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flute dampening out
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Author:  busterbill [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 1:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

We will let the hive mind correct me, but in 35 years I have never lubricated a tuning slide on a flute I own.

I did use the wax from a toilet bowl ring (an old school sticky wax combo that adds bulk while maintaining slip and is easy to clean off) to help seal an inadequately sealing slide in a inexpensive flute I was trying to revive for a friend. But that was a temporary stop gap to address a leak on a poor flute that was about to become kindling.



Bottom line, the tuning slide should fit well dry.

Author:  Nanohedron [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

busterbill wrote:
We will let the hive mind correct me, but in 35 years I have never lubricated a tuning slide on a flute I own.

I did use the wax from a toilet bowl ring (an old school sticky wax combo that adds bulk while maintaining slip and is easy to clean off) to help seal an inadequately sealing slide in a inexpensive flute I was trying to revive for a friend. But that was a temporary stop gap to address a leak on a poor flute that was about to become kindling.



Bottom line, the tuning slide should fit well dry.

Some tuning slides are meant to be lubricated, but that's because of looser tolerances between the contact surfaces, and those flutes tend to be of poorer quality. I've seen this kind of tuning slide on a couple of Pakistani flutes, for example; there was some sort of oil and graphite mixture, looked like. Personally, I found it rather off-putting and too dirty and industrial for a proper musical instrument.

Author:  mendipman [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Blaming your flute is a bit like explaining to the traffic cop who is writing you a ticket that your ‘car did it’.

More likely is a small and imperceptible shift in flute position weakening not your embouchure but the delivery and efficiency of your airflow. Be aware of and monitor your grip and contact points. Balance and ease.

There’s no need for tension in our embouchure. Where there’s no tension there’s no cause for muscle ‘tiredness’.

However, awareness and concentration can wander causing inconsistent tone. A particular issue when new to flute as we have so many aspects to consciously think about.

Author:  Sedi [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Very true. In my very first boehm-flute teaching book, which I still have, they said that the lips should be so relaxed while playing that they are basically kept open by the air-stream itself. Unfortunately that was not what my teacher taught me. Should have kept to the instructions in the book.

Author:  Nanohedron [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:29 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Sedi wrote:
... the lips should be so relaxed while playing that they are basically kept open by the air-stream itself.

There! That's the description I was trying to find. Thanks, Sedi. :thumbsup:

Author:  Sedi [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 2:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Glad I could help :D . Unfortunately my teacher taught me the "thin-lipped-high-tension" embouchure that I try to get rid off at the moment. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. Old habits are hard to break.

Author:  Nanohedron [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 4:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Sedi wrote:
Glad I could help :D . Unfortunately my teacher taught me the "thin-lipped-high-tension" embouchure that I try to get rid off at the moment. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. Old habits are hard to break.

Well, you're lucky in that at least you have a concrete idea as to how to go about it; I stumbled across it by accident, basically. I mean, I vaguely knew the concept was out there, and based on technique I observed in the players I wanted to emulate, and on opinions that recommended the relaxed embouchure and its effortlessness, it made sense to me as a higher approach and therefore as a goal, but I had no real idea what it meant in practice or how to get there. So in the meantime force and struggle was the way, until the time ripened for me to just let it all go, like snow slipping off a leaf.

As is probably evident by now, I never really had a teacher. Perhaps it was not knowing how to have a relaxed embouchure that made the transformation so complete for me, because once manifested, it was firmly in place. The difference was so stark that, as I mentioned, there was no going back. But I think it's better to have signposts, as you do, because having them would probably have saved me some time.

What hasn't been mentioned is how little air pressure it takes to separate the lips, and this is key. Once the relaxed embouchure is down, it takes hardly any more air pressure than that to get a big sound, if that's what you want. It goes a long way in eliminating hiss, too, because you no longer blow; you breathe.

Author:  cavefish [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Sedi wrote:
Very true. In my very first boehm-flute teaching book, which I still have, they said that the lips should be so relaxed while playing that they are basically kept open by the air-stream itself. Unfortunately that was not what my teacher taught me. Should have kept to the instructions in the book.


well well, think this is a key thought for sure, i read these last few posts, went to the flute and i was "muscle'n " my lip ,,so i tried to just use more from the lungs and mouth with a relaxed lip, there is a difference , its not a trumpet, but it needs getting used to it, like Nano stated " till its just natural" its a good thing i am starting the flute with minimal bad habits

Author:  gwuilleann [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

cavefish wrote:
like Nano stated " till its just natural" its a good thing i am starting the flute with minimal bad habits


My first teacher once told me: "the flute is a very counter-intuitive instrument to play". I found that to be very true! :swear:

Author:  cavefish [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Nanohedron wrote:
Sedi wrote:
Glad I could help :D . Unfortunately my teacher taught me the "thin-lipped-high-tension" embouchure that I try to get rid off at the moment. Sometimes I succeed, sometimes I don't. Old habits are hard to break.

Well, you're lucky in that at least you have a concrete idea as to how to go about it; I stumbled across it by accident, basically. I mean, I vaguely knew the concept was out there, and based on technique I observed in the players I wanted to emulate, and on opinions that recommended the relaxed embouchure and its effortlessness, it made sense to me as a higher approach and therefore as a goal, but I had no real idea what it meant in practice or how to get there. So in the meantime force and struggle was the way, until the time ripened for me to just let it all go, like snow slipping off a leaf.

As is probably evident by now, I never really had a teacher. Perhaps it was not knowing how to have a relaxed embouchure that made the transformation so complete for me, because once manifested, it was firmly in place. The difference was so stark that, as I mentioned, there was no going back. But I think it's better to have signposts, as you do, because having them would probably have saved me some time.

What hasn't been mentioned is how little air pressure it takes to separate the lips, and this is key. Once the relaxed embouchure is down, it takes hardly any more air pressure than that to get a big sound, if that's what you want. It goes a long way in eliminating hiss, too, because you no longer blow; you breathe.
maybe you been playing so long at one point or another you just fatigued your lips and thats how it end up ,a body reflex action lol :thumbsup: your lips just did not like the feeling ,"waalaa" it happened-- i have no teacher ---i play by ear, years ago when i was playing the whistle alot i would go to the ABC formates, if i needed a tune, or listen to someone else play it -- it was great there was a program where you could write in the "ornamentation" and hear it back ,exactly how you wanted it to be , standard tunes and you "build it" , i think it was called Bar Fly you guys should remember this , now theres a "Tunebook" ABC , but its not as good as Bar Fly

Author:  busterbill [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Nanohedron wrote:
Sedi wrote:
... the lips should be so relaxed while playing that they are basically kept open by the air-stream itself.

There! That's the description I was trying to find. Thanks, Sedi. :thumbsup:


That is partially true, but you need some tension or you won't have an airstream. The balance is the relaxation vs. tension sweet spot. It is a difficult concept to explain in words.

Author:  Nanohedron [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 6:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

cavefish wrote:
maybe you been playing so long at one point or another you just fatigued your lips and thats how it end up ,a body reflex action lol :thumbsup: your lips just did not like the feeling ,"waalaa" it happened--

Nah, I was Iron Man. At that point I could play for hours with no embouchure fatigue; usually my hands gave out first, if anything did. What fatigued was my attitude. I was practicing one day when a "screw this effort crap" thing came over me, my face settled into the new relaxed embouchure, and no one could have been more surprised than I was at the result. And it was easy to replicate without fail. It was abundantly clear that this was the brass ring I'd been after for all those years, and it was from that point on that I considered myself a real beginner.

busterbill wrote:
Nanohedron wrote:
Sedi wrote:
... the lips should be so relaxed while playing that they are basically kept open by the air-stream itself.

There! That's the description I was trying to find. Thanks, Sedi. :thumbsup:

That is partially true, but you need some tension or you won't have an airstream. The balance is the relaxation vs. tension sweet spot. It is a difficult concept to explain in words.

While you're technically correct, I must emphasize that it doesn't feel like tension at all. What's going on is delicate microcontrol, and it's not so much work as it is simple positioning. I think it's better not to use the word "tension", because when people hear that, they usually overdo it.

Author:  Andro [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 7:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Well this is an interesting topic. The moisture in flutes is condensation from the velocity of the air, not saliva. It is often observed, certainly with Boehm flute, that starters seem to play quite wet, and this improves with practice over time. Given that this is about condensation I have no rational explanation for this. Certainly that's what happened with me. It may also be atmospherically related to dew point and temperature and so on. As with many wonderful things about flutes, it's 50% mystery and 50% science.

Author:  Conical bore [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

My $.02... When you're just starting out, or even a few years down the road from there, it's important to understand the difference between your flute sounding "muffled" or "veiled" due to condensation built up inside the bore, and a muffled or veiled sound because your embouchure muscles are getting tired. They can both happen around the same time during a practice session, when you're still relatively new to the flute.

I always get my best "hard" and Irish clear tone from the flute when I first pick it up every day and play for the first half hour or so. Sometimes that lasts for hours on a good day. Other days it goes away until I blow out the flute (moisture build up) or take a rest (embouchure muscles). I suspect it's mainly a question of embouchure development, because at least that's something I can keep working on!

Author:  cavefish [ Wed Mar 11, 2020 8:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: flute dampening out

Conical bore wrote:
My $.02... When you're just starting out, or even a few years down the road from there, it's important to understand the difference between your flute sounding "muffled" or "veiled" due to condensation built up inside the bore, and a muffled or veiled sound because your embouchure muscles are getting tired. They can both happen around the same time during a practice session, when you're still relatively new to the flute.

I always get my best "hard" and Irish clear tone from the flute when I first pick it up every day and play for the first half hour or so. Sometimes that lasts for hours on a good day. Other days it goes away until I blow out the flute (moisture build up) or take a rest (embouchure muscles). I suspect it's mainly a question of embouchure development, because at least that's something I can keep working on!

well how does one tell

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