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   ҧҹҡ Galway Chat ¤س Susan Maclagan
ѹ 14 Aug 2008 ͧҹٹФѺ

NFA Convention Notes: Beatboxing

As usual, I had a super time at the flute convention, or Planet Flute as a friend likes to call it. :) The first thing that I want to tell you about is flute beatboxing with Greg Pattillo. I thought he was great when I heard him play on Youtube, but in person he was awesome! (For those of you who havent heard him play, a google search will bring up many of his videos.) At the flute convention he gave a lecture: How to Beatbox, and Other Uses for the Flute. After the lecture he performed with his group Project (Eric Stephenson on cello, Peter Seymour on double bass). The group did a terrific job of entertaining the audience and got a standing ovation at the end of their performance. Greg commented that they had to do arrangements of pieces for other instruments (e.g., Tchaikovskys Nutcracker Sweet and a version of Ian Andersens version of Bachs Bourree) and also compose their own music as there isnt much literature
for flute, cello and double bass (hint.hint..to any composers on this list! :). Project also gave a terrific performance in the final gala concert on Sunday.

HOW TO BEATBOX My comments will be between < and >.

There is no right or wrong way to beatbox.

How does it sound?
-Like a rhythm section (or human metronome) going on behind a melody.

Sound #1 (no flute):
-Mouth the syllable keh. <There is an air sound at the end of this syllable. Slightly extend its length and increase its loudness so that it has more importance than when mouthing keh normally. I get a better sound when I say the syllable simultaneously with an abdomen kick.> Change the pitch of the keh if desired.

Points to keep in mind:
-The more you force, the less sound you get.
-Make sure that your mouth is open for keh. (i.e, don't use a flute embouchure).
<I get a better sound if my mouth isn't too open. Best to experiment.>

Exercise with flute:
While counting 1 2 3 4 in your head, play a normal note on counts 1 and 3 and sound keh on the back beats (i.e. 2 and 4). You can do this with any tune.
Note: When you play this way, there is no competition between the rhythm sound and the flute sound. You can, however, do both sounds at the same time, but you will need more air if you do this.
Sound #2
Greg uses the following syllables when he plays:
t, k, ts, ks, sh, ch, ss, f.

Start with a good breath and then mouth any of these syllables and <extend the air> as described in Sound.
#1. Breathe between EVERY syllable and have the air come out noisily after you say each one. Once you get going, take shallow breaths.
#2. Repeat exercise #1, but this time mouth the syllables with an easy rhythm. For example, mouth
s, s, s, k, k in the rhythm: eighth-eighth quarter quarter quarter.
Sound #3
You can inhale sounds too.
Points to keep in mind:
-You cant start with a deep breath.
-Breathe lots and make an airy sound.
-<Do not be discouraged with the f sound.> It is hard to inhale this sound.
Sound #4:
Mouth hah, ta, hah.
Repeat several times.
Sound #5: Shuffle breathing.
Mouth ha ta, BREATHE
Sound #6: For rhythm.
From a closed position, make a buh or puh sound with your lips (or alternate between these two sounds). Aim for a tomato-hitting-the-wall sort of sound <or champagne cork.>
Sound #7:

Step 1:
Mouth the word oot (of boot); BREATHE; ss; BREATHE; cats BREATHE; ss BREATHE
Remember to end each syllable with an airy sound.
Step 2:
Play A1 B1 C2 B1 A1 to the rhythm:
quarter eighth-eighth quarter eighth-eighth quarter eighth-eighth quarter quarter
Step 3:
Repeat step #1. Once you have this going, slowly bring your flute up to your mouth and
Repeat step #1 WITH EACH NOTE in step #2.
If you have difficulty, take your flute away from your mouth when you do the syllables and put it on your mouth when you play a note.
Step 4:
Add percussive or melodic fill at the end of a beatbox phrase. Since beat-boxing is part of the hip-hop genre, a repetitive vocal style, you may like to copy hip-hop record fills to give you an idea of what to play.
Greg mentioned that Pandora.com has useful playalongs for practicing beatboxing. Unfortunately, its not available outside of the US. :)
Points to keep in mind:
-keep throat open; resonate through the collar bones;
-hip hop doesnt generally change keys;
-when you play really fast, omit the extra breathing;
-when you single tongue, dont breathe in between notes;
-<find phrases in language with good sounds and use these in beatboxing>;
-listen to Cuban music or drums for ideas of sounds to use;
-beatboxing can be done with classical tunes too. Greg mentioned that hes able to do what he does because of his solid classical training.

At the end of the how-to session, Greg and his group performed:
-a Charlie Parker tune with the rhythm section on the flute and the tune on the cello;
-Sweet Pea with flute, string bass and cello. The stringed instrumentalists got into the rhythmic action by hitting the instrument, etc.
-Bees and the Birds (a version of the Bumblebee by Rimsky-Korsakov), followed by Peter and the Wolf.

Greg has beat-boxed for five years. Can anyone do it? See:

Best wishes,
Susan Maclagan
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   Besten Dank , Herr Hangtau der Super.

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