A handy “panflute flowchart” from toothpastefordinner.com.
So how much gear does a woodwind doubler NEED?
I HAVE a B-flat clarinet. I NEED an A clarinet. Mozart, you know. And Nielsen and Stravinsky. And orchestral playing. And I really NEED a good bass clarinet, too. And something tells me that if I can get my hands on those, I will discover that I really NEED an E-flat, and maybe a C, and contrabasses in one or more keys.
At least once a month I get a phone call from someone looking for a baritone saxophone player. (I HAVE a soprano, an alto, and a tenor…) As far as I can tell, there isn’t a privately owned bari anywhere in town. If I managed to scrape together the cash to buy one, how many gigs would I have to play on it before it paid for itself? It doesn’t matter, because deep in my soul I NEED a baritone sax, too.
I have tinwhistles in a variety of keys. My current favorite maker has in them in all twelve keys, and some of those keys in multiple octaves. Traditional Irish music tends to stick to a small handful of key signatures, most playable on a D whistle, but what kind of self-respecting doubler turns down a gig because the whistle part is in A-flat? I NEED more whistles.
In a related vein, I recently played for a musical theater production that called for “bamboo flute” among other things. I showed up with a big Rubbermaid bin full of flutes—imagine my embarrassment when I discovered the part called for a bamboo flute in C# major, one that I don’t have. I had to play the part on Boehm flute instead. I NEED… well, you get the picture.
And yes, I HAVE a panflute. A Romanian-style one, anyway. I still NEED a South-American-style…