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 Post subject: Lips....
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 12:39 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
I was taken by an image of a lady in one of our newspapers - it struck me that all she needed was a flute and she could be playing beautiful music. It wasn't this image, but it will do:

Image

That then prompted me to wonder about the range of shapes our mouths naturally make, and therefore the range of difficulties we might encounter playing flute. That then prompted me to Google images of "lips". Try it, it's quite illuminating. And horrifying at times...

Now, do I remember correctly that one of our 19th century writers opined that a problem facing lady flute players is that the flute always loses out to kissing? But does give an opportunity to display an attractive forearm....


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 Post subject: Re: Lips....
PostPosted: Fri Sep 13, 2019 9:14 am 
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Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2003 12:27 pm
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Location: Kingston WA
In the US we have a saying here that usually refers to politicians lying: Read My Lips

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 Post subject: Re: Lips....
PostPosted: Sat Sep 14, 2019 10:37 pm 
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Joined: Sat Aug 04, 2012 7:12 pm
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Location: Pacific Northwest USA
It's an interesting subject, because I have what some web sites say is a problematic lip shape for flute. It's a very mild form of "teardrop upper lip" with a slight convex curve in the center instead of the concave curve in Terry's image. Something like this, but not actually this extreme: https://www.musikalessons.com/blog/wp-c ... g-into.jpg

Here's a page about it: "Flute Embouchure And A Teardrop Top Lip" with the advice to angle the embouchure hole so you're using your lips a bit off-center to compensate: https://banddirector.com/woodwinds/flut ... p-top-lip/

You can see in the first image link above, that the player might be doing that. Personally, I've managed to get a decent volume and tone from a few years of practice without thinking about it too much. I think if you just use your ears and small adjustments of flute hold and embouchure development to find the sweet spot for tone and volume, you'll just arrive at the best position whatever your lip shape is.


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 Post subject: Re: Lips....
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 2:21 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
Indeed, Conical, that was one of the issues I was thinking about. I've come across players with a moderately pronounced tear-drop lip. One, about two years back had a Mike Grinter flute which she was really struggling with and asked me to check it out. Nothing wrong with the flute, it just really didn't suit her. She ended up with one of my flutes with a "rounded rectangle" embouchure (having tried all three types, this clearly gave the best results, as judged by both of us). Perhaps the longer straighter edge is more forgiving for her irregular airstream?

I sometimes quip to customers "One day we'll be able to take a few simple measurements of your mouth and let you know which embouchure would suit you best. Just not today....."


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 Post subject: Re: Lips....
PostPosted: Sun Sep 15, 2019 3:25 pm 
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Joined: Thu Nov 09, 2006 12:44 pm
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Location: Washington State
This reminds me of the classic Lauren Bacall line:

https://youtu.be/hrUsfyVmeKg


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 Post subject: Re: Lips....
PostPosted: Tue Sep 17, 2019 7:02 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
You know what would be interesting. We make a list of the people who we think are the best flute players we know. We might even attempt to put them into categories. Darkest tone, strongest tone, sweetest tone, whatever. Then we write to them all, asking them for a selfie of their lips, perhaps attempting to emulate an embouchure. Then we pull it all together, and see if we learn anything.

Perhaps then, in Phase II, we ask them what flutes they really like, and what flutes they can remember trying but didn't find helpful. And why, if they remember. And then we attempt to pull all that together....

Anyone looking for a PhD topic?


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