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#2703681 - 01/10/18 11:35 AM What apps do you use?  
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What apps do you use, and how essential are they to you?

I used to have very few apps, and considered them an esoteric add-on for my musical life. I now have quite a few, almost all of which I use regularly:

  • practice log - Music Journal
  • metronome - Metronome
  • tuner - Tunable
  • keyboard - Tiny Piano
  • sightreading - Sight Reading Factory, Read Ahead
  • transcription - Amazing Slow Downer. (Also, less used or unused - Anytune Pro+)
  • play along - iRealPro, DrumGenius
  • ear training - Functional Ear Trainer, Theta Music Trainer, Meludia, Sing True. (Also, less used or unused - Ear Trainer, Relative Pitch, inTune, TriadTutor, 7th Heaven.)
  • music streaming - Spotify
  • reading - Kindle Reader, iBooks
  • miscellaneous - Shruti Box (drone), Composers (composer of the day), Musical U (musical articles)




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#2703726 - 01/10/18 03:14 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I have used several of the apps in your list but use little of them these days. I use a metronome app for convenience and MuseScore and that is it.


Problems with piano are 90% psychological, the other 10% is in your head.

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#2703741 - 01/10/18 04:12 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I use Pro Metronome on my phone, from time to time. Otherwise, I use the built in metronome. No other apps besides that. I do use NoteFlight online.


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#2703780 - 01/10/18 06:48 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Metronome only... I don't really see any use for piano apps,

I'd love to try and design an app that could be useful though.

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#2703785 - 01/10/18 07:17 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Metronome on my cellphone only


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
" I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho
#2703786 - 01/10/18 07:18 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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#2703817 - 01/10/18 09:43 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I spent a nice chunk of change on music apps. These are the ones I found useful at one point or another:

Piano Maestro by Joytunes
A fun-addictive reading/play-along app. Kept me coming back for more. Took me 2 years to finish. Songs/pieces are neatly graded from Elementary to Level 3b. It’s a lot more whimsical than Piano Marvel, which is probably why I stuck with it.

Note Trainer Pro by thoor software
Mostly used it for reading/drilling chord shapes in different keys. For me, this one payed off big time, and I only needed to use it a few minutes each morning to be effective. It’s not a flashcard program - the drills are placed on a proper Grand Staff. The main weakness is that the chord drills are really random and are not necessarily musical (aside from the fact that they’re all in the same key).

Flashcards+ by Chegg
Mainly to randomly review\practice old pieces and exercises. Everything I study and complete gets a flashcard or it’s own deck - so it becomes like a time machine. I really like that I can take photos of music with my iPad and load them onto the Flashcards. On a side note - there is a very intense learning feedback loop that happens when I randomly review things this way. It creates a lot of very strong and interesting connections.

iReal Pro - yes just awesome and fun, use it all the time. I like to think of this app as the older, hipper brother of Piano Maestro.

Numbers - the Apple spreadsheet. I use it to keep track of practice.

Safari - because I read way too much PianoWorld.

Netflix - oh wait no, that doesn’t have anything to do with ... 😉


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#2703825 - 01/10/18 10:08 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Apps I don’t really use:
- I bought 5 metronome apps, but I still prefer to use the built-in metronome on my digital piano, or the 40 year old mechanical metronome I inherited from my mother.

- Same thing happened with ForScore - by the time I collected all my music into PDFs, I found I preferred to just have them printed and bound into a book at the local copy/print shop.

(... and this is officially my 1000th post! I need to get back to practicing!)


We are the music makers,
And we are the dreamers of dreams.
#2703854 - 01/11/18 12:36 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Is apps the modern word for software and computer programs?

#2703856 - 01/11/18 12:57 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: keystring]  
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I meant to be using ”apps” to refer to software and programs running on a mobile device. It’s short for “applications.” I would be happy to hear about software and programs that people use on regular computers too.

The Urban Dictionary has a definition, with a free jab at Apple thrown in smile . (I confess that my mobile devices are from Apple: an iPhone and an iPad.)


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#2703865 - 01/11/18 02:05 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I had also thought of them being on mobile devices, but lately I'm asked about or told about "apps" for my regular PC. I'm thinking the language is changing in that respect.
I own no mobile device. I'm planning to change that this year. I have a computer, a laptop, and landline. Talk about from yesteryear.

#2703866 - 01/11/18 02:18 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I found a new App that I am using as a replacement for Music Journal. It is called Musician's Diary. It has many of the same functions as Music Journal, plus it allows you to record and to edit the practice times. It allows you to add practice goals for each session, and does a report at the end week. So far I really like it.

#2703886 - 01/11/18 04:42 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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As far as I remember,
Early desktop computer code (Programs as we call them today) were called Applications.
Then they were adapted (and using less code) to mobile devices using a smaller word Apps.
I suppose using the same logic as bits, nibbles, bytes, words, and long-words.
There are likely many new words on the horizon.


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#2703893 - 01/11/18 06:27 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Apropos nothing, really...

I don't like the word "app" because it doesn't really stand for "application." In my day, an "application" was a piece of software that applied the computer to some problem outside the computer itself. A word processor is an "application", as is an web browser. A virus checker is not an "application," nor is a file manager, because this kind of software is directed at the internal operation of the computer, and not to satisfying a real-world need.

These days the word "app" has come to mean "any kind of software with any function," so an important distinction between different kinds of software has been lost. Most likely nobody except computer scientists or the anally retentive will care about this.

#2703917 - 01/11/18 09:28 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Musical apps/programs I use:
IReal Pro: use it constantly to shed tunes and prepare for jazz gigs
Finale: when I want to write up a lead sheet or a transcription
Amazing Slow Downer: when I want to transcribe a solo
IGigbook: I've got all the Real Books indexed and ready to go on my IPad. It's all I use at gigs and jam sessions. No books anymore.
Spotify: It's my primary vehicle for listening to music.

#2704011 - 01/11/18 02:27 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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As someone who has been writing computer software since 1983 or so... The word "apps" has been in common use in the computer realm since long before mobile devices. Probably since the first applications were written for computers, and certainly since before I started writing them. The term was used to distinguish between system software (e.g. the OS and various subsystems and infrastructure software or "below") and the programs/applications that executed on top of this infrastructure and were directly used by end users. Job categories and descriptions used the word to describe developers who wrote those user level programs (App Developers). The meaning was expanded when apps could run in browsers (which are apps themselves) and were called web apps.

It became mainstream when Apple started the App Store and the term became common use by non-technical users. To these folks, this is the only definition they were familiar with. Hence the idea that "apps" only means mobile device apps. But it is not a new word created for the mobile device era. Generally the context indicates whether someone is using the word to refer only to mobile device apps, or to apps more broadly.

Hope this helps.


Linda
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#2704045 - 01/11/18 04:00 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: SwissMS]  
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Originally Posted by SwissMS
I found a new App that I am using as a replacement for Music Journal. It is called Musician's Diary. It has many of the same functions as Music Journal, plus it allows you to record and to edit the practice times. It allows you to add practice goals for each session, and does a report at the end week. So far I really like it.


Sadly for me, it looks like this is an Android only app, as I can't find it in the iOS store. I am still looking for a good Music Journal replacement...


Linda
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In progress: Faber Adult All-In-One Book 2 | Fundamental Keys
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#2704050 - 01/11/18 04:15 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Thanks to those contributing to my knowledge of the word "apps". It appears that the Urban Dictionary contains an Urban Legend smile .

Thanks for all the reports about apps. I'm struck by how many people only use a metronome app. Certainly when I was learning instruments as a teen in the 70s, the only gadget I used for practice was a metronome (and a musical terms dictionary). So that seems to be a tried-and-true approach to practice that persists to the present.

I thought I would be pretty standard in terms of how many apps I use, but it appears I am an extreme outlier. Groove On, I see that your gigging (learning/performing) leads you to use several apps similar or identical to what I use for my jazz ensemble learning (on flute). I'm not sure I'd be using these so much if I were only working on piano, though.

I'm surprised there aren't more replies about using ear training apps. (Like, none!) I wonder if this is because most people aren't doing ear training, or because most people are doing ear training but with traditional analog methods.


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Musical-U - guidance for increasing musicality
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#2704058 - 01/11/18 04:50 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Interesting thread!

I use:

practice journal: Music Journal (on and off, but esp. if I'm trying to remember to review older pieces)
metronome: Pro Metronome
keyboard: Tiny Piano
sightreading: Sight Reading Factory. Good idea and easy to practice, the compositions aren't so interesting. I'm not sure if I'll renew for next year.
tempo changer: Anytune
ear training: Functional Ear Trainer (amazing, I think), Tenuto (lots of different skills)
score writing: Touch Notation, MuseScore
rhythm practice: RhythmLab
theory: Theory (impressively clear explanations on the basics, from musictheory.net)

PianoStudent, you said that you use most of your apps regularly. I'm curious if you have a rotating schedule--because there's a lot of apps!


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#2704066 - 01/11/18 05:46 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: kevinb]  
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Apropos nothing, really...

I don't like the word "app" because it doesn't really stand for "application." In my day, an "application" was a piece of software that applied the computer to some problem outside the computer itself. A word processor is an "application", as is an web browser. A virus checker is not an "application," nor is a file manager, because this kind of software is directed at the internal operation of the computer, and not to satisfying a real-world need.

These days the word "app" has come to mean "any kind of software with any function," so an important distinction between different kinds of software has been lost. Most likely nobody except computer scientists or the anally retentive will care about this.


Well, there's a difference. Not all software are apps, all apps are software though. There's a technical difference. Everything with a UI is an app, though programs that run in the background, aren't. So in that sense, a virus checker is an app. Drivers, Images and documents, aren't apps.

But indeed. Since apple the word is very popular.

Last edited by hyena; 01/11/18 05:51 PM.
#2704070 - 01/11/18 06:07 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: gingko2]  
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Originally Posted by gingko2
PianoStudent, you said that you use most of your apps regularly. I'm curious if you have a rotating schedule--because there's a lot of apps!


gingko2, good question. It might have been more accurate to say that I like all of these and still consider myself "using" them, even if it's not every day or even every month, except for the ones marked "less used or unused".

In my current practice, I don't spend very long on any one thing, so I might touch on a lot of different things for only a few minutes each.

A lot of these are more for flute practice or ear training than piano practice. I suppose if I restricted myself to just what I use for piano practice, it would be a much shorter list: Music Journal, and very very occasionally Metronome. And Sight Reading Factory, except I've switched to sightreading practice from paper instead of from an app.

Here's an attempt at an answer:

Daily use

practice log - Music Journal. Every day, to track daily practice.

keyboard - Tiny Piano. Almost every day, as I work on aural skills or transcription in scraps of time while waiting places away from home.

transcription - Amazing Slow Downer. Currently using this every day because I'm working on learning jazz aurally. This is for flute.

ear training - Functional Ear Trainer, Theta Music Trainer, Meludia, Sing True. I have a goal to spend some time ear training every day, part with an app and part with analog exercises. I generally rotate through these, choosing one per day, doing it for several days until I feel I've plateaued for a while, then changing to another.

music streaming - Spotify. Every day because I'm working on "listen to jazz regularly". I usually pick an album and play it while I'm driving.

reading - Kindle Reader, iBooks. Often, because I have various music books I'm reading. I'm currently reading one book about ideas for jazz and improvisation, and another book about ideas for improving aural skills.


Potential for daily use
sightreading - Sight Reading Factory, Read Ahead. At one point I was using these almost every day. I'm still doing sightreading practice everyday, but I've got the Harris (actual book) series now, and I think after that I'll probably stay with paper resources. Or I might return to SRF. I don't know how much I'll continue with Read Ahead. In-app purchases are required to unlock higher levels, and it gets really pricey very quickly because you only get a few levels with each in-app purchase.

play along - iRealPro, DrumGenius. Right now I'm focusing almost entirely on transcription for my jazz flute learning, so not using these two apps. But in a few weeks my jazz ensemble will start up for the Spring semester, and I'll want to start "improvise over a chord progression" and "improvise while experimenting with rhythm" exercises. So then I'll start using these regularly again.


Infrequently, but invaluable when needed
metronome - Metronome. Infrequently, just because these days I don't want a metronome for my practice. But when I do want a metronome, I really really want one. In my jazz study (both piano and flute) I'm supposed to be doing exercises with a metronome. But I haven't quite gotten around to it yet smile .

tuner - Tunable. Similar to the metronome, infrequently, but when I want a tuner, I really really want one. I got a new flute last year which plays much more in tune than my old flute did, so I'm using this less often. But before I got the new flute I was using it every time I practiced, to try to learn how to achieve good intonation. (Ha, I never learned how. I LOVE my new well-intoned flute SO MUCH!).


Occasionally

miscellaneous -

Shruti Box (drone). I'm trying to use this to experiment with what singing or playing different notes sounds like over a fixed note, as a way of exploring harmony. I haven't gotten into a regular practice of doing this yet, though.

Composers (composer of the day). I usually glance at this daily, although I'm not currently going the extra step of listening to the composers music.

Musical U (musical articles). The articles are also available on the website, which is where I tend to go more frequently these days.


Piano Career Academy - Ilinca Vartic teaches the Russian school of piano playing
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Theta Music Trainer - fun ear training games
#2704073 - 01/11/18 06:09 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: kevinb]  
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Originally Posted by kevinb
Apropos nothing, really...

I don't like the word "app" because it doesn't really stand for "application." In my day, an "application" was a piece of software that applied the computer to some problem outside the computer itself. A word processor is an "application", as is an web browser. A virus checker is not an "application," nor is a file manager, because this kind of software is directed at the internal operation of the computer, and not to satisfying a real-world need.

These days the word "app" has come to mean "any kind of software with any function," so an important distinction between different kinds of software has been lost. Most likely nobody except computer scientists or the anally retentive will care about this.

Just like the word "hacker" used to refer to the good guys and the bad guys were called "crackers". Who even remembers that distinction now? wink

Language changes all the time. The word "gay" used to mean "joyful or merry", then it changed to mean "sexually promiscuous", and now it means "homosexual". Another example is "pathetic", which used to mean "arousing (any) strong emotions", then the emotions got narrowed down to pity or compassion, and now it's just contempt. This is a natural process that happens in every language and you can't stop it.

Anyway, sorry for going off topic...


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#2704074 - 01/11/18 06:09 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I use Band in a Box a lot for creating backing tracks.

I also use PGMusic's Metronome Pro, which can be set to speed up over time. I practice scales with it, starting well within my comfort zone for sixteenth notes, and when it gets too fast for me I switch to triplets, etc. So after I have warmed up, it keeps pushing me, but I never get to the tempo where I am getting too sloppy.

I also use PGMusic's Music Replay for ear training. It plays a short phrase, you play it on the piano, and it checks your notes and timing and immediately tells you how well you did. At a fast tempo, it gives you a real ear-training workout.

What I would really like to find would be a program similar to Music Replay, but with, say, thousands of jazzy riffs programmed into it, so that in addition to being useful for ear training, it would be a tool for learning jazz vocabulary.

Ed


http://edsjazzpianopage.blogspot.com/

My fingers are slow, but easily keep pace with my thoughts.

#2704079 - 01/11/18 06:23 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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No internet on my phone, I'm against this, so I just play piano.

#2704169 - 01/12/18 03:40 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: Qazsedcft]  
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Originally Posted by Qazsedcft
Language changes all the time. The word "gay" used to mean "joyful or merry", then it changed to mean "sexually promiscuous", and now it means "homosexual". Another example is "pathetic", which used to mean "arousing (any) strong emotions", then the emotions got narrowed down to pity or compassion, and now it's just contempt. This is a natural process that happens in every language and you can't stop it.


Indeed. But I think that people who care about clarity of expression have a duty to resist it. I'm very much in favour of a kind of linguistic Darwinism, that would ensure that only genuinely useful mutations survive in the wild. Linguistic changes that serve only stupid and unworthy objectives, such as Apple's advertising, and have no other benefit, should be resisted until they become extinct.

#2704232 - 01/12/18 10:27 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: kevinb]  
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Originally Posted by kevinb
But I think that people who care about clarity of expression have a duty to resist it. I'm very much in favour of a kind of linguistic Darwinism, that would ensure that only genuinely useful mutations survive in the wild.


So in that logic next time when a client asks: "Can you design an App" He should say "Can you design software?" ?

Last edited by hyena; 01/12/18 10:32 AM.
#2704552 - 01/13/18 10:38 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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I use forScore and have switched almost all of my scores to that rather than the paper ones. I also have a foot pedal (AirTurn) and am now totally dependent on that as well.

I'm still looking for a good substitute for the Music Journal app frown
(I use iPhone/iPad, so the Musician's Diary isn't available as far as I can tell).


Started piano June 1999. My recordings at Box.Net:
https://app.box.com/s/j4rgyhn72uvluemg1m6u

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#2704567 - 01/13/18 11:17 AM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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Posts: 1,591
David Farley Online content
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David Farley  Online Content
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Joined: Oct 2013
Posts: 1,591
Chicago, Illinois
No one else has ever mentioned this sort of app, but I use a random number generator a lot on my phone to generate random drills if I'm working my way through a particular book. I do some randomly-generated drilling every day. (Sight-reading, scales, whatever I'm working on.)

I wasn't pleased with the "randomness" of many of the apps I tried until I discovered one from random.org.

https://www.random.org/app/

#2704638 - 01/13/18 03:21 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: PianoStudent88]  
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dancingfish Offline
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dancingfish  Offline
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Joined: Nov 2016
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Oregon, USA
Originally Posted by PianoStudent88

tuner - Tunable. Similar to the metronome, infrequently, but when I want a tuner, I really really want one. I got a new flute last year which plays much more in tune than my old flute did, so I'm using this less often. But before I got the new flute I was using it every time I practiced, to try to learn how to achieve good intonation. (Ha, I never learned how. I LOVE my new well-intoned flute SO MUCH!).


Ooooo, new flute! You have to tell us - what did you get?

Edit to add: P.S. do you know of any decent flute forums? I know it's too much to ask to find one like Piano World, but I haven't found any that feel like doing much reading in (maybe that's a good thing smile ).

Last edited by dancingfish; 01/13/18 03:24 PM.

Linda
Kawaii CE220 | Pianoteq 5 Stage
In progress: Faber Adult All-In-One Book 2 | Fundamental Keys
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#2704651 - 01/13/18 04:33 PM Re: What apps do you use? [Re: dancingfish]  
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PianoStudent88 Online content
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PianoStudent88  Online Content
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Joined: Jun 2011
Posts: 4,176
Maine
My old flute was an Armstrong, circa 1970. My new flute is a brand new Jupiter. I can look up the model numbers if you’re interested. My understanding is that there’s been a lot of advancement in flute scale design — the subtle adjustments to spacing of the holes — that results in newer flutes playing much better in tune with themselves intrinsically than older flutes. Both are closed hole, C foot.

I don’t know any flute forums that are as active as PianoWorld is for piano. I generally end up at Fluteland when I have a flute-forum-reading itch. I really like Jennifer Cluff’s blog and website, although they’re not forums.


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