the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

THE SILVER FLUTE WAS MADE FAMOUS BY JAMES GALWAY ONE OF THE BEST CLASSICAL FLAUTIST IN THE WORLD HE CANT PLAY IRISH TRAD MUSIC ON THE SILVER FLUTE THE WOODEN FLUTE IS THE BEST FLUTE IN IRELAND SILVER FLUTE ONLY SUITABLE FOR ROCK JAZZ AND CLASSICAL

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

The silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music James Galway is one of the best classical flautists in the Matt Molloy gets a far better sound from the wooden concert flute is the best wooden concert flute players in the world and is a wonderful sound overall

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Thank you for this enriching content :)
Special thanks goes to your writing style, that makes it 100% clear, that you just want to trigger some reactions.
Have a nice monday !

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

It’s only me! I want to cross your bridge so I can eat the sweet green grass on the other side! Please don’t eat me! My older brother middle billy goat gruff would make a much better meal!

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Joanie Madden plays the silver flute, and advocates its use in Irish teas at the Atlanta IrishFest. That’s all I need to know to consider the argument closed.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Joanie Madden does a more than decent job of playing Irish stuff on the metal flute. And Paddy Taylor, one of the finest of Irish trad flute players played that odd Radcliffe system that seems to fall somewhere between the ‘normal’ trad flute and the classical variety. Matt Molloy is some player though - that point we can agree on.

Revelation

Man, thanks for setting me straight. Here I was thinking that music was meant to be played and enjoyed however you wanted. Glad we have someone of such qualifications to lay down the rules of music.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Joanie Madden ‘advocates its use in Irish teas’? Shurely shome mishtake.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Good for stirring your tea, should a teaspoon be unavailable. And to be fair, I think we’d all prefer spoons, regardless of size, to be unavailable at our local session ;-)

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

You could also open a beer with one.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I was under the impression that the instrument used relates more the to skill of the musician than the type of intrument. I can’t entertain the notion that an entry should be all caps AT ALL!!! ;^)

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Caps lock is cruise control for cool. Also James Galway did not popularize the Boehm system silver flute, but that’s hardly the only thing wrong with the OP.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Doesn’t the f on the silver flute only play for natural and you have to reposition your hand for further sharp and the rest of the lower notes? I know paddy donoghue from East clare used to play one years ago.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

XXX XOO is f natural
XXX OOX is f#

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

My whistle teacher plays the silver/classical flute with his band and it blends nicely.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Fact check: James Galway did not popularize Boehm flute as a solo instrument. That distinction belongs to Jean-Pierre Rampal.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Wesley, I don’t know about cruise control for cool inasmuch as I’ve understood all caps to be the equivalent of shouting. The stream-of-consciousness run-on sentence is entertaining in its own right though!

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

It’s an old internet joke Callison. And yes it does give the impression of angry shouting.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Wesley, the style of your OP could qualify as a variation on a theme of Faulknerian stream-of-thought narration. And all caps or none, it does ignite a reaction.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

"Irish music is being ruined by silver flute players. Obama and Hilary have lost control. Sad!"

@realDonaldTrump

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I removed the Caps Lock key from my keyboard long ago. and now, i even whisper sometimes.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

OMG UR SO RONG TEH ONLY THING BETTER FOR IRISH TUNES THEN SILVER FLUTE IS THE MARIMBA

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I SEE YOUR MARIMBA AND RAZE YOU A DIJERYDOO.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

What about the wooden harmonica?

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Not good. Splinter issues. Owch.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I thought it was gold.
Live & learn.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I SEE UR DIGERYDOO AND RAYSE U A MELODIKA AND A ALPHORN

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I’ll raise you a Hammered Dulcimer. Real hammers. Alternatively, banjos at five paces. ;^)

Re: michaelmoriarty

I know everyone wants to throw this back at the OP. Still, even though Michael Moriarty’s post is unconventional it should be clear to any compassionate, fellow human being that mocking his behaviour (even with well-intentioned jests) is probably not the best way to help a fellow member. And I do think Michael, no matter how irresponsible he is acting tonight, deserves a few intelligent responses.

Am I making sense or just playing the fool?

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

"Fact check: James Galway did not popularize Boehm flute as a solo instrument. That distinction belongs to Jean-Pierre Rampal."

Many years before Jean-Pierre Rampal there was a guy touring around Europe using the silver flute, popularising it as a solo instrument… named Theobald Boehm.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I already gave my serious response AB see above, I’m just playing along with Matt and jjw and naming odd instruments. melodicas particularly are beyond strange to me.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

"you have to reposition your hand for further sharp and the rest of the lower notes"

Not sure what is meant, but there’s no repositioning of either hand required to play any notes… well, there are the side trill keys, but the old 8-key flute had a side-key too, for C natural.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Twas not my personal intention to throw anything back at Michael Moriarty.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Thank you, Mr. Cook!

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Having played the so-called "Irish flute" for many years, and having dabbled quite a bit with the Boehm flute (mostly for church music but also some ITM) I’ll say I agree with the OP to the extent that I think the six-open-hole wooden flute is more idiomatic for ITM.

That being said, as was pointed out above ITM can sound quite good on the Boehm flute. It seems to me that the most important stylistic things about Irish traditional fluteplaying have to do with manipulating the airstream to create rhythm and phrasing and this can be done equally well on either sort of flute.

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"Many years before Jean-Pierre Rampal there was a guy touring around Europe using the silver flute, popularising it as a solo instrument… named Theobald Boehm."

Did he actually tour and play as a soloist with orchestras? I did not have that impression.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I’ve played with good players of keyed flutes and bad players of wooden flutes, and vice versa. I think it depends who’s wielding the instrument…

I have some ‘issues’ with Boehm flutes since they were at least partly responsible for driving concert pitch up in the C19th. Not that I’m one for holding grudges, it’s just that my fiddle was built in an era of A=415 and it sounds better tuned down half a tone or so. Not that I’d ever try and persuade a session to tune down just to suit me, I only play at that pitch in the house. (I’m not totally anti-social, after all…) Apart from that, I don’t mind them so much.

That do for a serious answer AB?

In other news, the most disruptive instrument I’ve ever encountered in a session was a bass recorder. It was massive. Like a varnished tree trunk with a bit of brass pipe attached. It was at least as tall as the guy holding it, but it wasn’t the size or the look of it that was objectionable, or the chap tooting it (he seemed a nice enough fella). It did, however, make a most peculiar noise. Sort of… walrus farting in a bathtub. Squelchy and booming all at the same time. Even then, you could kind of put up with the warbling-pump sounds it was making, until everyone started to giggle, and then we couldn’t really play any more. Bit difficult to concentrate. I’d take a hammered dulcimer and five banjos over that giggle-inducing fart machine any day.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Well, the proof of Michael’s statement lies all about - how many trad flute players do you see with the silver or gold instrument in their hands? It’s self evident.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Surely Irish Trad music does not belong to anybody so therefor to take it on yourself to scream that a particular instrument is not suitable to play the music is a ‘bit much’. Two words ‘I prefer’ would have made that statement much more acceptable unless of course it was meant to start a heated discussion and that was exactly what it did. Unfortunately Irish Trad has an awful lot of faceless people who set themselves up as an authority on the music and are inclined to make up rules as they go along. If I like a particular tune I couldn’t care less what instrument is being used to pay it as long as it sounds good.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

‘I couldn’t care less what instrument is being used to play it as long as it sounds good.’

Exactly. See my point above re: bass recorders. Impossible to play along with on account of fart-sound related hilarity.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

As I’ve never heard a Walrus fart in a bath tub I can’t offer an opinion on the comparison with the noise emitted from a bass recorder. However, it seemed all right for a bit of Bach….
https://youtu.be/Ivaa9oOSkLs

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Thanks Free Reed-that was lovely. It would seem that the guy who showed up at Matt Leavey’s session didn’t know how to play the thing.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I stand corrected.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Rumours persist that these instruments, first invented in the 1600s were further refined by the CIA in the search for a non-lethal "brown noise" instrument that could be successfully deployed at range against Soviet Forces.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VcoV37kRFc

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

If it sounded like a walrus farting in a bathtub, I suspect it wasn’t a bass recorder at all. I can’t help but wonder if Yhaalhouse from these boards crashed the session with his Vulcan arse flute after eating a dodgy curry.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Boehm was a professional fluter first before maker. He was first flute in the Royal Bavarian Orchestra. He was well known as a top performer.

"I did as well as any continental flutist could have done, in London, in 1831, but I could not match Nicholson in power of tone, wherefore I set to work to remodel my flute. Had I not heard him, probably the Boehm flute would never have been made."

Arguably the French adopted the Boehm first and the French school of which Rampall was the descendent was highly influential. England stuck to wood though were convinced by the system. Though the bridge models like your (Ailin) Radcliffe held on. Amadio into the 20s others later. Germans by and large stayed simple system and all there reform models until later, ironically a bit I suppose.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I want one of those big recorders - and it’s Christmas! Please!

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Hi Micheal
Glad to see you are still about having played in sesssions with you in both London and Newcastle not that l expect you to remember .
I also see you have forgotten complimenting the great Irish/Australian metal flute player Cathy Walton when we all played in sessions in the Mother Red Cap ,Holloway Road

David

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Back to the Boehm-as-performer thing, and the idea of the flute as a solo instrument, we forget today how popular the flute was as a solo instrument in the 18th century and well into the mid-19th century.

Nowadays if you look at the programme of any symphony orchestra you’ll see that the vast majority of soloists are pianists or violinists. This wasn’t the case 200 years ago, when top fluteplayers were the pop stars of their day.

And the flute was also a very popular instrument for everyday people, much like the guitar is today. Nowadays if somebody is "into music" you’ll most likely see a guitar and a keyboard at their home. 200 years ago it most like would have been a flute.

In Ireland this popularity never really went away and the flute remained an instrument of the common people.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Well, I’m a trad player and instrumentalist in this working Irish band for 20 years, and a couple of other bands a few years before that. My main instrument is the flute since childhood, so yes, classically trained. Later in life I married a lovely man who brought me into Irish music and I learned the tin whistle & then Anglo concertina.

We both resisted my using the silver flute for years but the fact remained that I was so adept at the instrument as to be unencumbered by thought, therefore I could play quite easily on it by ear first, then, the other two instruments came right along. Being able to play by ear was the important thing to do, after being held captive by the classical dots my whole previous life. And a couple of summers at Irish Arts Week in the Catskills about 20 years ago didn’t hurt, either.

So, let me tell you… I am a big fan of Joannie Madden! I wish I could come close to her tune knowledge!

Then, don’t also forget about FLOOK, who use an Alto Flute!!!

I use mainly an Alto Flute now to accompany our lovely Soprano in our band when she sings ballads.

So, since I play all four instruments regularly, I don’t travel light even though they are all small.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

@AB said "I know everyone wants to throw this back at the OP. Still, even though Michael Moriarty’s post is unconventional it should be clear to any compassionate, fellow human being that mocking his behaviour (even with well-intentioned jests) is probably not the best way to help a fellow member. "

Sorry AB, I thought I was joining in on the OP’s enthusiasm/humor, no mocking was intended!

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Thank you for your kind comment i live in london and get it all the time i Dont care what they say you cant beat the wooden flute Matt Molloy tansey Conor o grada the silver flute is not known in Irish music a very happy Xmas to you a nice man hard to get these days

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Jan do you use a Boehm system Alto flute, or a wooden Old System Alto flute?

Matt Molloy did a number of recordings on the latter which are beautiful.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Here’s Matt Molloy playing his alto flute. It’s a wooden 8-key flute style but has two extra keys, one for each ring finger, just like a Siccama flute. It’s in Bb (Irish terminology, Ab in orchestral terminology).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z20gDZrlXus

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

"Video is not available" - is it just me ? Also Richard, you should maybe add this to the recent discussion about "Drowsy Maggie" and it’s worth as a tune. If it’s good enough for Matt Molloy………………………..

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

There’s an 18-second sample clip from Matt Molloy’s Drowsy Maggie (remastered from Heathery Breeze with noise reduction) at http://www.worldtrad.org/WFO1_CD.htm (MP3 icon on the Matt Molloy info toward the bottom). The audio link is http://www.worldtrad.org/MP3/WFO1/MATT_MOLLOY.mp3 , but I don’t think it allows direct access, but only via clicking the icon. Played on a Hawkes Bb flute.

Richard’s link worked for me in the U.S.

You can also find 30 seconds of that track played here:
https://youtu.be/h_mSqxrypTk?t=157

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Michael Moriarty: "the silver flute is not known in Irish music"

I know you and have great respect for you as a musician, Michael. But that is an untrue statement. It might not have been known in Irish music 40 years ago. But nowadays there are a small handful of good traditional players on silver flute (Joanie Madden has been mentioned, Kathy Walton is another). As for suitability, that is open for debate - you may or may not like the sound of the instrument or the style of those who play it. Irish flute playing as we know it originated on the simple system wooden flute so, naturally, that would be the most suitable instrument for making the kind of trad flute sound we are used to - on any other type of flute, you need to work harder because you are always trying to make it sound like a different instrument.

The silver flute may not be a very popular instrument in Irish music (mostly played by those who have crossed over from classical music and have not done their homework - which, of course, gives it even more of a bad name) but it is there. I don’t think there is any danger of its usurping the wooden flute, however - if anything is likely to supersede wooden flutes in popularity among trad players, it is synthetic polymer (Delrin etc.) flutes, since they can be made very cheaply and are designed to mimic wooden flutes very closely.

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Video not available for me too so your not alone Kenny.
Drowsy Maggie is a classic tune that I rarely play, but I did sneak it out A few years ago hehehe, anyhow It’s not the tune so much as how you play it :-)

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Gonzo — Sorry, my fingers were all messed up the day I wrote teas. I meant to type trad. Sorry!

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Here’s the same flute from Matt Molloy, conveniently played with silver flute as well!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Np8NW16Dx3Y


It’s possible there’s a significant range on his flute, but at one point I compared his "Bb" flute to my flat pipes, which are closer to B than Bb, and they were in tune - so I think it’s actually a high-pitch "Bb" flute.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Oh, I don’t know, Debbie, I quite like the idea of Joanie bringing her flute to tea parties.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

@Richard Cook ~ Yes, both of my flutes are Boehm system and they are professional models.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Yes Nico Molloys flute is a high pitched band flute with Siccama styled keys for third digits.

Some amazing flute deals out there at the minute if you don’t care what key you’re playing in.

I have a C band flute boxwood and ivory that is a favourite instrument.

Lots of good high pitch F flutes going on eBay UK for peanuts.

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Of course "silver flute" is an oversimplification because Theobald Boehm made flutes using his system of covered keywork and complex key mechanism in wood as well as silver.

Paddy Carty is a famous Irish musician who played a flute with covered Boehm-style keys, though his flute was wood, and had a compromise fingering system (the Radcliff flute)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0Ro1INYLXQ

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

And here’s Paddy O Donahue playing an ordinary metal Boehm flute in an Irish session… seems to work just fine. It’s people like him, Paddy Carty, and Joannie Madden that leads to tell flutists who get interested in Irish music that they don’t have to switch to wooden six-hole flutes… it’s about the style and the music, not about what flute you use.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U__WjRen-eo

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

"It’s possible there’s a significant range on his flute, but at one point I compared his "Bb" flute to my flat pipes, which are closer to B than Bb, and they were in tune - so I think it’s actually a high-pitch "Bb" flute."

That wouldn’t surprise me, because that flute (I would think) is an old band flute rather than an orchestral flute, and could have been made to 452. But Matt has no trouble playing it in tune with the Chieftains there, along with the Cimbalom. Which brings up the question, what pitch are the Chieftans playing at there? Maybe the whole band is sharp. I wouldn’t think so, because of all the gigs they do with pianos, and orchestras.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

Rasher agrees wholeheartedly with Michael Moriarty, who is one of the great players of the wooden flute dating back to the 70s revival of Irish traditional music in Ireland and England. Michael’s own playing on the wooden concert flute has the "pure drop" and is a case in point.

Silver flutes have a metallic sound. Wooden flutes have an open woody sound, the warmth of which Rasher far prefers to the silver flute sound, however bell-like and well-played. Rasher is convinced the wooden flute sounds more "traditional" than the metal flute and the warm woody flute sound is part of the reason he enjoys listening to and playing Irish traditional music.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

I suppose that if you think that music should be a static, never-changing thing then OK, the silver flute is not a trad Irish instrument. But I play the metal flute and no-one has ever thrown me out of a session for doing so…

Re: Suitability in Irish traditional music

I seriously doubt Mr. Moriarty is suggesting Irish traditional music is, or should be, static & never changing.
Having said that I can only assume he intends to point to the prevalence of simple-system fluters
(especially the best ones) who play Irish traditional music on such instruments. That bit makes sense
(not because it’s static) but in considering how to play with the desired tone, possibly for the sake of
ornamentation and (maybe, though it’s a stretch) for phrasing.

But that’s about as far a I can follow what Mick is trying to say. My first choice for playing Irish traditional music (on flute) would be a simple-system, wooden flute. Most of the best fluters playing Irish traditional music play them. The tone of such flutes tends to "have a good fit" in Irish trad sessions. However… I would not conclude that "the silver flute" is unsuitable for Irish traditional music. First because it’s a broad, not clearly defined class of flutes.
But more importantly because I have played w/two fluters in session who brought (Boehm) silver flutes to play.
One of them also played a wooden flute, the other plays a variety of whistles.

The fluter who also played a wooden flute usually brought out the Boehm when it was simply easier to play in certain keys; rather than bending/cross-fingering on her keyless. That, and sometimes it was to play on a flute which goes a little lower. Also, I should mention, her tone on those low notes was (to by ears) very much of the reedy, dirty tone which I identify w/the pure drop.

The fluter who plays mostly whistles brought a silver flute w/B foot one night. It was the only time I’ve heard her play flute (she plays sax with jazz musicians). Granted, she may not be the best example of someone who has played or listened to enough traditional music to have yet developed her appreciation for "the sound" (much less *suitability*) which makes this music what it is (i.e. ~ not static). My experience was that her flute was in no way disruptive in our session, her tone was fine, we played (to the best of our humble ability) sets of Irish traditional music.

Mick, you may not agree with my claim that we play suitable sets of Irish traditional music in our session. I certainly won’t begrudge you for judging me. I just hope you consider my point that I have played with two fluters, in my local session, who I personally feel were very suitable for the music we play in our local session; if not in yours.

Cheers,
Ben

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

As far as ITM being never-changing, remember the wood flute with six open holes and 8 keys is an orchestral instrument, a "classical" instrument, that only later made its way into ITM.

I don’t see how one mid-19th century orchestral flute can be considered native to ITM while another mid-19th century orchestral flute be considered foreign, alien. (Both the wooden 8-key Boosey Pratten and the silver Boehm are from around the same time frame.)

Not the violin, not the accordion, not the banjo, not even the uilleann pipe were devised in Ireland. All are outsiders, things invented on foreign shores for foreign sorts of music.

It would be fascinating to be able to go back to the 17th century, before any of these things save for the violin existed, and see what ITM was like. Fiddles and keyless wood flutes perhaps. So for sure wood flutes may have a very long pedigree, back to the Middle Ages perhaps, for sure predating the warpipes.

But the "Irish flute" of today is based on mid-19th century English orchestral flutes, in that form only a decade or two older than the earliest Boehm flute.

Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

The "silver flute" is a beautiful instrument. You need to listen to my friend Joanie Madden, from Cherish the Ladies. She is is awesome and plays the flute like an angel.

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Mick Moriarty, thank you for all the music you have played on your flute of choice.
I think everyone here appreciates your contribution to Irish traditional music.

Ben

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Re: the silver flute is not suitable for Irish traditional music

thank you for your kind remark a very happy Xmas to you and a bright new year