SPONSOR AD:BLUE LANDSCAPES   ~   Music from a Quieter Place | ROBERT THIES (piano) & DAMJAN KRAJACIC (flute)  >> LISTEN HERE

Flute glissando in the low register

Advanced Technique, Performance Questions, Auditions, Recording, etc.

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Dniel27
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:10 am

Flute glissando in the low register

Postby Dniel27 » Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:20 am

Hi, hopefully I'm posting this in the right place. I'm a composer and I'm writing a chamber piece with a flute in it, and there's a section where I'd like the flute to do a glissando from low B (below the staff) to C# (One whole step up.). I know that glissandi on the flute are tricky and somewhat unconventional, but I'm asking on the off-chance that this might be possible. Would playing a glissando at the bottom of the flute's range be doable at all, even if it's not perfectly smooth?

Thanks!

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1616
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Flute glissando in the low register

Postby pied_piper » Sat Oct 14, 2017 8:18 pm

What you ask is nearly impossible and really not practical on the flute. It's possible to bend the pitch on those low notes, but a half-step is about the limit for most players. The lowest pitches on the flute have closed holes and all of them are operated by the right pinky finger. This means that the player can produce the three distinct pitched (B, C, C#) but it's nearly impossible to get a really smooth gliss between them. If you could shift the glissando to start on the low D (or higher), then it would be more feasible. Most advanced players have open hole flutes and the glissando is more easily produced on notes with open holes.

Have you considered moving that phrase to the trombone? :D
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Dniel27
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:10 am

Re: Flute glissando in the low register

Postby Dniel27 » Sun Oct 15, 2017 11:18 am

Thanks for the quick and informative response! I guess I suspected it wouldn't be possible, but I figured it would be worth checking just in case. So would B to C# an octave above that work? (In the staff.)

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1616
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Flute glissando in the low register

Postby pied_piper » Sun Oct 15, 2017 4:00 pm

B to C# on the staff would be better. If you have a really proficient flutist, they should be able to "approximate" a gliss between those notes, but it will not be really smooth because those are not open holes either. It really depends upon the tempo. A slower tempo will allow the flutist to play B-C-C# and bend the pitch on each to get a bit of a gliss effect. At fast tempos, it's probably going to sound more like a chromatic progression between those notes. It also might be possible for them to start with the C fingering, but bend the pitch down to the B (or as close as they can get) lip it back up to C and then repeat that while fingering C# so that the gliss/pitch bend ends on C#.

If the flute is not playing immediately before or after the gliss, a really good B-to-C# gliss can be obtained by removing the headjoint from the flute. The flutist must stick a finger into the open end to get the B, and then withdraw the finger until the C# is reached. This produces a slide whistle-like effect. Of course, this requires a flutist with a really good ear (or tuner) to get the right starting and ending pitches.

It might require some experimentation by the flutist to see what works best.

I hope that helps!
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Dniel27
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2017 10:10 am

Re: Flute glissando in the low register

Postby Dniel27 » Mon Oct 16, 2017 3:26 pm

Thanks so much for your reply, that helps a lot! I will definitely be using this information going forward. :D


Return to “Intermediate and Advanced Flute Topics”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

cron