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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2001 9:08 pm 
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Location: Wyoming
Well, I recognize some of you from the whistle board, but this is my first time posting on the flute forum.

Here's my question. I've got a bamboo G flute (I think the maker was "Spirit song" or something like that, out in Portland, Oregon). I've had it for several years, and I can play it alright...It's beautiful in the lower register, but in the upper octave I've lately noticed a rather unpleasant breathiness in the tone. It's always been a bit tricky in the high octave, but I didn't notice the bad sound until I started recording with it.

Now, does this sound like a flaw in the flute itself, or is there something I can do with my embouchure to fix it?

Any info would be appreciated. Thanks
Tom


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 10:39 am 
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In my best Charleton Hestonesque melodramatic voice:

Plehehehehease, Somebody Help Me!!!!!

:smile:

Tom


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 10:45 am 
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Location: Colorado Springs, CO
Hi Tom,

Just a couple of thoughts of the top...

1. Flutes can get dirty just like whistles. Check the embouchure hole to make sure that there isn't any debris.

2. A G needs a very focused stream of air, particularly in the upper octave. This is probably where your problem lies so you may want to work on narrowing the stream. This will most likely require a tighter feel in your lips.

3. I don't know how much you play the flute, but like any muscle, our lips can get out of tone without practice. This very often results in a problematic upper octave (even when blowing a larger flute).

There's some thoughts :smile: I hope that one helps.

Erik


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 12:31 pm 
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The breathiness of tone could be caused by the flute, the way you are blowing it, or a combination of both. The causes within the instrument itself are related to air moving across a rough surface or a sharp edge. If the problem developed over time, I would suspect some roughness inside the bore. This can happen because the grain becomes raised by the exposure to moisture. If the tone has always been breathy, roughness in the bore may still be a cause, as well as sharp edges where the holes meet the inside or outside.

So here is a suggested approach. First try to identify how much of the breathiness is due to the flute. Playing other flutes, and having others play yours will help with this. If you want to work on the flute, start with smoothing out the bore. You can due a reasonable job with 400-grit sandpaper wrapped around a dowel, but sand very lightly as you don't want to change the bore diameter. When you are done, oil the bore, then sand it again with 600 grit.

To round the edges where the holes meet the bore and the outside, you can use a dremel tool with a small mandrel which lets you attach a small disk of sandpaper. You can sand the inside and outside edges according to which way up you have the sandpaper disk. Cut the disk slightly larger than the hole, and use 400 grit.

Be very careful working on the embouchure. You can sand the edge where the embouchure meets the bore with the dremel/mandrel arrangement. For the outside of the embouchure, slightly round the upstream and downstream edges by hand with a rolled-up tube of 600-grit paper, and also use this on the edge under your lip. You may also want to very lightly touch up the blowing edge, but use only one or two strokes with the sandpaper, moving along rather than across the edge.

Let us know how it works!

Dave Copley


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 1:01 pm 
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Tom,

I can't speak to any possible issues with the flute, since I'm not a flutemaker. Fortunately we have Dave Copley here to help us with those issues :smile:

I do think the problem could well be embouchure related, especially since I've found the higher pitched flutes harder to play. FWIW, any time I've had a problem with too much wind noise, it was because my embouchure wasn't focused enough. Specifically what seems to cause the wind noise for me is blowing an airstream that is too round (vertically). By concentrating on (slightly) widening and flattening my embouchure (and the resulting airstream) I virtually always get a MUCH stronger tone with little wind noise.

Keep in mind though, when I say "Flattening my embouchure and the resulting airstream" I don't mean you should blow more horizontally across the embouchure hole. Instead try to continure blowing more down over the far side of the embouchure hole while you try to make the airstream flatter and wider.

By the way, you do have your bottom lip covering 1/3 to 1/2 of the embouchure hole don't you? I've found a number of people who have trouble getting a good tone aren't forward on the embouchure hole enough.

Err, well....I hope that all made sense.

Good luck and please let us know when you determine what the issue is.

Cheers,

Loren


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 03, 2001 9:24 pm 
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I was watching this James Galway documentary just yesterday and he also mentioned something about covering the embouchure hole more for highier pitches. I tried it on my Boehm and it helped quite a bit.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Eldarion on 2001-12-03 22:26 ]</font>


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 04, 2001 1:35 am 
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Eldarion - Also,

Covering the embouchure on higher pitches helps to flatten them out. There is a natural tendancy for the second octave to go sharp so rolling the flute in helps to offset this propensity.

Erik


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