Can a flute play a low B flat?

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings

Moderators: Classitar, pied_piper, Phineas

thefluteninja
Posts: 4
Joined: Tue Dec 01, 2015 8:26 pm

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by thefluteninja »

So here's how it works:

Student model flutes have a C foot allowing you to go down to a low C (2 keys at the end of the footjoint)

Most intermediate and professional flutes have a B foot allowing you to go down to a low B natural (3 keys at the end of the footjoint)

Anything below that require extensions. The most common is just a small, removable piece of tubing that is attached to the bottom of the footjoint. (https://powellflutes.com/vqpshop/flute- ... ing-silver) This allows the player to play a low Bb, however they can no longer play a B natural until they remove the extention.

Another way to play a low Bb is with an extension that actually has a key on it. Most extensions like this are built into the flute itself (like this one: http://www.antiqueflutes.com/product.php?id=776). Obviously, because the right pinky is already pressing the low C#, C, and B natural keys, this extension is very tricky because there are no available fingers to add another note... except for the LEFT pinky. The Bb thumb key extension has a rod that extends all the way past the right hand to have a key right next to the Ab key, so to play a low Bb like this you would be using every single finger.

Anything lower than this requires custom made requests.

Hope this helps:)

dddiam
Posts: 12
Joined: Wed Feb 11, 2015 9:30 am

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by dddiam »

You can play a low Bb on the flute (assuming that you have a B-footjoint).

Finger a low B, and bend the note with your embouchure. On most flutes (orchestral or indigenous), you can bend a note down a half-tone. In fact, on the pan flute, all accidentals are obtained by bending a note down a half-tone.

This technique is especially effective if you just want the Bb in order to resolve into a B. It is a nice portamento.

User avatar
LarryS
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:35 pm
Location: Darlington UK
Contact:

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by LarryS »

I wonder if, like with recorder, you can cover the end of the tube and blow gently. On recorder that lowers the pitch by a semitone, allowing an alto recorder to go to E. A bit impractical on flute I suppose...
You can make beautiful music on an ugly flute

User avatar
LarryS
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:35 pm
Location: Darlington UK
Contact:

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by LarryS »

Another way would be to use a headjoint with a moveable embouchure hole. You slide it up and down as you blow and the pitch rises and falls. A bit expensive though I expect.
You can make beautiful music on an ugly flute

User avatar
pied_piper
Posts: 1927
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2007 1:31 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by pied_piper »

LarryS wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:27 pm
Another way would be to use a headjoint with a moveable embouchure hole. You slide it up and down as you blow and the pitch rises and falls. A bit expensive though I expect.
You just described Robert Dick's Glissando Headjoint for flute. They are available for sale for around $1400. See the video on Robert Dick's website to hear what it sounds like.

http://robertdick.net/the-glissando-headjoint/

https://flutecenter.com/products/robert ... -headjoint
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

User avatar
LarryS
Posts: 40
Joined: Sat Jan 05, 2019 5:35 pm
Location: Darlington UK
Contact:

Re: Can a flute play a low B flat?

Post by LarryS »

pied_piper wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 7:43 pm
LarryS wrote:
Wed Dec 23, 2020 12:27 pm
Another way would be to use a headjoint with a moveable embouchure hole. You slide it up and down as you blow and the pitch rises and falls. A bit expensive though I expect.
You just described Robert Dick's Glissando Headjoint for flute. They are available for sale for around $1400. See the video on Robert Dick's website to hear what it sounds like.

http://robertdick.net/the-glissando-headjoint/

https://flutecenter.com/products/robert ... -headjoint
Yes I've seen them in use by the likes of woodwind genius Pedro Eustache
You can make beautiful music on an ugly flute

Post Reply