Graham Fitkin

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by Graham Fitkin April 2nd, 2013

Helical Strake

There always seemed to be a lot of spit involved. Accompanied by a certain lightheadedness and lips that no longer belonged to me. Yet it was intriguing. Coils of cold metal, pistons ready to go and a seductive bell end to the contraption.  Indeed I managed to produce occasional belches of aleatoric noise. But my own forlorn teenage attempts to make sound from a piece of brass tubing stopped soon after they started. All that air bouncing around uncontrollably. All that effort focused into a small funnel. What do you do with this sort of instrument? I was not destined for trumpeting glory. I liked the look of a piano where all the notes were laid out in front of me and I could choose them at will without having to divest myself of hard-earned saliva.

My inadequacy as a brass player still troubles me and, at some point, I will have another crack at it. But that youthful prejudice – spit and pistons and recalcitrant fortissimi – has remained with me. My admiration goes out to all brass players.


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