Glasgow Amateur Flute Ensemble
Band conductor: Stephen Rankine.
The Ensemble is a community-based organisation which has been an integral part of the musical life of the Kinning Park/Govan area of Glasgow for over 80 years. Our earliest set of Boehm-system instruments was made by the famous London maker “Hawkes and Sons” and was financed largely by donations from dock workers in a period more famous for poverty than philanthropy.
We see ourselves as rooted in the local community where we have introduced a large number of people to a wide range of musical styles, as well as giving them the skills to actively engage in music. Education of novice players is embedded in our culture. For most of our history a majority of our players have graduated from the learners class and stayed with us through their adult playing career.
Today the culture of education and broad musical experience remains strong and has sustained the Ensemble through periods of massive change in the City and District of which we are part. As a result of our policy of investing in instruments and training we are now attracting members from an exceptionally broad range of backgrounds and a wide catchment area. However, we still look for participation in the local community.
The “Ensemble” is in reality a group of individuals ranging in age from pre-teens to retirees who share an enthusiasm for music. While we do not insist on auditions or grade achievement we are able to accommodate a range of abilities from novice to degree level with ample space for the keen, mature, amateur (look to our title). Everybody contributes in full to the musical objective to the best of their ability.
How do we do we do this? We rehearse every Friday and play a number of concerts each year. We also participate in competitions with other flute ensembles, a unique feature of the relationship among flute ensembles in Scotland and Northern Ireland and now being taken up by the British Flute Society on a wider geographical area.
We play a wide range of music : classical transpositions ; movie music ; pops ; the odd march, You name it we play it!
Care to join us? We are an open and friendly group. Honest! No pressure, come and listen at a rehearsal. We can offer the opportunity to play some unusual flutes ; piccolo, treble, concert, alto, bass, contra-bass and orchestral percussion.
Come along and we will explain what they are! We are not attached to any other organisation, except the SAFA who organise the competitions in which we participate. We fund ourselves, while charging only a modest weekly subscription. We simply seek enthusiasm from our members and a common support for the musical objectives embodied in our constitution.
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We use a range of flutes from piccolo to contra-bass and our
percussion section includes a wide selection from the orchestral kitchen.
Altogether we have 6 pitches of flute, pictured and described below.
We also have a percussion section which includes bass, snare, timpani, drum kit glockenspiel,and others found in the orchestral kitchen.
The Treble flute is pitched a fifth above the Concert flute, but below the Piccolo and is in the key of G. The ensemble have six and were manufactured by the Flutemaker’s Guild may years ago and are hallmarked silver and are extremely rare additionally we also have 3 treble g flutes manufactured by a specialist flutemaker Dobson of Bath.
Concert C Flute
The Concert flutes or ‘C’ Flutes are most common used flute within the ensemble and at present we have twelve or more in use mostly manufactured by Yamaha. Most of our music is arranged with three different parts for ‘C’ flutes, Solo, 1st and 2nd Conce
The Alto flute is larger than than the ‘C’ flute but smaller than the C Bass. The Altos make up the second largest proportion in the ensemble after the Concert flutes and are pitched in G. Our Altos some manufactured by Monnig and have a bottom B foot joint rather unique on an Alto flute, the ensemble also uses altos made by Trevor J. James.
The C Bass flute – is a full octave below the concert flute in the key of C. Music for these instruments is typically written one octave higher than it sounds for clarity. We have seven of these instruments manufactured by Monnig & Trevor James.
Our Contrabass Flutes were made by Eva Kingma in 2010 and give a sound a full three octaves lower than the piccolo. In addition Contralto Bass flute In G all are played vertically