Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Hi, I’ve been contemplating taking up a new instrument for some time now, and I’ve narrowed my choice down to the fiddle ot flute. I play box already.

I can play the tin whistle reasonably, and find it fairly easy to to play tunes I have in my head even though I’ve never played them on the instrument. I have tried a few flutes, but find the embouchoure hard to retain, espiacally with regards to jumping octaves.

With the fiddle, I am wondering is it really that hard to start off? How long would it take to become reasonable considering I would practise everyday. I can pluck a tune out of the banjo, and as mentioned above, I can play tunes that I’ve never played on the banjo. I find the fingering easy except for the spacing which I find a stretch. Is bowing on the fiddle harder than plucking on the banjo?

I love both of these instruments, but am leaning more towards the fiddle, but tell me what you think.

Thanks

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Oh, and I’m 18 if it makes any difference.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

If you’re leaning towards the fiddle, maybe you should play the fiddle.

Don’t worry about which one is easier, think about which one makes you want to play it badly enough to get over the difficulties. And don’t worry too much about the choice, it’s not like you can’t pick up the other later on. It’s a long life.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Seconding everything Jon Kiparsky said. I took up the fiddle a few years ago as an adult. Certain aspects of it have been difficult (yes, bowing is more difficult than plucking, but the payoff is that the bow allows for a far greater range of expression with this music than the pick does), but it hasn’t been *nearly* as difficult for me as *motivating myself to do something I’m not interested in doing*. I also play the ocarina, which by any measure is easier, but I play fiddle at a higher level because I’m more driven to practice it.

How long will it take to become reasonable? Depends what your definition of "reasonable" is. I was playing a handful of airs, polkas and slides at an everyone-welcome session (tunes weren’t quite up to speed, but they weren’t played that slowly) after a few months. Three years in - practicing at a level that some would describe as obsessive - I felt like I was able to fully participate in sessions - that is, playing at speed, in tune, and with an understanding of rhythm - though obviously not nearly at the level of the more advanced players. But once I made the mistake of lamenting to my teacher that nothing sounded the way I wanted, and he replied, without sympathy, "Well, that never changes."

My advice: set yourself some short-term goals as well as long-term ones. Stop to enjoy your own playing, imperfect though it will be. Stop to recognize what you’re able to do with your fiddle that you weren’t able to do last week, or last month, or last year. It’s easy to get frustrated if all you have in mind is a murky plan to sound "decent" (a vague standard that will probably shift with time).

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Either choice is a fine one.
When I started the fiddle I thought I could play a few tunes ok after 6 months…. 6 months after that my ears caught up with me and I realised I was a fair bit off πŸ™‚
The fiddle, as an instrument will challenge you and it will probably wreck your head at times (it did with me) but its fiercly rewarding, then again, all instruments are.

If the breathing and embouchoure are all thats putting you off the flute I wouldnt worry about that. I would imagine that getting your breathing and embouchoure right would be learned a lot faster than learning to control a bow. And as you say you play the whistle, I would prob give the flute another shot.

Or do both πŸ™‚

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Go for fiddle. If you can already play the whistle then the flute should be easy. So go for the "more difficult" one (inverted commas indicating this is just my opinion), while you’re still young enough to deal with the greater challenge. Then pick up the flute in later years.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

I vote fiddle - but then I’m biased πŸ™‚

But I would also invest in finding a good teacher to help with all the technical fundamentals - doesn’t have to be someone with Irish music background - even a good classical teacher can get you set up with the fundamentals pretty quickly. Without a teacher you may flounder around for years re-inventing the wheel. Most of bowing is somewhat counter-intuitive…so it helps to have someone who knows what they are doing.

Most of my students are playing fairly competently within 3 months (at least with a clear tone and some facility) and I’m a fairly average teacher - whereas my friends who refuse to take lessons from anyone still sound like they just picked up the fiddle yesterday after 3 years of playing….

I’m just saying. Fiddle is awesome - but take advantage of all the other fine fiddlers/teachers out there and don’t spin your wheels trying to figure it out on your own….

You might be the rare bird who is talented and determined enough to sit locked in a room until you figure it out on your own - but in my experience, even as a skilled player, I’ve learned more from one suggestion or observation from a teacher than I would have figured out on my own in a month of Sundays…..and I progress much faster. Just saying.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Fiddle and flute are both lifetime journeys. Don’t worry about it being hard. Choose the one you love more and stick with it. You sound inclined towards fiddle to me so if that’s the case start lessons yesterday! Time’s-a-wastin’. πŸ™‚

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Thanks everyone, I think I will go with the fiddle. My grandmother and her brothers were fiddlers, so I think it would be good to carry on the traditionπŸ™‚ I was talking to a friend and he’s found me a fiddle to borrow for a while. What will I do to start?! Any articles/videos out there to help me before I can find a teacher?
Thanks again.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

No contest at all.

Play fiddle.

Glad that’s settled.

Now, what style?
πŸ˜‰

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Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

I’m a flute player, but I’d kill to be able to play fiddle. Both are wonderful, but I think that the expressive range is greater on the fiddle.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

Dinn2 you’re 18 - you have a chance to become a dynamite
fiddler at your age so go for it. Fiddle is the king of instruments.
You can play any genre of music on it if you want to "graduate"
from Irish Trad later on. The simple system flute on the other
hand is very limited even though it’s wonderful for the Trad music.

Re: Fiddle or Flute- Help me chose!

play the one that speaks to your heart…the rest doesn’t matter…