that it doesn't sound much fun nor very baroque to me.

Fingerings are very simple for the baroque traverso if you play all the tones - just like a recorder or flute mostly. The semi-tones shouldn't take more than a month to learn. Third octave goes to high A, although the test of a good baroque traverso, is how it handles the 3rd octave high F. My Aulos Stanesby is not quite smooth with that note - very important for some Bach sonatas

About your simple system flute: there must be air leaking from some of the keyed pads (which need replacing). If you measure the internal diameter of the pads, you can order clarinet leather pads to replace them (flute pads are too big). You prise the key out using a stretched out paper clip and push the pin out. That way the pad just pops out. You can use a screwdriver and hairdryer to remove the remainder of the pad, and then rub down with alcohol. Then, either use hot melted wax or just fabric glue to bed the pad. You have to check its position before remounting to make sure it sits perfectly, or you will not get a good seal.

Since you only have 5 keys, that is only 5 pads's very easy work once you get past the psychological barrier and shock of having to tamper with a vintage relic

If your headjoint needs to be inserted deep into the barrel, it's possible that it just needs some cork grease to seal it perfectly, so that it can play. It's not necessary to learn another fingering with the simple system flute too: you can use it like your bansuri: just tape up all of the keyed vent holes with PTFE tape and use the 6 tone holes like a diatonic instrument

Best regards

Re: Playing inside a car    03:00 on Tuesday, October 02, 2012          

(423 points)
Posted by Plekto

This really is an extension of how you deal with your parents and relatives and playing in front of them. Most people are put off and find it hard to be put on the spot like that at first, and so you have to force yourself to eventually cope with it.

This is a terribly common problem that professionals have to deal with as well - you simply cannot BE a professional if you don't practice. And someone will *always* have an issue with it.

No acoustic or human breath powered instrument is loud enough to violate any city's noise limits or restrictions. Cities have strict limits on acceptable hours for loud noises, but they tend to start at about 10pm. As long as you comply with these two rules to the letter, simply ignore your neighbor.


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