high notes

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

Post Reply
Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:07 am

high notes

Post by ange.tombe » Tue Jan 15, 2008 3:49 am

can't seem to get the middle A onwards. I have done quite alot of practising for quite a while (like 9 months) and still can't master that range and it is really starting to annoy me very badly. My embouchoure is loose, my flute is rolled out so it is only covering half the hole but i still can't get it, it sounds like a low A but really loud, which is probably wrong because your not suppose to blow more air.

please can anyone tell me a detailed analysis of what actually happens when you jump the octave, like where does the air angle, how you lip changes, the speed of the air and everything.

my teacher tells me that you are suppose to direct the air upwards, james galway says to direct the air more into the flute, but can anyone actually properly analyse the angle of air when the do an octave jump.

every forum and youtube video says that you need a flexible embouchore; mine is flexible, but i need to know the function of a loose lip and how i use that flexibility to change the shape of my lip and play the high notes.

help is very very very appreciated

Posts: 8
Joined: Wed Aug 08, 2007 3:37 am
Location: Hungary

Post by Sentinel » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:24 am

This question interests me, because I have problems with the high notes, too. I succeed when I blow stronger, blow more into the flute, with wider embouchure and pressing my lip harder to the flute.
But I don't know if this is good or not...

Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:53 pm
Location: Australia

Post by dayz » Tue Jan 15, 2008 7:25 am

Have you tried, just practicing with the head joint only, and practicing different octaves with the end of the head joint (the part that attaches to the flute) covered and uncovered. This helped me when I was starting out, and then when I picked the flute up again after a 15year hiatus.

This way you can concentrate on your embrochure. If you have seen James Galways YouTube Master class, he talks about not actually having a loose embrochure, I believe it has to be flexible not loose.

Also at the very beginning in Trevor Wye's Tone Book, there is a section about Harmonics. Which is helpful in adjusting the embrochure to reach the different harmonics. eg play Low C1 and then using the same fingering adjust your embrochure to play C2, G2, C3, E3,G3 (the last two are pretty hard to get, so don't be too hard on yourself)

In regards to detailed analysis, in analyzing my own technique(everyone will develop their own style over time and experience.), my embrochure is curved down especially for the low notes and I direct the air flow into the flute a bit more, but I also direct the air to the top of the head joint(without adjusting the flute), which helps to push the air down the length of the tube.

As I start to progress up into the higher register, it helps me to concentrate on slowly pushing the embrochure out but trying to maintain the downward curve, also I try not to crush the notes by keeping the space in my mouth and throat open and the embrochure hole open (nb it will be a bit smaller for the higher notes than lower).

The air flow will increase with the higher notes but it is important not to increase too much, as this will result in a strangled squeaky sound.

Also you may have heard about supporting your notes, how I do this is to hold my abdominal muscles in with torso not being hunched over, and keep my shoulders down, head held up. This again helps to produce a better tone, and also keep your embrochure relaxed for flexibility (not loose)

Again, others may have different techniques and I am by no means a professor in Flute playing, but the above things have helped me in improving my tone. :wink:

Posts: 4
Joined: Thu Jan 10, 2008 4:07 am

Post by ange.tombe » Tue Jan 15, 2008 11:23 am

Sentinel - Yes, when I blow harder the high notes come out, but not great in quality and it often becomes very loud and annoying especially when playing piano.

dayz - Yes I have just started today in practising with the head joint only, although I think my neighbours got a bit... cranky. I could manage the octave jump properly with the head joint covered though.

However, I would also like to inquire about 'pushing the embrouchure out' and 'embrouchure curved down'; do you mean moving the upper lip forward and causing the upper lip to lower respectively? And also, you mentioned that you direct the airflow more into the flute in lower notes, so do you direct the air more upwards in the higher notes?

Thanks for the reply and the analysis

Posts: 13
Joined: Tue Aug 28, 2007 4:53 pm
Location: Australia

Post by dayz » Tue Jan 15, 2008 6:06 pm

I would also like to inquire about 'pushing the embrouchure out' and 'embrouchure curved down'; do you mean moving the upper lip forward and causing the upper lip to lower respectively
There has been descriptions made to using a 'smiling embouhure' where the corners of your mouth are turned up, which doesn't create a sweet sound. see http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NcXRzZZv ... re=related

So what I'm saying is not to turn the corners of your mouth up when going up the octave. I used to play with a type of smiling embouchure, and then when I converted to the style described by Sir Galway, my tone improved greatly.
You can also see the movement of embouchure in the video clip that I was trying to explain... and Sir Galway also mentions jaw movement.

With air flow direction for higher notes, I tend to not direct the flow so much up as across the embouchure hole. Hope this helps

There are also some good video clips in describing the techniques I've mentioned which helped me to obtain a better tone.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VQg0vScn ... re=related


plus more if you look in the related

good luck let me know how you go

Posts: 15
Joined: Wed Jan 09, 2008 3:42 pm

Flute Sound

Post by AnnaJ » Tue Jan 15, 2008 8:08 pm

This is a great page which explains exactly how sound is made on the flute. Some if it is a little technical, but you can filter through and find the part you need. http://www.phys.unsw.edu.au/jw/fluteacoustics.html

Jennifer Cluff has some great articles on tone production and practicing.

"Men have not found the words..., but they have found the music."

Post Reply