When somebody tells you they play the Flute, one immediately imagines the shiny transverse type seen throughout Western orchestras.
Yet it would literally blow your mind to know that in the far reaches of all the Earth, there are in existence, uncountable different kinds of flutes, the sounds of which are beyond the imagination.
This Note section of my blog will as time progresses, be detailing many of these flutes. Indeed, in this blog I will make you believe a flute to be as powerful as thunder.
I had been searching for a double flute for many years, ever since listening to a Native American Drone Flute. Yet whilst the Native American flute features an optional drone, this would be limited to one key.
Here we have the Ukrainian Djolomyga, or Double Sopilka. Indeed as you can see by the picture, both flute chambers feature a multitude of holes.
Two flutes in unison? Yes, that is correct.
Now I usually prefer low tuned flutes, such as the Chinese Xiao, yet there is a most wonderful mystery about double flutes and that is the magic of their harmonic voices.
The harmonies at your fingertips far and away compensate for the absence of a lower register. For it is these harmonies which speak with a most powerful sweetness of truth.
Djolomyga allows the flautist to play in many different ways. You can for example, utilise a drone in one chamber and a melody in the other. Or, you can switch drones from chamber to chamber and juggle melodies in the same way.
Yet the real wizardry of this flute is the ability to play chordal melodies, in synchrony and throughout two octaves.
There is literally nothing in all the cosmos that compares to the sound of a double flute playing the profoundest chordal harmonies through the treetops. Oh, you can get two flautists to play together, but that is a completely different thing.
This is one instrument, played by one flautist, channelling his or her own soul through the natural harmonics of hand crafted natural wood.
Believe me when I tell you, there is one flute but many ways!
The Djolomyga is an end blown fipple flute, much like you would an Irish Whistle, but whereby the fipple house is reversed to the underside.
This reversing of the fipple is actually common amongst Eastern flutes and as I will explain in future posts, this is no mistake, for it is done for a very, very good reason.
Whilst not applicable to the Djolomyga, put simply, fipple reversing allows variation in embouchure application.
The Djolomyga is completely chromatic, allowing for a combination of given fingering, halfhole fingering and cross fingering.
You can play it as a double, or play each chamber individually. In fact varying between double and single chambers is often a complimentary aspect of the Djolomyga style.
Length = 325 mm
Diameter = 42 mm
Material – Willow tree
Craftsman – Viktor Tereshchenko
This particular Djolomyga features 13, yes thirteen holes!
Before you start counting your digits in confusion, the mastery of performance resides in the technique of chamber juggling, whereby only a selection of holes from each chamber are played at any one time, yet whilst alternating finger patterns regularly to acquire a fluid continuum of cross chamber harmonies.
Rest assured, even if that sounds far too complicated for you, there are always a multitude of simpler harmonies also available, right at your very fingertips.
Ladies and gentlemen, the Djolomyga.