Chiff and Fipple Forums

Getting that booming sound.
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Author:  JeffS [ Sat Feb 09, 2002 11:22 pm ]
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A few months back I attended a flute workshop by Conal O'Grada. He started by having everyone in the room play a tune. So all 15 or so of us, at all different levels, played a tune. At the end of each one, Conal said "lovely" or "grand" (even after my whispy-sounding jig). Then, he said "I guess I'll play something." The first thing I noticed about Conal's playing was that it was AT LEAST 3 or 4 times l-o-u-d-e-r than everyone else in the room (and there were some good players there)! Unbelievably loud. To my disappointment, Conal assured us that he didn't have some magic flute; it was his playing.

I've decided to spend some time working to get a larger sound. Of course I could (and do) spend time working out rythem and ornamentation, but it's that booming sound that I'm presently focused on.

Yes, finally a question: does anyone have a suggestion for specific ways to build a large sound. Clearly, this is an emboucher thing, but when does when know that one has fully filled the instrument? After feeling like the flute is being filled, how does one take it to the next level of power? Are there excersizes for such a thing? All I do now is simply concentrate on it when going through tunes, but I'm wondering if there might be something else.

Author:  Dave Parkhurst [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 2:55 am ]
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for a beginner like me, a Fender amp works wonders.... heh heh heh

Author:  eubiedubie [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 5:41 am ]
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Stand facing a corner and play then take a step backwards till the sound deminishes.Start
working on your projection at that point and as it improves
take another step back.

Author:  MarkB [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 9:13 am ]
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Eubiedubie are you talking about the corner in your bathroom, with the gaping hole were a window should be? Or have you put a window in that room yet?

I heard that it was a large picture window right in front of the carsie HE HEEEE!


Author:  Lady Whistler [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 7:02 pm ]
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Diaphram, Diaphram, Diaphram!


Author:  Chauncey [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 7:23 pm ]
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Go to and read his tips. He is a flute builder and an excellent player. Follow his advice and you will be well served.


Author:  gcollins [ Sun Feb 10, 2002 7:46 pm ]
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Quitting smoking also helps a great deal to wind capacity. I know, I've done dozens of times.

Author:  Dave Parkhurst [ Mon Feb 11, 2002 2:05 am ]
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One thing that I've noticed in my toodlings on my Copley, the narrower you can get that air stream, the more piercing and pure the sound....

Author:  eubiedubie [ Mon Feb 11, 2002 4:58 am ]
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Never tell a Canuck anything or soon the whole world will know.New flute should be here monday or tuesday.Do you think I'll ever
be able to get four flutes passed Margaret again?

Author:  brownja [ Mon Feb 11, 2002 6:41 am ]
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(Disclaimer-I'm a real beginner at this.)
One exercise that i do is to play each first octave note and slowly increase the air pressure/volume until it starts to break into the second octave. Then play the same note in the second octave and gradually reduce volume until it drops into the first. Soon, you'll be able to play the first octave almost as loud as the second, except maybe the d.

Author:  e [ Tue Feb 12, 2002 6:12 pm ]
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Author:  e [ Tue Feb 12, 2002 6:31 pm ]
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I don't know what happened a second ago.
Anyway, I've found a few things helpfull.
The first is that the really great players I've been around tend to blow more into the emboucher hole rather than across it. You'll notice, for example, that many of their headjoints are tilted from 10 to almost 45 degrees toward their mouths, relative to the rest of the finger holes on the flute, which facilitates this. By blowing more directly into the hole, you also get more of an "edge" to your sound. There is also a benefit that playing this way tends to flatten the tone; to compensate for this, you have to sharpen the flute by pushing the tuning slide further in. Most good flutes that i've played sound infinitely better the further you push the tuning slide in (to a point).
Somebody else mentioned diaphragm, which is absolutely correct. All your air and sound should come from your stomach; if you watch yourself breath, your stomach should stick out when you take a breath. A lot of times after I warm up, I feel like my throat is actually "opening up" when I play.
One good excersize for building emboucher and concentrating on tone is to hold a note as long as you can; start as soft as you can play, and then build up the sound until you can't anymore.

Author:  Daniel_Bingamon [ Wed Mar 13, 2002 9:06 pm ]
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Find what adjustment your in embouchure with each note will give the proper resonance. Higher notes different octaves, etc - require your 3-d windsheet to change. When you get maximum resonance, you can feel the notes in your mouth and down the throat - it kind of tickles.

Author:  nickb [ Wed Mar 13, 2002 10:53 pm ]
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The other side of it is maintaining the booming sound. Once you've got it, it is absolutely vital to keep the flute still while playing. Any movement of the mouthpiece from its optimal position will seriously affect the sound.

Author:  JohnPalmer [ Thu Mar 14, 2002 2:30 am ]
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I guess I am to new to this board, but have been with the original one for years. Anyway, I had a flute teacher in college who kept telling me to squeeze this imaginary BB that's between my lips, right where the aperture is. The thing about power is being able to squeeze the aperture so that you don't use up all your air, and to aim the air at the precise point where you get the best sound. I'll bet that if you don't have the power, then you also can't play your lowest notes very well, if at all. Those notes tend to be flat, so you have to lip them up, and that is where a good tuner comes in handy. Play long tones. Try playing your best note for as long as you can play it. Start out softly and gradually crescendo to your loudest and then decrescendo back down. Make sure you don't get loud too fast. Use a tuner; you will notice that the note starts out flat, then it goes sharp as you get louder, then it goes flat again as you get softer. Stay in tune. It is very important. Try these long tones on every note you can play, everyday. There are other exercises which can help. One is to practice double tonguing, but to only play each note with the 'ka' attack. Do some scales up and down, attacking each note with the back of your tongue. Do this everyday. Eventually you want to be able to double tongue easily, especially your lowest notes. But before you can do that, you must be able to single tongue them. After all this work on your low notes, and playing them in tune, go to your high notes and use the tuner to see how well they are in tune. You'll probably find that they will be way sharp. Now you'll get to work on bringing those notes down. Try octave jumps, slurring them, to see if both notes are in tune. Start on your lowest note and then slur up to the octave, and then slur back down. Check the tuning of each note. Work on speed with these octave jumps. Try two octave jumps, skipping the middle octave. All these have to be in tune. Correct tuning will really help you get the power you want.

I'm sorry if I wrote too much. There is so much work involved in playing like this guy you mentioned. I'll bet he practiced for many hours on a daily basis, and that is the key. Practice!


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