High notes? Ugh...

Alternate Fingerings, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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High notes? Ugh...

Post by silverskies » Wed Apr 22, 2009 8:53 pm

My low notes sound lush and full. My high notes? Shrill and thin.
It's enough to make anyone cringe, even me... I'm attempting to improve by changing my aperture and using more air but it isn't really helping much.

Do you have any tips on playing high notes with good quality and avoiding the shrillness?

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Post by nasxxx » Thu Apr 23, 2009 6:36 am

Guess its just the case of playing and practice long hgh notes and runs I still need to master the a3 - d4 those are still illusive to me the last 6 notes of the higher register are a PITA to play.

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Post by Fleming » Thu Apr 23, 2009 7:35 am

>My low notes sound lush and full. My high notes? Shrill and thin.
And when you get your high notes just right, your low notes suffer. It's a never-ending cycle of suffering. ;) I see this a lot, and it's because a lot of people tailor their embouchure to an extreme that only works well for approximately two of the three registers.

>Do you have any tips on playing high notes with good quality and avoiding the shrillness
I'd wager that you need to work on your embouchure. It's amazing how much of a difference a teeny tiny change in your embouchure can make. When I'm working on my tone and when I'm teaching, my advice is always this: If it's not easy, you're doing it wrong.

The notes should come out easily regardless of which register you're playing in, even the troublesome ones like C1, E2 (the first note you need to overblow), E3, and C4. If you find yourself working harder on certain notes or focusing on getting them out clearly, you need to adjust your embouchure. Cover more/less less of the hole, use more/less lower lip, bring your lower jaw in/out, open/close your mouth more, bring your head up/down, aim lower/higher, make more of a frowny/smiley face, etc...

In my experience, when you get the right embouchure, not only do the notes speak easily across the board, but they sound fabulous as well. Rich and loud in the low register, full and mellow in the high register, and in tune (as much as the flute can be in tune ;)).

However, I can't really offer much advice on your embouchure beyond lots of experimenting. Your mouth and lips will be different from everyone else's, and your headjoint has a different cut, so it's really just a matter of learning what works best for you on your instrument. Don't be afraid to try something completely out of the ordinary, or something that "experts" say is a poor practice.

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Post by fluteguy18 » Thu Apr 23, 2009 8:43 am

Aside from basic embouchure adjustments, I would also recommend that you try opening up when going into the high register. Drop the jaw [putting space between your teeth], and move it slightly forward. I had a lesson with Jim Walker not too long ago, and while I have no trouble hitting high notes [can get up to F#4 *above the top C*], my tone in the upper register wasn't "singing." It sounded "covered and pressed."

So you might want to try that.

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Post by Dirty_Dave » Mon Jun 08, 2009 9:32 am

Opening up/making your face longer will also help to bring the pitch down.

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