Do I need my Pinky on certain notes?

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

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flutemannetje
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Joined: Mon Aug 17, 2020 9:23 am

Do I need my Pinky on certain notes?

Post by flutemannetje »

Hi, I am a newby on flute. Play a little trumpet and other instruments and I am learning the trumpet now. I am wandering about finger positions. E.g. if I play a C, B, A, G, Do I need to also press the key with my pinky on my right hand (I mean if so many keys are open before the right hand pinky I can not imagine it 'does' something other than gripping the flute with the right hand. I do not hear any difference in the sound either if I play these notes with or without the right hand pinky. So what is the 'golden rule'?

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Do I need my Pinky on certain notes?

Post by pied_piper »

Short answer: YES!
Part of the reason is helping to properly balance the flute but it also affects the venting of notes so if the fingering charts show using the pinky, use it.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

Gordon Shumway
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Joined: Tue Aug 17, 2021 9:41 am
Location: london, england

Re: Do I need my Pinky on certain notes?

Post by Gordon Shumway »

Being new to the flute, I find balancing it can be tricky. The Eb key is a good way to maintain balance, but certain note combinations can make its unquestioning use tricky (check out the older thread on pinky speed and cheat fingerings). Like the OP, I don't notice any intonation problems, but on the oboe I used to intonate every note individually with my embouchure and I do that on the flute too. So possibly the long answer is to follow the rules, then develop an individual style later? If I'm told I'm wrong about that, then I'll take careful note.
Last edited by Gordon Shumway on Wed Sep 01, 2021 2:05 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pied_piper
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Re: Do I need my Pinky on certain notes?

Post by pied_piper »

The flute is balanced using three points: your chin, the first joint of your left pointer finger, and your right pinky finger. Once you get the hang of equalizing the light pressure across all three points, balancing the flute will be easier. There are only a few notes played that require removing the pinky from the Eb key. Follow the published or online fingering charts and use the RH pinky when it is indicated in those charts. Right now, you may not notice a great difference in tone or pitch. However, professionals and even you in a few years should be able to hear a very slight difference with and with out the pinky added.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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