Sunday, January 18, 2009

Balinese Twins

My sister returned from Bali today, and as happens before, she brought a bamboo flute as a souvenir, and I already have an exactly the same model in my collection. So here they are, the Balinese twins

Most of these flutes are of tourist's quality. They do looks good but sounds awful. Well, I'm not talking about the sound quality as for traditional flutes, people takes breathyness and the lack of projection as a thing of beauty. But their intonation is so terrible that they can't play any comprehendsible tune.

From all 6, only the 4th and the 5th flute from the left has reasonable intonation. Still, their badly shaped flageolet and embouchure holes limit their overblowing capabilities. For the 1st two, their aspect ratio is just ridiculous, there is no way you can get correct intonation out of that, but somehow the Balinese are very fond of those fat flutes, and you can readily find them in their gamellan ensamble. Off course, I prefer the slender Sundanese flute supermodel.

The best one, not surprisingly the model similar to that played by many profesional balinese flutist, is the 4th. This is a very simple, small and lightly-decorated flute, but plays really well. It produces a very good pentatonic scale, allowing me to give an attempt to reproduce their music, with all the circular breathing extravaganza. And here is the sound recording of it:

Suling Bali.mp3

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