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Improving tone
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Author:  mendipman [ Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:58 am ]
Post subject:  Improving tone

Like most aspects of flute playing improving tone is a gradual progressive process.

What, at any stage, are the small changes, adjustments or awareness that made a noticeable difference on tone?

Author:  jiminos [ Fri Oct 12, 2018 11:03 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

For me... Becoming aware, and staying aware, of my embouchure and keeping tight and focused.

Author:  jim stone [ Fri Oct 12, 2018 3:07 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

Playing higher pitched flutes/fifes helps a good deal, since the embouchure is more demanding.

Author:  oleorezinator [ Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

Long tones.
Octave slurs for flexibility.

Author:  Terry McGee [ Sun Oct 14, 2018 2:26 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

1. Making sure that your flute is working perfectly.
2. Making sure that your flute suits you.
3. Trying out the approach outlined at http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Getting_the ... k_tone.htm
4. Go back to #2.

1. It's easy not to notice that your flute is leaking a bit, or even was born with an impediment. Getting someone else to try it is one option. Or trying someone else's flute might give you a hint.

2. Despite a lot of rhetoric that <insert name of personal hero here> makes the best flutes in the world, there is plenty of evidence that nobody does. They might make the best flutes for you, or her, or heaps of people, but they won't make the best flutes for him, or them, or lots of other people. Your responsibility as a flute player requires you to take every opportunity to try flutes by other makers, alive or dead. Never miss an opportunity.

3. This is my best effort so far in terms of trying to make the 19th century approach accessible.

4. If you do radically change your embouchure approach, you might find that what was your best-suiting flute is no longer! Damn!* Go back to #2. Do not collect $200....

(*Still, it keeps flute-makers in work.....)

Author:  Guilleflute [ Mon Oct 15, 2018 4:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

1.- Breathing properly and controlling air stream from and throught the diafragm.

2.- Using lips by keeping them tight but relaxed at the same time.

3.- Using your body as a resonator, specially opening throat and creating as much as space possible in your mouth while you are playing by dropping the jaw (this is basically singing technique applied by most Böhm flute players).

4.- Some tools such as "Pneumo Pro" help a lot with air stream focusing. (have a view throught internet)

5.- Having a look to some classical Böhm players videos like Emmanuel Pahud (play with a pro) or Nina Perlova might also help. They are always talking about sound production and tone quallity.

Author:  mendipman [ Mon Oct 15, 2018 8:17 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

Thank you all for your interesting answers.

I haven't heard of Pneumo Pro and will take a look at it. I try to control my breath from my diaphragm.

My post was inspired by an interest in whether fellow flute players can recall a specific 'light bulb moment' that made a noticeable difference to tone once you had already developed quite a nice tone? I'm pleased with the improvement in tone that I'm making but very curious as to the factors that draw more of the sound/tone available from the flute.

My main flute is a Lehart, new with no leaks or issues and it feels a nice fit for me.

Author:  tstermitz [ Mon Oct 15, 2018 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

My big insight is that good tone takes steady, consistent effort. Time, practice, repetition.

Time and effort on long-tones, scales, arpeggios, chord progressions does not produce instant results, but then you hit moments where you really notice how far you have come.

Author:  Guilleflute [ Tue Oct 16, 2018 5:54 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

mendipman wrote:
Thank you all for your interesting answers.

I haven't heard of Pneumo Pro and will take a look at it. I try to control my breath from my diaphragm.

My post was inspired by an interest in whether fellow flute players can recall a specific 'light bulb moment' that made a noticeable difference to tone once you had already developed quite a nice tone? I'm pleased with the improvement in tone that I'm making but very curious as to the factors that draw more of the sound/tone available from the flute.

My main flute is a Lehart, new with no leaks or issues and it feels a nice fit for me.


To me, the tone roots on the way you control your airstream, your embouchure (how much do you cover, the angle in which you blow against the blade, lips shape...) and the space you are able to create inside your body (Troat and mouth). Those 3 aspects define your tone.

On the other hand, the flute itselft does a lot, but specially the shape of the headjoint. In my short experience, I would say those headjonints with and eccentric bore allow to have a longer and bigger riser (longer blowhole from the outside to the inside of the flute), which is able to make a more solid and powerfull tone. But also the shape of the blowhole itselft defines the tone quallity and how easy is to control (More square blowholes seem to be easier in tone control than more oval ones, at least to me). And I would also say the "sharpness" of the blade defines the "colour" of the sound.

Then of course it is the choice between flute models: R&R, Pratten or new ones that combine advantages of both.

Author:  John Driscoll [ Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Improving tone

I had a couple of lightbulb moments: first one was when I learned that one could play the high notes very very quietly. Sean Gavin had me stand in front of a mirror and look at the size of the opening in my lips and try to make it smaller and smaller until it was the size of a pin hole. He had me start a high g with that tiny airstream, activates by a puff from my diaphragm, then try to make it as quiet as possible.

Another moment was when he had me play a low G, then hold my right hand (I’m a right handed player) out in front of my mouth to feel how much air was going out over the hole. He said your airstream splits in two, part of it goes in the flute and part passes over. You want to make as much air go into the flute as possible. I realized I was blowing too far over the flute, which was why my second octave wasn’t crisp.

The third lightbulb moment was when I realized that my embouchure opened more in the low notes and tightened greatly in the second octave. Again using a mirror, I could watch the size gradually shift to a smaller and smaller air hole as I went up the scale.

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