I've been out performing this month again and as always I get a question that stumps me every time. "What's your favorite flute?"
I've been asked this question at least a hundred times and it still surprises me. Mostly because I've never sat down and thought about it on my own. "...hmm, what's my favorite flute?" It is a perfectly reasonable question, I guess, but one that I could never answer.
Why not? Well here are a few reasons.
I've been playing Native American style flutes for over ten years now and stopped counting how many I had at least nine years ago. As my collection grows I forget about some of the old ones. Newer ones catch my attention and they get played more. It's human nature.
Not All Flutes Sound Alike
Every flute I have sounds slightly different. What I like about the sound of one flute may be great for a certain mood, musical style, or playing style, but not work as well outside of those parameters. I might prefer other flutes for other moods, styles or types of playing.
The sounds of some flutes I own are sweet, some are clear, some are loud, some are soft, some are warm, etc. Many flute have a lot of these qualities, but not all flutes have every good quality one might look for in a flute. I've never heard a flute than can sound both "plains" and "woodland" style. It's one or the other.
This may be why I prefer some flutes over others, they do more of the things I want a flute to do than others. Flutes that can be played soulfully one minute and then aggressively the next I like better than flutes that only play one way.
Some flutes are so specific that they end up limiting themselves. I have drone flutes and doubles that do a few things really well, but not everything. Bass flutes and really high pitched flutes can also fall victim to their specific design. When you get down to it all NAFs are based on one key and that limits them as well. So all flute suffer from being specific in some way.
A World Full Of Options
In the end the main reason why I could never pick a "favorite" flute is that I like to keep my options open. I don't have a favorite color, or a favorite meal, (I do have a favorite food: pumpkin... go figure), I like many different styles of music, a variety of tea blends and types of beer, I like all the seasons (although I think I prefer fall), and as the seasons change and the food at the farmer's market changes I get excited with all the new stuff they offer.
Variety is the spice of life and there are so many wonder things on our planet for us to pick from that I don't see how anyone could ever say "This is my favorite."
So, now that I've thought about it, do I have a favorite flute? Well surprisingly I do...
But it will change tomorrow.