have you looked up the James Galway masterclass embouchure youtube clips?
These are the clearest demonstration which I can find, of the practice of 'pushing your lower lip out to reach the higher octaves'.
Sally Adams in her basic flute book describes this as 'trying to blow a bluebottle off your nose'.
Both techniques, literally force the air upstream, rather than cross-stream, against your blow hole. There is a very subtle embouchure shift throughout the octave shifts, and it is easier to follow this principle, of blowing 'upstream' by whichever method works for you, until you acquire more embouchure control and can refine it. You shouldn't be splitting octave notes by this method of blowing upstream: if you are - you are not blowing 'up' enough. If you are getting overtones from the octave above, then you are blowing upstream too much! Then, it's about practicing to get the higher octave consistently.
If you read the classic Quantz 'On playing the flute', he demonstrates in his first chapter, how tight the embouchure control must be, with octave progression. Now this tight control does not equate to 'tight embouchure' - if you find that you are tightening up your embouchure, then you need to stop, because this is going to set you down the wrong path for learning.
I have a generally relaxed embouchure (I play alto flute more than C concert flute - it is a larger embouchure). At times, I still get 'fuzziness' on the C Boehm flute which is due to poor embouchure control on my part. It gets better as your embouchure muscles develop and you learn to recognise the correct embouchure position. As it is - trying to find the 'sweet spot', and using something like the Trevor Wye books on Intonation and Tone Control, are useful exercises to start off with.
Hope that helps.
Ambidexter wrote:Hi all,
I just read through this topic, because I'm experiencing a much related problem. I need to learn playing through self study (can't afford a teacher), so maybe some of you can help me out.
Last week I obtained a chromatic tuner. I am happy about that, as I know I produced some oddities in the range C-E from the first to the second octave. Reading off the pitch I produce, I am quite shocked to see that hitherto I played the second octave as much as 50 cent (a quarter note!) higher that the first.
Could be lots of things Ambi -
if your flute is poorly made, it won't be true across octave jumps.
Generally, we use the tuning tenon and slide the head joint out, so that you get the best balance between the octaves. Try playing low D, and the middle octave D - and move your head joint out until you get a good balance between the two. Some people move their headjoint cork too, but that's really fussy and difficult!
It's always harder if you're learning on your own: so you need to be confident in your instrument, that it isn't a cheapo terrible out of octave flute. If you are confident in your instrument, then you know it is down to learning better embouchure control. You may have to move your lips over the lip plate towards as much as half-covering it, in order to sharpen the octave. If you're finding it's too sharp, then back off a few millimetres, and rotate the headjoint out by this much when going for the second octave, and refine the rest of the embouchure control.
If you're not confident your instrument is perfectly in tune, then you could be heading for a needle in a haystack approach, and no one's advice will be of help. This is the fudge method of self-learning, and if it doesn't make you give up , it will later. It is wayyyy more enjoyable learning flute playing by yourself, knowing that your instrument is perfectly set up!
From what I read here and elsewhere, I infer there is a tendency to play the second and third octaves higher than the first. Can other players confirm that the difference is indeed so big?
Ummm...I haven't noticed. Then again, I'm not a public performer. I just play because I enjoy playing, but I'd be able to hear a 50% difference and I would be really upset! That would sound badly out of tune for me! Sounds like your headjoint needs pulling a good centimetre or so, and then fine-tuned, to stop it sounding so 'out'.
And is it correct that the player needs to make up for this difference by blowing more over the flute on the first octave and more into the flute on the second, as pointed out by Mindermast? -- The difference I need to overcome is HUGHE! (I've been working on this for a few days now, and I just want to make sure I'm on the right way...)
The Quantz book I mentioned above references this phenomenon. When you say 'blowing more over the flute on the first octave', Quantz is more precise in specifying that you need to blow INTO the embouchure hole much more, by controlling the embouchure, to target the narrowing sweetspot. Some flutists do this by rolling the lower lip over the embouchure, ever so slightly more, than on the fundamental octave. The Quantz book is the clearest chapter I've read which explains the mechanics of the second/third octave production for me. It costs money, but it's well worth it, and the style it's written in, produces a few giggles.
Also, is it correct that the position of the lower lip on the mouthpiece is fixed, and that the airstream is changed by the size/width of the opening between the player's lips, and the position of the upper lip?
I'm not sure what others would say, but I would be inclined to disregard this kind of practice. Embouchure control has to be systematic: that is - you use all of the lips; the position of upper and lower; the size of theaperture formed, and the shape of the aperture, as well as the position of the tongue behind the teeth. The embouchure should be flexible, and agile, so that it doesn't require fixed 'locking' of the lower lip on to the embouchure plate, to remember where the embouchure is. If this is the case, then it is indeed a case of needing more consistent practice, and maybe some tuition.
For instance - James Galway teaches that it is easier, to jut out your lower jaw, and bring your lower lip forward to protrude more than the upper lip, in order to make the octave shift.
It's not easy explaining embouchure control on the internet, and there are way better authoritative sources. There is a huge variety of embouchure techniques: so you could get really really confused, asking lots of people on the internet. So again - I'd say - do a youtube search for the James Galway masterclass embouchure clips!
Boehm flute embouchure control, is completely different to romantic (irish) flute embouchure, which again, is completely different to chinese dizi flute embouchure, or indian bansuri embouchure etc. There is a hole, and you can just blow and succeed in making sounds, and maybe 3 octaves - but that's not technique. It's fun learning on your own, as long as you are confident in your instrument, and you know it's only you who needs to improve - not the instrument