4th octave Eb in Chopin, should I trust that the flutist will get the note?

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4th octave Eb in Chopin, should I trust that the flutist will get the note?

Post by caters »

I am arranging Nocturne in Eb Op. 9 no. 2 for Flute and String Quartet and I have reached a spot where it is difficult for me to decide whether or not I should stick with the notes that Chopin wrote in his melody. Yes, if you don't know already, it is that 8va that lasts until close to the end of the piece. Thank goodness Chopin does not go higher than Eb in the 4th octave, otherwise I would have been like:
I have to take this passage down an octave or have the first violin play it, I simply can't trust a flutist to get notes past Eb in the fourth octave without using a piccolo, which would change the timbre and make me lose a lot of the first octave notes, if not all of them.
But, I'm still a bit worried. Sure, the high Eb that I keep mentioning only occurs twice in the entire 8va, but it is still a difficult note to reach. Even the fourth octave C is much harder than the third octave C(like really hard, I'm barely getting the first and second octaves to sound right after weeks of practice). I'm just worried that a flutist who plays my arrangement of Nocturne in Eb Op. 9 no. 2 won't get the 4th octave Eb. Of course, I could take the 8va away and thus have the 8va passage sound in the octave in which it is written(which is the third octave), but that gets rid of some of the integrity of the original Nocturne.

With Beethoven arrangements, I am open to this loss of integrity due to octave, because I run into it in just about every Beethoven piece that I would arrange. This is the first time I have ever arranged Chopin and I figured that this Nocturne, which is the first Chopin piece I ever played, would be a good start to arranging Chopin, not too hard, just like how the original piano piece, once I learned how to play triplets, was very easy, especially the right hand(hardest part was the few instances of polyrhythms, but those weren't too hard because the polyrhythms were short in length(only 1 beat)).

So, should I leave the notes in the 8va in the fourth octave(I'm not one of those that writes 8va for flutes and violins) as in the original Nocturne and trust that the flutist will be able to reach up to the high Eb? Or should I take the notes in the 8va down into the third octave despite the loss of integrity that will happen if I do that?

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Re: 4th octave Eb in Chopin, should I trust that the flutist will get the note?

Post by pied_piper »

While the fourth octave Eb can be played by some flutists, an average flutist cannot play much, if any notes, above fourth octave C. Unless you are writing this for a VERY professional, virtuostic flutist, I suggest taking that passage down the octave. Professional level symphonic literature will rarely have a fourth octave D, but I cannot think of any works with notes higher than that.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."

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