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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:51 am 
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Practicing away on the flute, making slow progress.

I often will play just the headjoint or the open hole B and use my right hand to see how much air is hitting my hand. It seems as if a good player should have close to perfect efficiency, that is, all the air goes into the flute and none spills out. Is that right?


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:59 am 
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If none spills out, you won't get any sound at all!


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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 11:22 am 
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PB+J wrote:
It seems as if a good player should have close to perfect efficiency, that is, all the air goes into the flute and none spills out. Is that right?

No, not all of it goes in. As Brad hints, the embouchure cut's edge splits the air jet, and that makes the tone. Since it's split, some air will always be "lost", if you want to call it that. Efficient players may lose less of it - and I'm not convinced that this is actually true - but never none. It's how the beast works.

There are a number of approaches in the world of flutes, but a recommended Trad method on simple system flutes is to play as if you're blowing down into the hole. You never really are, of course, but it seems that way. You have to play with your angles until you find that sweet spot area. A breathy or hissing sound will tell you that you haven't found it yet, but it also may well have to do with what you're doing with your mouth. Try retracting your lower jaw just a bit so as to make a canopy out of the upper lip; this is the secret to blowing at a downward angle and more into the flute. You have to play with it.

As your embouchure improves you will find that you aren't so much blowing, as you are breathing; the embouchure's very small aperture functions much the same as a thumb over the end of a running hose; the hose itself doesn't make any special effort, but simply steadily supplies what the thumb controls and directs. Just as with the thumb over the hose, it is only because of the embouchure's resistance that there is any force to its escaping air stream. In time you will be surprised at how much volume you can get from so little effort. As a beginner you are in for a world of discovery.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 03, 2019 9:15 pm 
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Un-mentioned, it takes a while... at least many months.

Some flutes are easier than others. Others might require more focus and practice. It isn't clear to me whether easier is better. I first had a Solen Lesouef that was fairly easy to play and has a generous tone. Now I have a Firth Pond which required a lot more effort and months of practice. However, I love the sound it produces.

Specific to your point: When the stars align, it takes very little effort to produce a loud, resonant tone. I feel that there is less windy-ness or excess air when the tone is most resonant and strongest. Producing a reedy tone seems to have a bit more spillover of wind.


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