Please, I am desperate!

Please, I am desperate!

Please, I am desperate!    15:45 on Thursday, October 01, 2009          

(1 point)
Posted by mbattle78

Hello fellow music enthusiasts..I have a challenge (which may not be much of a challenge, but I am not a flutist as of yet so I claim ignorance!!!)

My absolute favorite piece of music is written by James Horner in the Braveheart soundtrack#16 "The Princess pleads for Wallace's Life"

The above link is a sample of the track.

It's an absolutely beautiful wavering question is, what is it EXACTLY? Is it a normal flute or something more specialized? It has an unbelievably beautiful warm tone...if anyone can find this out, I would be eternally grateful. Thanks!!!


Re: Please, I am desperate!    16:53 on Thursday, October 01, 2009          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

I do not understand why are you so desperate.

Anyeway, a nice song, probably played by someone with fast and strong vibrato on a normal flute.

Other possibility, quite frequent in film music, is the use of a synthesized instruments, even a whole orchestra. For me it is difficult to tell the difference as those recordings have a great deal of electronic manipulation and enhacement in a ny case.

Re: Please, I am desperate!    17:44 on Thursday, October 01, 2009          

(257 points)
Posted by musicman_944

It's possible that it could be a synthesized sound, but it sounds more like a low D Tin Whistle. The "wavering" sound is a technique used when playing the whistle. This sound is produced by using a technique called finger vibrato. Here's a couple of references:

Whistles in various keys were popular in movie music from that timeframe. Another one that comes to mind is Celine Dion's song "My Heart Will Go On" from the movie Titanic. It featured the prominent use of a Generation Bb tin whistle but without using finger vibrato. Watch the beginning of this:

Re: Please, I am desperate!    17:59 on Thursday, October 01, 2009          

(2369 points)
Posted by jose_luis

You are probably right. And listening again to Celine Dion's Titanic was a pleasant moment. The female whistle player there is also quite nice to listen. And to look at!

Re: Please, I am desperate!    18:00 on Thursday, October 01, 2009          


It sounds like one of those Indian flutes or whistles to me. Sometimes it will say on the back of the CD cover.

Re: Please, I am desperate!    05:41 on Friday, October 02, 2009          

(1335 points)
Posted by Bilbo

A more complete version.
There are more than one Flute sounds used.
I would venture to say that the opening one is a synthesized sound similar to a pan flute in quality also called in some countries by the name of Syrinx.

Later on in the piece, they use a standard concert flute.

To hear something similar I would research the S. American tune, "El Condor Pasa"
or just see this vid:
The melody doesn't really start until about :35 into the vid and it's not necessarily showing the instrument being played while you are watching.
Pay attention to the vibrato. If I may add, I'd say that they aren't using finger vibrato. (Esp. with pan flutes) it's a breath vibrato on either the pan flutes or the traditional fipple flutes. Finger vibrato "the Softening" as it was called in the baroque period and in some folk music is a bit more subtle as it diminishes the tone when used but also it's a bit less consistent.


from a bit of a search, the synth programmer on the movie was Ian Underwood. Ian Underwood is an interesting individual from what I see in his experiences and I would contend that the "Flute" in the beginning of this song is synth but later it would have added the Flutist from the LSO. Mixing the live with the synth makes the synth sounds more human to most listeners.

"Personnel: James Horner (conductor, keyboards); Choristers of Westminster Abbey (vocals); Tony Hinnegan (kena, whistle); Eric Rigler (Uilleann pipes); Mike Taylor (bodhran, whistle); Ian Underwood (programming); London Symphony Orchestra.

Recorded at EMI Abbey Road, London, England. Includes liner notes by Mel Gibson.

All music written by James Horner."


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