My new Copley and Boegli flute

My new Copley and Boegli flute

I’ve been playing modern ‘classical’ Boehm flute for several years (I’m a music teacher) but over the last year have become really interested in Irish music, to the point where I wanted an ‘Irish’ style flute as well as a whistle.

After lots of reading on this site and others I finally decided on a Copley and Boegli (from the US), made of Delrin polymer (as my budget doesn’t extend to wood and I like the convenience and durability of polymer), without a tuning slide and with silver rings at the joint ends. I’ve only had it a week and so still have trouble with the right hand stretch (much more than I’m used to) plus my fingertips are quite small, but otherwise I’m very happy with it.

Dave Copley is very prompt with replying to any inquiries and was happy to put in a left thumb hole for C natural for me, at no extra charge (a wonderful thing for Boehm players!). When I can cover the holes properly it makes a lovely strong sound and people have already said it sounds like wood. The Delrin is quite attractive, too, in that it’s textured to resemble woodgrain. It’s beautifully made and the embouchure hole is very easy to play, just like my silver flute.

I was lucky enough to put in my order when he’d just finished a new batch of them, and so despite the Easter holidays, it arrived in Australia in 9 days. So for anyone who’s considering buying a new flute, I’d say definitely consider a Copley.


Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

Linden, congrats on your new flute! I played a blackwood Copley for a few years—excellent flute.

You mention having small fingertips—it might help to realize that most trad flute players don’t cover the holes with their fingertips. Instead, they use the finger pads or even further down the finger (using the "piper’s grip"). This makes the reach between holes easier, and also makes for faster, cleaner cuts and rolls. (Of course there are some exceptions—some mighty fluters do use their fingertips, but most don’t.)

Enjoy your Copley and the tunes!

Posted .

Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

If you had played an open-holed Boehm flute, you’d already know not to use your finger tips :-)

Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

I play an open holed Boehm flute as well as Irish and I use fingertips on the Boehm - no trouble at all. I have recently bought a Forbes Pratten style Irish flute (Delryn as well) and had to play around with swivveling the head and foot joints a bit until I was more comfortable with the hand position, and also exploring my whole body/arm position. Still fine tuning it after a couple of months, but I do find the hand position easier than my Cheiftain low whistle. Maybe struggling with that helped when I got my Irish flute as anything is easier than the low whistle! I use pipers grip on the low whistle but on the Irish flute I use something sort of inbetween that and the Boehm.

Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

The commentary concerning using a piper’s grip is a lot of hooey.

I’ve played both Boehm (open and closed), Pratten and R&R system for many, many years. I’m assuming from your post that you’ve had your Copley for a fairly short time.

I play a Hamilton/Meyer/Ellard with an upright left hand and pads on my right hand. This piping position discussion is nonsense (unless you’re a practicing piper and this is your normal proclivity) . These critical discussioners are merely folks who are non-proficient players projecting what they’d like to do - but not what they can do.
The reality is you need to play in the way that is most comfortable for you. If you want to reinvent your physical tendencies, that’s admirable, but for most of us, we just want to play tunes within the style and sound good to ourselves. So, I’d advise you to practice 1 to 2 hours per day for 2 to 3 years and by that time you’ll be able to decide what’s right for you and pass that information on to others who want to play in this incredible tradition.
The key here is YOU - the given is that you have a good instrument - and how you think about the music and who you most want to emulate - then, as a consequence be influenced by, then what you want to play.

Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

Toppish makes sense here. I’m originally a Highland piper and took up Irish flute in the late 1970’s.

Highland pipers usually use the "piper’s grip" on the low hand (using fairly flat fingers, with the fleshy pads on the finger’s middle joints sealing the holes) but use the pads of the finger’s end joints for the upper hand.

So this way of fingering was what came naturally to me, but nevertheless I didn’t use it when I took up the flute. I used the normal "classical" hold on the upper hand (flute resting on the top of the palm, fingers curled around the flute tube, sealing the holes with the endjoint pads) and while I kept my fingers fairly flat I used the endjoint pads on my bottom hand as well. (See how Matt Molloy holds his flute- he was my first flute hero and I tried to copy him.)

Now Low D Whistle is a different animal altogether and I do use the full "piper’s grip", lower hand and upper hand, for that.
The reason is that the fingerholes are much further apart on my Low D Whistle than on my flute, and the "piper’s grip" allows the fingers to remain relaxed while still covering the wider stretch.

Re: My new Copley and Boegli flute

Thanks for all your replies. Yes, several people have suggested I use further down my right fingers rather than the tips and I’ve been doing this, and mostly it’s easier than using the tips. I guess when I wrote ‘I’ve got small fingertips’ was that I’ve got skinny fingers! So even further down my middle finger, sometimes I don’t cover the hole fully. As Toppish said, it’s just a matter of practice. When I have time, I go well, when I haven’t played for a couple of days, things go wrong again!

Hup’s comments are interesting - I’ve played an open hole Boehm flute for about 10 years, as my primary instrument, and don’t have trouble. I was actually taught to use my fingertips to cover those holes. They’re much smaller than on Irish flutes and they’re flat, so very difficult to cover without using the tip/pad. But whatever, each to their own, ultimately!