FluteFling Summer news roundup

Thanks to everyone who contributed to the 4th FluteFling weekend in June. An amazing weekend of traditional music on the flute, topped by workshops and performances from Órlaith McAuliffe, Niall Kenny and Elizabeth Ford in addition to those of regulars Sharon Creasey and Kenny Hadden.

With people traveling from Tain, Oban, Newcastle, Lancashire, Aberdeen, Moffat, Galloway and Minnesota USA, we all continue to be impressed with how committed people are to coming to the weekend and being part of things.

I have been without my laptop since then and am only now beginning to catch up, but I will be adding some photos and videos as I get a chance to sort through them.

Aberdeen FluteFling weekend November

While the dust is still settling, a special FluteFling weekend is being planned for Aberdeen so please pencil in 3-5th November in your diaries as we go on the road. More details to follow, but this is an exciting trip back to where it all began in 2001.

Quite a few flute players in Aberdeen regularly travel to Edinburgh for events and this is not only a chance to visit them on their home turf, but also to meet up with the many others who play in the area.

Edinburgh monthly workshops

Monthly workshops will resume in Edinburgh in September, with dates to be confirmed very soon.

FluteFling Autumn Workshops

Gordon Turnbull teaching flute (c) Ros Gasson

Gordon Turnbull teaching flute (c) Ros Gasson

FluteFling returns to Edinburgh this Autumn with a series of three workshops on traditional flute and whistle playing led by Gordon Turnbull. The afternoon workshops will take place at Tribe Porty in Portobello and evolve out of both the successful regular fortnightly classes that had previously taken place up to 2015 and the popular ongoing all-day annual Scottish Flute Day events that will return in 2017.

The workshops will take place on:

  • Saturday 8 October
  • Saturday 19 November
  • Saturday 17 December

There will continue to be a relaxed, supportive and informal style to the teaching, which will not only help develop repertoire from Scotland, Ireland and beyond, but also focus on aspects of technique. As before, the workshops are open to adults already playing whistle, low whistle or wooden flute in D as well as metal classical flutes (Boehm sytem).

Musicians returning to the instrument after a break are most welcome, but the workshops are unfortunately not suitable for complete beginners at this stage.

You can find out more about the workshops on the dedicated page of the reorganised web site, including online booking details.

I hope to be able to accommodate beginners in the near future; if interested, please get in touch and also sign up to the FluteFling Newsletter

Classes, workshops and tuition Autumn 2016

Flute and whistle mural

Classes for traditional flute and whistle in Portobello, Edinburgh are set to return this Autumn but details are currently on hold until September.

I am looking into options for resuming flute and whistle classes in Portobello, Edinburgh this coming Autumn but this continues to be tricky due to personal circumstances, albeit different ones from the past year. I expect this to become clearer over the coming few weeks so will have more news in September.

Regular group sessions

I am currently considering monthly Saturday workshops or fortnightly evening classes (as before) and while I have a venue in mind, will need to confirm this.

Individual tuition

Unfortunately I am unable to offer individual tuition at this stage. This is purely due to time.


If you are signed up to the FluteFling Newsletter, then details will be announced there first.

Image: Musical mural at Ormeau Park, Belfast (c) Gordon Turnbull 2016

Autumn term update

FluteFling classes are taking a break this term, but will aim to be back in the New Year.

In the mean time there is always the archive to explore or revisit and I am exploring other flute and whistle playing opportunities for the group. Please check back for any updates, sign up to the newsletter or drop me an email.

Photo: David Begg (flute) playing in Sandy Bell’s Monday night session, Edinburgh (c) Gordon Turnbull

Scottish flute and whistle tunes

Last week the Flute and Whistle 3 class looked at a couple of reels, one traditional, the other contemporary, and so began what is going to be a bit of a theme this term — modern Scottish tunes written on the flute or whistle.

The Brig o’ Tilt is in a few collections. I think I initially learned it from Kerr’s Merrie Melodies, but it is also in the Athole Collection, and it perhaps celebrates the new bridge over the north road built at Glentilt in 1823. Bridge of Tilt is near Blair Atholl and today the A9 flies past.

The tune is solidly in D and has a distinctive second part where an arpeggio “tune within a tune” element prevails. There aren’t many places to decorate, so much depends on the breathing to provide emphasis. A couple of places do exist for cranning however. If not feeling confident on this, try cutting to separate the D notes.

The second tune is a three-part reel in Em by Niall Kenny, The Trip to Pakistan. Niall used to live in Edinburgh, but is now based in Lanarkshire and can been playing regularly in Glasgow and Edinburgh sessions.

The trip to Pakistan has been recorded a few times, appears in many collections and has a pipes setting too. Here’s a video of him playing it (right at the end of two sets, but it is well worth watching all of the video just to enjoy his music):

There are a few places to roll and cut, but much the genius of the tune is in the tune is in the third part, where the emphasis of the descending lower notes of the phrases invert the rhythm. There’s some discussion of it on The Session, to which Niall contributes and describes his intentions behind the tune.

The class resources for the tune are on the usual page.

Photo: Gilbert’s Bridge by Anne Burgess, some rights reserved