Larry Krantz Flute Pages: FLUTE FAQ Index
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Revision Date - October 11, 2015

This FAQ list was originally created by David Dahl with content provided by subscribers to the FLUTE list.

The topics below contain various proportions of facts and opinions, and probably even unintentional errors and misconceptions. Keep in mind that errors may look much the same as facts, and that while some opinions may be based on solid evidence and reasoning, other opinions are not quite so well-founded. This is all to say that the information below does not represent the last word on the respective topics.

Click on the question to go directly to the FAQ Entry.

1. Why are adjustment screws absent from most "high-end" instruments?

2. What is the Alexander Technique

3. What are alternate fingerings?

4. How can I improve my articulation?

5. What is a bass flute?

6. What are Bo-Pep's?

7. Other ways of improving comfort:

8. Flute Books & Publications

9. Tips on breathing

10. Developing tone

11. What is a donut?

12. Embouchure

13. Glossary

14. What is a Fake book?

15. Flutist or flautist?

16. What is the difference btween a student flute and a professional flute?

17. What sizes of flutes are available?

18. Who are the Haynes brothers?

19. How to choose a flute

20. Insurance

21. Who are some good Jazz flutists?

22. What material makes the best flute?

23. How can I learn to memorize?

24. How do I reach the National Flute Association (NFA)?

25. Which is better, Offset or In-Line G?

26. Old flutes.

27. What kind of flute option is best, open or closed hole?

28. How can I find listserv lists for other instruments?

29. Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright.

30. How does 19th C. Performance Practice differ from that of today?

31. How has the pitch standard evolved?

32. Practice Tips.

33. The Rush.

34. What are scales?

35. Sightreading tips.

36. What computer software is available for musicians?

37. What are Straubinger pads?

38. How can I find a flute teacher?

39. Teaching tips.

40. Tonguing/Articulation Tips.

41. How should trills be executed?

42. What does the C# trill key do?

43. Is it a good idea to practice with a tuner?

44. Vibrato tips.

45. What are Whistle Tones?

46. Will braces affect my playing?

47. What do you do on bad playing days?

48. How do you adjust the screw thing on the headjoint?

49. How can I improve my high notes?

50. Do masterclasses have any real value?

51. Are performance exams fair and of any value?

52. How high should the music stand be when playing?

53. Are there national schools of tone quality?

54. Should one practice standing up or sitting?

55. When is it legal to copy music in the Public Domain?

56. What is the Split-E option?

57. Teaching Scales.

58. What advantage does the B flat lever have over the F natural key?

59. What are the pros and cons of a winged headjoint?

60. Lessons without a flute.

61. How can I learn to play jazz on the flute?

62. What to do for a slippery flute.

63. What material is best for piccolo, plastic, wood, or silver?

64. What can I do when my lips tremble?

65. Teaching musicality.

66. Urtext vs. Scholarly Editions.

67. What does "Open G#" mean?

68. Which controls dynamics, air speed or amount?

69. Breathing Bag Tips.

70. Publicity Tips: Getting the word out.

71. Sources of information on 19th century performance practices.

72. Suggestions for getting students.

73. What are Long Tones?

74. What is the best music lyre to use while marching?

75. Teaching rhythm with words.

76. Can a teacher be too good to teach beginners?

77. Prescription for tightness and pain in the jaw.

78. Should flutists exercise?

79. The importance of teaching rhythm.

80. What is Bansuri flute?

81. How is "drawn" or "extruded" tubing made? Is it as good as seamed tubing?

82. Should I learn circular breathing?

83. What exactly are the criteria for a piece being "French conservatory"?

84. How to choose a piccolo.

85. Are there differences among makes of flute pads?

86. How much should the headjoint be turned, in or out?

87. Where can I find Flute clip art?

88. Can anyone recommend some pieces that are good for college auditions?

89. What is a good source of orchestral excerpts?

90. Where to go for help with injuries affecting flute playing.

91. What is the best method for fixing sticky pads, dollar bills?

92. Is Vaseline okay for lubricating the flute tenons?

93. Suggestions for teaching double-tonguing.

94. Where do I find information about flute competitions?

95. Suggestions about Intonation

96. Should I go to college or aim for a military band career?

97. What is the best way to put a flute together?

98. How to see the Dayton Miller Collection in Washington D.C.

99. How to prepare for a Flute Convention

100. How can one remember interval tuning adjutments?

101. Where Can I find information about making flute CD's?

102. Suggested Treatment for Chapped Lips?

103. What about a microphone for amplification of the flute?

104. Does a Crown and Stopper make a difference?

105. What digital recorders are good for recording flutes?

1. Why are adjustment screws absent from most "high-end" instruments?
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(From David Shorey)

The modern flute mechanism was designed by Louis Lot and V. H. Godfroy in the months after Boehm sold them patent rights to the cylindrical bore. The completed "Lotfroy" mechanism did not use any adjusting screws. In 1854 or so Theobald Boehm adopted the Lotfroy mechanism, adding adjusting screws to the French shoulder clutches. For years the German flutes used adjusting screws, and when the Haynes brothers started making flutes in Boston they naturally copied this design, since their intent was to make an American version of the German Boehm and Mendler flutes, thanks to a preponderance of German flutists in American orchestras.

Great flutemakers such as George Haynes experimented with screws in various places, including as replacements of the pins used to hold the mechanism together properly.

In the late 1870's and early 1880's the Louis Lot shop in Paris, under the proprietorship of H. Villette, redesigned the French mechanism to include adjustment screws. Villette modified the Lotfroy mechanism with several enduring designs, including the pinless footjoint still in use today, and the little clutch we call the "hanging T" which replaces the shoulder clutches on the right hand. The Lot company kept these two items, yet abandoned the adjustment screws fairly quickly.

After world war 1, when the Germans (who lost the war) were excluded from the American orchestras in favor of the French (with whom we had fought), the Louis Lot design and tone became the goal of American players and makers. Powell and Haynes, as well as Selmer and all the other flutemakers, worked through the 1920's to design the perfect flute for the vast new American market. They adapted the Louis Lot instrument, with no adjustment screws, as their professional model, and kept the old German design, with plateau keys and adjusting screws, for their commercial flutes.

In short, there is no specific historical correlation between adjusting screws and quality of a flute until the "professional" and "commercial" distinction in the 1930's, which by pure luck favored the French.

Exquisite professional instruments have been made by the world's greatest flutemakers with and without adjusting screws.

So as a guide, professional flutes made before 1930 could have adjusting screws or not; after that date the vast commercial market used a model with adjusting screws, giving these little screws the bad reputation they suffer from to this day!

2. What is the Alexander Technique?
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(From Ann Irwin)

The Alexander Technique is a method of learning body awareness which allows you to avoid unnecessary stress, tension and movement that could ultimately lead to injury or apparent health problems.

History: The Alexander Technique was developed in the late 19th century by F. Mattias Alexander, an Australian actor who specialized in recitations. He began to develop vocal problems during his performances. In order to discover the cause, he worked in front of mirrors where he discovered he was making counter-productive motions with his head & neck. Over time, he worked to become conscious of what he was doing happened and thus eliminate the vocal failures.

The Technique: The principle behind the Alexander Technique is to learn awareness of one's body & movement, thereby learning to avoid misuse (counter-productive movement or excess/misplaced tension in the body). It is increasingly being practiced by musicians, dancers, actors, and athletes to improve performance and prevent/treat injuries. While there are reference books & videos available, it really needs to be taught by a qualified teacher who can assess the needs of the individual student. Besides being of value in dealing with injuries, flute players can also benefit from improved technique (finger dexterity, to Further reference:

North American Society of Teachers of the Alexander Technique(NASTAT): P.O. Box 517, Urbana Illinois 61801; or call 800/473-0620 or 217/367-6956.

"The Alexander Technique" by Wilfred Barlow. Publ. Delilah Books (N.B. Some editions of this book are entitled "The Alexander Principle".)

Use of the Self (London, Gollancz, 1985)

Body Learning by Michael Gelb (New York, Henry Holt and Co., 1995)

INDIRECT PROCEDURES by Pedro de Alcantara
(Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-816569-2) Highly Recommended.

Useful Web Sites:
Alexander Technique International
The Alexander Technique

(From John Lunn)
There is an article on the Alexander technique geared specifically for flutists at --

It is compiled by Boston-based Alexander instructor Marie Stroud from articles and lectures of Alexander Murray. It also has phone numbers for referrals to teachers and information.

(From Robert Rickover)
The Complete Guide To The Alexander Technique

3. What are alternate fingerings?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Alternate fingerings are those fingering choices that go beyond the standard simple fingerings that are the first learned by beginning players. They are most useful for executing whole and half step trills, tremolos, quarter-tones, quarter-tone trills, and multiphonics (more than one pitch happening at the same time). A good resource for fingerings is 'A Modern Guide To Fingerings For The Flute' by James J. Pellerite published by Zalo Publications, P.O. Box 669, Bloomington, Indiana, 47402, USA.

(from David Dahl)
Alternate fingerings may be employed in order to more easily render technical passages that might otherwise be awkward or impossible to play. While the tone quality or intonation of alternate fingerings may sometimes be less than the primary fingerings, the speed at which the passage is played makes the difference moot. The improvement in execution (smoothness) will often make up for any loss in tone quality and intonation. Walfrid Kujala's exercise book "Vade Mecum" includes exercises incorporating alternate fingerings.

4. How can I improve my articulation?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Many years ago when I asked this very question of Geoffrey Gilbert, he responded with the statement that if I wish to improve my articulation I must first improve my tone. The most fundamental requirement for clear articulation is to have a well controlled and even flow of air upon which the tongue may operate. Once a clean controlled and harmonically rich tone is produced then the tongue can be added with minimum distortion to the tone. There are many schools of thought regarding where to best place the tongue in the mouth but the best advice I ever heard was from James Galway, who said that one should learn a multitude of different tongue strokes and then use them in appropriate places according to the demands of the piece. I would recommend reading two extremely interesting and informative articles by Mike MacMahon called 'Tongues, Gums, Teeth, and that letter T' and 'Flutter Tonguing'. These can be found on my web site at http:\\ One very good study book titled 'Articulations' by Louis Moyse contains 110 articulations by 4 or 8 based on the Paganini's 'Perpetuo Mobile', 54 articulations by 3 or 6 based on a Hiller Study (originally for piano), and 60 articulations by 6 based on the Boehm's Study, No.6, in G minor (with additions and modifications). This book is self published by Louis Moyse. I don't know if it is commercially available.

Nothing can replace the careful guidance of a good teacher when attempting to improve any skill. In my opinion, clean and clear articulation is an extremely important ingredient in flute playing that should be guided by a qualified and experienced teacher.

5. What is a bass flute?
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(From Grant D. Green’s homepage at

Bass flutes are available from a number of makers, including Gemeinhardt and Emerson. The modern bass flute in C (not to be confused with the Renaissance or Baroque-era bass flute pitched in G - the counterpart of the modern alto flute) is usually made with a "J"-shaped head joint, which brings the embouchure hole within reach.

The contrabass (with the "T"-shaped head joint) is actually a Pinschophone (named after the flautist who designed and/or commissioned its construction): it is actually a bass flute with an extension down to low G, but is also sometimes called a contrabass flute. The octobass is truly a contrabass, pitched an octave below the ba There is a CD of both, played by the French flautist Pierre-Yves Artaud: "Contemporary Flute Music" by Pierre-Yves Artaud, Neuma 450-77 (CD). The octobass is used for John Cage's Ryonaji, including a prerecorded octobass flute tape part. The CD is good stuff, but very modern (i.e., don't expect a lot of hummable melodies!).

The Japanese flute maker Kotato & Fukushima also makes deep flutes in a variety of sizes: soprano flute in F, concert flute in C, a bass flute in C, bass flute in F (between the C bass and C contrabass), a contrabass flute in C, and a double contrabass in CC (two octaves below the bass flute). The Piacere Flute Ensemble features all the Kotato flutes in a 16-piece ensemble, and is available on CD (Tokyo Sound City Club, TSC-CD-0029, 1995). The tracks include Toccata and Fugue in D Minor by J.S. Bach, Pictures at an Exhibition by M. Mussorgsky, and others.

6. What are Bo-Pep's?
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Bo-Pep photo: John Rayworth
(From Fran Kesselman)

This bo-pep, or finger rest, eliminates cramping of the left-index finger, eliminates twisting of the left wrist, and lessens the need for left hand pressure and improves technique, (as quoted on the box!). Any music store should have it. My daughter uses it whenever she feels she needs it and it makes a big difference. It is black and made of plastic and slips on the flute.

(From David Blumberg)
There are 2 different sizes of the Bo-pep. Small to Medium hand, and Large. I find that most of my students use Small-Medium size. The Large is quite big. I am referring to the "Finger Saddle" Bo-Pep for the left hand. There is also a Thumb rest for the Right Thumb. No such thing as a finger rest in Bo-Pep.(either get a finger saddle, or thumb rest).

7. Other ways of improving comfort.
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(From Pauline Mancuso)

Since we all *fidget* with several things before we find a perfect fit, I like the idea of Velcro - so I have the *soft* patches stuck to my flute in the two places in question, and can move the add-ons at will. These pads are made of sections of foam water-pipe insulation. They have sufficient friction to not slip, and do a fine job of very comfortably increasing the diameter of the instrument. This gets the LH knuckle out of hyperextension, thus relieving the severe bend in the wrist, and opens the RH, relieving strain over the back of the fingers, and to some degree also in the wrist. These pop off so that my flute fits in the case, yet once wiggled on, they stay put, and GREATLY increase the comfort of my playing. The flute is stable (I also use and teach many fingerings that increase physical and acoustical stability), and these pads can be moved as I experiment - although I now feel that I have the best position for me - today, anyway...

8. Flute Books & Publications.
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The following books and publications are mentioned frequently on FLUTE. A more complete list is available on Larry Krantz's web page at HTTP://

  • The Trevor Wye Very First Flute Book
    Everything you need to know about the flute and how to play it!
    Trevor Wye (Novello, 1995)
    Both informative and entertaining - perfectly suited for young students and old alike.

  • The Flute Book
    Nancy Toff (Oxford Press, 1996)
    An important and informative book in a new edition. A must for all flutists.

  • The Flute and Flute Playing
    Theobald Boehm (Dover Press, 1964)

  • The Gilbert Legacy
    Methods, Exercises & Techniques
    Angeleita S. Floyd (Winzer Press, 1990)

  • A Modern Guide To Fingerings for the Flute
    James J. Pellerite (Zalo Publications, 1972)

  • A Handbook Of Literature For The Flute
    James J. Pellerite (Zalo Publications, 1978)

  • The Flute
    Philip Bate (W.W. Norton & Co.)

  • My Complete Story of the Flute
    Leonardo De Lorenzo (Texas Tech University Press)

  • Kincaidiana
    John Krell (Trio Associates 1973)

  • On Playing the Flute
    Johann Joachim Quantz (Faber & Faber)

  • The Flute
    Richard Rockstro (WW Norton & Co. 1975)

  • Flu^tes au pre'sent/Present Day Flutes
    Pierre-Yves Artaud
    Editions Musicales Transatlantiques, Paris, 1980
    Distributed in the U.S. by Theodore Presser
    in the U.K. by U.M.P.

  • Pan
    Ann Cherry, Secretary
    61 Queen's Drive
    London N4 2BG
    phone: 0181 802 5984
    fax: 0180 809 7436
    The Journal of the British Flute Society

  • The Flutist Quarterly
    Editor: Sandra Schwoebel
    2215 East Greenlee Road
    Tucson, AZ
    U.S.A. 85719
    phone/fax: (520) 321-4821
    The Official Magazine of the National Flute Association

  • Flute Talk
    The Instrumentalist Publishing Co.
    200 Northfield Road
    Northfield, Illinois, 60093
    phone: 847-446-8550

9. Tips on breathing.
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(From Edwin V. Lacy)

> I'd like to ask for a discussion about a specific aspect of the teaching of diaphragmatic breathing:

Here is something that you might hear in my studio if you could be present in a lesson in which I decide that it is time to introduce the student to the matter of diaphragmatic breathing. Most often, this will be with a younger student, or one who has been playing for a while but has never consciously tried to alter whatever type of breathing felt most natural to them. In the beginning stages, where we are just trying to make the student aware of deep breathing, I use this technique for students of every woodwind instrument. Later, it has to be varied for the specific instrument: flute is at one extreme of the scale and oboe is at the other.

I'll just tell you what I say, and you will be able to imagine what the student is doing. Note especially that this does not involve any physical contact between the student and the teacher.

"O.K., please put your flute (or saxophone or bassoon or whatever) down, and we are going to try a couple of things having to do with breathing. First, I would like you to exhale as completely as possible, then take a _VERY_ deep breath, taking in as much air as possible."

"Very good, but I'm sure you can take more air into your lungs than that. Try it again, pretending that you are going to blow up a balloon, and that you want to make it as large as possible in only one breath."

"Much better. Now, I would like you to do the same thing again, except that this time, I want you to take just as much air as possible, but take it in as quickly as possible, like gasping for air if you have been under water for too long." (At this point, many students begin to cough, or they complain of dizziness, as they have not been accustomed to having so much oxygen in their lungs. We may have to rest for a few seconds between steps of the process.) (For me, the student will often be seated for this exercise, or we might first do it standing, then do it again seated.)

"That's good. But, I want you to get still more air inside yourself. Pretend that you could create a vacuum in the room by drawing in all the air." (At this point, the student probably will be exchanging quite a lot of air, but the breathing is likely to be shallow, with the shoulders moving up with inhalation, etc.)

"Great. Now, one more thing. Take that same full, quick breath, but this time, don't let your shoulders move." (Most often, the student is amazed to see that if the shoulders don't move, the breathing is much deeper - in effect, the diaphragm will be pulled down, causing the muscles of the lower abdomen to have to expand.)

"Now, place the palm of your hand right over your belt buckle, or where it would be if you were wearing a belt. Take in that same deep breath, but more slowly this time. Then, purse your lips, creating some resistance, and blow the air out in little short puffs. Do you notice your hand moving with each puff of air?"

"Notice also that the kind of breath we are taking is the type you might take if you were yawning, rather than what might happen if you were startled. In other words, it is a _relaxing_ breath, not a _panic_ breath."

Next, depending on the situation, I might explain about filling up deeply, then continuing to take in still more air, with the last air to be taken in filling up the higher part of the chest. Then, when using the air, that which is higher in the lungs will be used first. (Not actually the case, but a good psychological concept to help the student grasp the process.)

Now, a small caveat: With the flute student, and to a slightly for the bassoonist or saxophonist, the main emphasis needs to be on utilizing the maximum capacity for air. On the other hand, for the oboist, and to a somewhat lesser degree for the clarinetist, the emphasis has to be on the process of _exhalation_. Players of these instruments have to work against greater resistance, and will seldom have a problem with having a sufficient quantity of air. Rather, they will have to learn what to do with excess air.

For the oboist or clarinetist, as well as for trumpet and horn players, a good technique is to take in a full breath, including expanding the entire chest cavity, then keep the rib cage expanded while blowing the air out with force. This really helps them focus on what is happening with the muscles of the lower abdomen during exhalation. However, I most definitely would not do this with a flutist.

(From David Dahl)
Julie A. wrote:

> David brought up a good point that's always confused me: the idea of breathing with only the diaphragm. Former teachers have always told me that I should move only my diaphragm to breathe, that my shoulders shouldn't move at all. My comments have always been, *Yeah, but, I feel I'm taking a deeper breath when I move my shoulders just a bit, but not enough to be actually shrugging and restricting the air stream*.>

While I would not prefer to mention the diaphragm in a discussion of breathing, I would not suggest that it is a good idea to move your shoulders when you breathe. I am fighting the habit myself of raising my shoulders and tilting my head to the right, and this perpetuates tension and reduces my air and the quality of my sound. What is working best for me is to stand straight, my head erect or slightly tilted to the left, lift my rib cage while I draw a breath without either hunching forward or forcing my back to curve in, and keep my shoulders down.

An exercise that has helped me is to take a few breaths away from the flute while: moving a free hand up when I suck and down when I blow. Sometimes my teacher will raise a hand up and down while I play. The image of UP (sucking air in), and DOWN (blowing air out) seems to help me use my air more efficiently and with less tension.

It is useful to blow and suck with a plastic bag or a breathing bag (eg. respirator) to see how much air really is produced by both good and poor techniques. When I use a bag for a few breathing cycles, my sound improves.

In my experience, fixing breathing problems solves a lot of other problems.

10. Developing tone.
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(From Elam (Flute Guy)

I recommend the wonderful book by Trevor Wye, entitled "Tone". You can get a hold of it through Flute World or your local music store could probably order it for you. What this book seems to do is take a lot of the things in Moyse's Sonorite, and put it into a structured format. There are sections covering harmonics, tone colors, upper register work, lower register work, etc...

11. What is a donut?
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(From Martin Hoffman)

A Donut is a flat ring or crescent shaped insert which fills part of the duplicate G# tone hole (next one down from the G# lever) in a hope of improving the quality of E3. As with all Boehm 'improvements', some like it, some don't. It has a slight effect on the sound of A1 and A2.

12. Embouchure.
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(from Larry Krantz)

Embouchure refers to the formation of the lips and surrounding muscles in order to produce a tone on any wind instrument. Formation of the lips, jaw, chin, and throat is extremely important when forming a correct flute embouchure to guide air into the flute. Although there are as many approaches to flute embouchure as there are flute players, there are some basic principles that seem to work for most players. The air should be able to strike the inside of the lip plate with little or no obstruction. Tension or tightness in the lips should be at a minimum so as to allow for flexibility of the lips in order to control the angle of the air stream. The jaw should be allowed to fall back and slightly down (teeth apart) so as to allow the air stream to be aimed down into the head joint while the head remains up. The throat should remain open as much as possible to create a large cavity that will help the sound to resonate more. Development of a truly sophisticated and functional flute embouchure can take years and much attention should be devoted to this study through the use of long tone exercises. Some books that are dedicated to this development are:

  • De La Sonorite: Art Et Technique
    by Marcel Moyse
    Alphonse Leduc

  • A Trevor Wye Practice Book for the Flute
    Volume I Tone
    by Trevor Wye

13. Glossary.

14. What is a Fake book?
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(From Larry Krantz)

A Fake book is a collection of melodies with chord symbols to represent the harmony. They are used extensively by jazz musicians. My own collection of fake books contains literally thousands of standard and not so standard pop and jazz tunes.

15. Flutist or flautist?
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(From David Dahl)

Whether to call oneself a flutist, flautist, or something else is a matter for personal preference. Flautist appears to be most popular in the U.K. and members of the British Commonwealth, while flutist is more common in other English-speaking countries such as the U.S. See the excellent discussion in Nancy Toff’s book "The Flute", second edition.

(From Dr M K C MacMahon, Dept of English Language, University of Glasgow, Glasgow Scotland/UK)
British English didn't start to use the word 'flautist' until 1860. Before that, the word was 'flutist', or 'fluter' (with the feminine version 'fluteress'), or 'flutenist'. Something must have caused the change-over from 'flutist' to 'flautist': perhaps folk thought it sounded 'better' (ie classier), since the word had an Italian origin. I wouldn't be surprised if Rudall Carte had a hand in it. In American English, the only word seems to have been, and is, 'flutist'. According to Galpin, transverse flutes appeared in Britain round about 1500. But in Old English (ie about 1000 years ago), a flutist, who presumably was a recorder-player, not a transverse-flute player, was called a 'pipere' (pronounced 'peepere'), a 'hwistlere' (ie a whistler), or a 'hreodpipere' (ie a reed-piper; it sounds like an oboeist, not a flutist in our sense). The word in Old English for the sound of a recorder/flute was 'pipdream'. It didn't mean pipe-dream, but 'pipe-joy' or 'pipe-music'.

(From Robert Bigio, London, England)
This is by no means definitive, but I have had a quick trawl through some nineteenth-century publications, many from Rudall Carte, to see what I could find. It would seem that the preferred form was "flute player". Tutors by J. Wragg (my edition is 1818), Nicholson (?1820), Drouet (1830), Carte (?1845), Clinton (?1845), Clinton (1860) and Radcliff (1894) all used "flute player" (occasionally with a hyphen), if indeed they used anything at all. "The student" was a common usage in these works.

Books by Broadwood (the introduction to Boehm's Essay on the Construction of Flutes), Welch (1896) and Fitzgibbon (1913) all use "flautist". Rockstro (1890) uses "flute-player". All these except Fitzgibbon were published by Rudall Carte. A quick flip through WN James fails to show any usage other than "the performer," and phrases like that.

Rudall Carte published scores of works in their series "Flute Player's Journal".

I came across an 1858 announcement of the Birmingham Flute Trio and Quartet Society, founded 1856. Its president was Joseph Richardson, described as "Flutist to the Queen". Honorary members included Carte, Clinton, Pratten, Rudall, Siccama and Wells.

An 1860 advertisement announces that "Master Drew Dean, (Flautist, student of Mr. Richardson) is open for engagements," which were to be made through Rudall Carte. "Master Dean performs on Rudall, Rose & Carte's Patent Cylinder Flute," the advertisement says.

So there you have it: little mention of either "flutist" of "flautist", but much use of "flute player". "Flutist" died out in Britain a hundred years ago, but I would guess that "flute player" was more common than "flautist", as I think it remains today. I always use "flute player."

(From Wayne Menard)
So, my roots being French I call myself a FLUTIST which really means, 'one whose fingers move like lightning and whose sound is as sweet as honey.' I made-up the last part thinking this might be a working model of a definition for us all.

(From Gary Boatright)
I agree with James Galway who, on the Johnny Carson Tonight Show about 25 or 30 years ago, said, "I call myself a flutist. 'Flautist' makes me sound too much like an English nobleman with gas."

16. What is the difference between a student flute and a professional flute?
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(from Larry Krantz)

I have often wondered about those terms myself. I suppose that a flippant answer would be that if you earn some money with a flute then it is a professional flute and if you don't then it's a student flute. Since I rarely get paid for practicing then I must be practicing on a student Powell.

To be just a little more serious, flutes which are referred to as student models are generally made out of a nickel alloy, are silver plated, generally have an offset G, usually have plateau keys, rarely have extra keys, and rarely have a B foot. I honestly don't know where the line might be drawn to determine when a few added features will cause the instrument to become identified with the other category. Many very expensive and wonderful flutes played by the best professionals have plateau keys, offset G, few if any extra keys, C foot only, and are made out of any type of material that you can think of. The most common material being wood, silver, gold, and platinum. I think I would be correct in saying that the best (professional if you like) flutes are hand made with great care to detail by makers who spend a life time perfecting their craft. Other flutes come off the assembly line and quality control varies from instrument to instrument.

17. What sizes of flutes are available?
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(From Glen Ross)

Flutes have been built on all the following pitches.

All pitches are shown in piano pitch which at C4 [ middle C ] is equal to the lowest C on the concert flute in C1. For general purposes all flutes can be assumed to have a range of three octaves.

The pitch shown is the lowest sounding note with a standard foot joint; except on the piccolo type instruments. Here the lowest note is normally a tone above the keynote listed. Some piccolos have been built with the standard downward extension of pitch to C3, but these are not common.

Extended foot joints usually extend the compass downward by a semi tone, although exceptionally it may be more. A concert flute in C1 is known which has an extension down to G3.

Flute types marked * are those commonly found in modern music.

Octave Piccolo - C6 Octave treble - G5 Soprano - F5 Soprano - Eb5
Soprano - D5 Military Band piccolo - Db5 Orchestral Piccolo - *C5 Descant flute - Ab4
Treble flute - G4 Octave tenor - F4 Treble flute - Eb4 concert flute [pre 1850] - D4
CONCERT FLUTE - *C4 Flute d'amour - Bb3 Flute d'amour - A3 Flute d'amour - Ab
Alto flute - *G3 Tenor flute - F3 Bass flute - *C3 Contra alto (F bass) - F2
Contra bass - C2 Contra tenor - F1 Sub Contra bass - C1  

18. Who are the Haynes brothers?
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(From Scott Hirsch -- Publisher/Editor of The Woodwind Quarterly)

The Haynes brother were born just a few years apart, the sons of a Virginia school teacher and a sea captain. It was George who first showed interest in the flute. The brothers borrowed a flute to copy and started flute making at an early age. The George W. Haynes Co. was established in 1886, his brother William joined him a year later. They worked together for about six years and made both silver and wood piccolos. At that time you could buy a Haynes wood piccolo for $55.

The brothers split up in 1897. George move to California and started making instrument under his own name, as well as repairing instrument. It is probably from this time period that your instrument was made or from his stint of making in New York that lasted till around 1921. Your piccolo may be 65 to 70 years old. What marks are on the instrument?

As to value, probably not much if it's in bad shape. As you know, it was William S. Haynes who founded the current Haynes company. A fascinating history of flute making that is now over a century long.

19. How to choose a flute.
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(From M. D. Greene) Buying a flute is in my opinion at least as stressful and complex as buying a used car... perhaps more so.

If you're lucky, you can go to a large, well-stocked store which sells many different brands and types of flute, and try them until you find your perfect new instrument. If you're even luckier, you will have a patient and highly trained flute teacher to go with you and give advice.

If, however, you are so unfortunate as not to enjoy these advantages (as I lacked, when buying my flute) then you must be much more attentive and much more patient. If you can obtain Nancy Toff's _The Flute Book_ there is an excellent section on how to buy a flute. It is basically a "weeding out" process, in which you first settle on what basic type of flute you want, pick some well-known brand names, and then have some of each sent to you. Play them, and return the ones you don't like, even if that means returning them all. Take notes on why you did or didn't like each one.

Caution: flutes vary even within the same model and manufacturer...if you find one that is good, it's best to stick with it rather than hoping for a "miracle flute".

Before beginning the process decide how far you wish to progress on the flute. In my case I know full well that I will never be anything like a Galway or Rampal -- which by the way does wonders for my ego -- so I immediately eliminated the upper-end flutes made of such precious metals as gold, Aurumite or platinum. I also had bad experiences with the low grade student flutes, so out they went too. That leaves the middle grade flutes by reputable manufacturers.

You must decide if you want a B or C foot; open hole or plateau; offset G or inline; split E mechanism or not; pointed French arms or not. These are personal preferences and depend on your style of play. Once you've settled that, each manufacturer will have several models you can choose from. If you have specific questions about any of these options, the members of the FLUTE list, which include people far more knowledgeable than myself, can almost certainly answer them.

Hint: practicing diligently and loving your instrument is far more important, and affects the sound, more than any option.

In general, the more silver in a flute the better. Models begin with all silver plate, then move up through: solid silver head; solid silver body and head; solid silver body, head and keys. Whether the springs are gold or not is another personal preference. I can tell you from my own experience, that flutes which look identical can easily be extremely different in price; further, that this price difference is usually justified, believe it or not. The minute differences in headjoint manufacture and design, particularly, make huge differences in the sound. I am naturally skeptical (and a tightwad) and I had to be convinced of this; but now, I believe it.

When playing, check for leaks at the pads. Check the mechanism, key by key, for free and fast motion. Check for clicks, pops and other noises. Make sure that the head joint and foot fit the body, smoothly and securely but not overly tight. Check for bent keys such as the g# key which sticks out and can be damaged easily. Take a piece of music you know well and play it on each test flute. One will feel more fluent and easier to play than the other. Try to over blow the flute into the second and then the third octave; a good one will over blow easily, without "screaming" in the third octave. Further, it won't be excessively sharp in the third, nor flat in the first octave (use an electronic tuner). See if the flute can be made to play fortissimo in the low notes and pianissimo in the high ones. Try to do fast octave or double-octave leaps, allegro, without missing notes.

Hint: if you find a flute which does *all* this perfectly, take it to the Smithsonian Institute in Washington and tell them, they'll want to buy it from you and put in on display!

Good luck with your search, and remember that patience is a virtue. Keep saying that to yourself, as you receive those expensive silver tubes in the mail and send them back... patience... patience.... patience... ;-)

(From Alexa Still)
To second what has already been said: definitely go for silver keys if you can. Silver keys can be repaired indefinitely, and the flute is always going to be worth something. Silver plated keys make the instrument effectively a "throw-away" flute, and once they are worn out, the flute is worthless.... a bad investment in most cases!

Other things asked about are largely cosmetic, and vary considerably from flute to flute. For example there isn't really an audible difference between Y keys or pointed keys, and drawn or soldered tone holes. Soldered have a sharper edge and I think they are supposed to seal better, and be more accurately made, but they can come unsoldered sometimes! Drawn tone holes never come unsoldered, but aren't considered as fancy because the tube may be distorted when they are drawn from the tube, and distorted tubing theoretically may not sound as good.

White gold springs are supposedly the best choice because they break less often, but I've seen quite a few broken ones!!!, so as long as you like the action (springiness) I wouldn't worry about this aspect too much. This is something a repair person can change for you pretty easily if you like everything else but not the springiness, or even what the springs are made out of.

I am sure that Silver and Britannia silver sound different, but probably not as different as two different makes in the same metal, so again, be influenced by your ear most of all! Just try what ever you buy first, and attempt to try lots of models before narrowing it down.

(From Jennifer Grady)
The first thing I would tell you is:

    Don't be in a hurry!!!


Make sure that you play the instrument that you plan to buy first. Sometimes you may try a model and then agree to have one made like the model that you played, but all instruments are unique and they all sound and play differently. Even instruments of the same make and model. Play it for two weeks if you can. Find opportunities to play it in different settings (a performance or for friends). You will know after that time if it is right for you or if you are feeling frustrated.


Try lots of different kinds of flutes. There are several ways to do that. The best way is to attend a Flute Fair or the NFA Convention where there are many flutemakers represented. There are several places in the USA that carry professional models and then you can always have the flutemakers send you new models to try out for two weeks (being held on your credit card until the flute is returned). The problem with the last suggestion is that you pay shipping one way and after a few times it starts getting expensive. I have a list of websites for most of the flutemakers if you need it. (Also on Larry's web page, he has all the Flutemakers listed with addresses and phone numbers).

A last suggestion:

I just bought a used Handmade Haynes that was 17 years old from a gentleman in Portland, Oregon who sells professional flutes on consignment. I bought it for $4,000 and put $660 in repairwork (I can also recommend a fantastic repairman!) and now I have a magnificent instrument that I am very happy with. (I also just bought an incredible head joint from Mr. Drelinger that has made a great flute even more fantastic. I can't say enough about having a great head joint...).

When I still had my old Selmer, I was trying out some Burkart heads and one in particular totally blew me away! I had thought my flute was so clunky and sluggish, but when I put that head in, the response time was so phenomenal that my fingers just flew! It was so light and quick, I couldn't believe it was the same instrument.

Kind of a lot to consider, huh.... Bottom line, of all the instruments that I played (and there were a lot in all the price ranges...), there were only a couple that stood out. The Altus 1507RB was fantastic (it is Britannia silver) but also way out of my price range. I also loved a new handmade Powell (silver) that I played, but it too was way out my price range. I am very happy and grateful that I found the flute that I did. I will probably be playing this flute until my fingers fall off. Be careful in your choosing, it is more than just buying an instrument. It is a bit like a marriage. There is a real emotional connection with it and you need to be compatible. Sort of an extension of your soul... When I bought the first flute (the flute that I ordered and ended up not keeping), I couldn't believe how stressful and upsetting it was. It took all the joy out of my playing. Now I am relaxed and I am having great fun. I look forward to each time I go to take it out of the case and I totally lose track of the time...

(from Patricia George)
I think in looking for a flute, I would look for a flute that has lots of colors and with good response. (Tuning is important also) If a flute only has a bright sound or a dark sound, I would compare that to going to one's closet and only finding dresses of one color. To live life fully, one needs lots of colors of dresses. (I am a true Texan (now living in Idaho)--I love to shop!)

If you will turn the flute head joint over, with the embouchure head facing down, you can tell a lot about how a flute will play and sound. If the embouchure plate (that would be on the left side when you are looking down) is really close to the tubing, then the flute will respond quickly. If the embouchure plate is farther away from the tube, then the tone will be more beautiful. The trick is to find the compromise--that distance where you have quick response yet still a beautiful tone. Some of the modern makers have taken this art to a new height--making heads that are very quick in response. However, it has been my experience that these flutes don't project as well as some other flutes and don't have a range of colors. This is why it is important to test a flute (headjoint) in many settings with the best pair of ears that you can get to listen to you.

I think colors are very important in performance and in instrument selection. But of course my flute heritage dictates this (Mariano, Kincaid and Baker). Some flutists have been very successful with one color and using a wide dynamic range. Just another way to get "there" I would think. This is a personal choice. I like colors!

Do you remember the discussion that we had sometime back about the "cushion of air" surrounding the tone? I think that this is the solution for projection. I believe I wrote about one of my first lessons with Kincaid--how beautiful his tone was when I was sitting at the picnic bench in front of his mountain cabin--yet how shocked I was when I went inside for my lesson and heard all this air around his tone. To keep this short---in a few lessons I mustered the courage to ask him about it (I couldn't bring myself to say--gee, your tone is airy--why are you doing that----until I knew him better). He explained about the "cushion of air" and the funnel effect (the big part of the funnel is with you and the smaller part is what goes to the audience. Exploring this idea in several settings and combinations of players will show you how effective this idea is.

Choosing a flute is a huge area of concern. So much to know, to hear and to learn. Remember too that as performers sometimes we need to be "solo" performers and other times "tutti" players....and all with the same flute.

John Mack (Principal Oboe of Cleveland) once said--we are all looking for the reed that plays high, that plays low, has a beautiful tone, has quick response etc, but I only had that reed once and that was in something like 1957---the real truth is that you must learn to play on a bad reed because that is what you will have most of the time!

20. Insurance.
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(From Ed Lacy)

Some musicians seem able to cover their instruments under their homeowners policy, but generally, the standard insurance companies cover only student instruments. If the instrument is used for professional purposes (that includes playing for only a few dollars), they require that a special rider be purchased, and this can be very expensive.

Clarion Associates will insure instruments for musicians belonging to professional organizations such as the NFA and Chamber Music America. There is a $100 deductible. The policy charges a uniform rate of $0.60 per $100 of value. There is a minimum annual premium of $100.00 and a one-time $35. application fee. For more information (and up-to-date fees) contact:

    Clarion Associates, Inc.
    1711 New York Avenue
    Huntington Station, NY 11746
    Phone (516) 423-2990
    FAX (516) 423-2821

Here is the address and phone number for:

    Chamber Music America
    545 8th Ave
    New York, NY 10018-4385

21. Who are some good Jazz flutists?
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(From Larry Krantz)
From a recent discussion (July 2008) about jazz and rock flute players...

Adeney, Richard Coltrane, John Hinze, Chris Lloyd, Charles Newton, James Steig, Jeremy
Allen, Jill Costa, Rudy Hoffman, Holly Lockhart, Jim O'Rourke, Sean Tabackin, Lew
Almario, Justin Daniels, Eddie Horn, Jim MacDonald, Ian Ossei, Teddy Thomas, Ray
Almond, John DiBlasio, Dennis Horn, Paul Mann, Herbie Paakunainen, Paroni Torres, Nestor
Amy, Curtis Dick, Robert Humphrey, Bobbi Martin, Brice Palmer, Pol Turner, Nik
Anderson, Ian Dobson, Lyn Ito, Takio Mason, Camille Payne, John Underwood, Ian
Armond, Johnny Dolphy, Eric Jackson, Brian Matsu, Kazu Pegrum, Nigel Valenti, Dino
Aspery, Ron Duncan, Malcom Jaspar, Bobby Mayfield, Curtis Rakoto, Frah Valentine, Dave
Baum, Jamie Eakle, Matt Jenkins, Lyle McBirnie, Bill Rangell, Nelson van Leer, Thijs
Beckett, Gerald Eakle, Matt Jenkins, Martin McNair, Harold Rivers, Sam Walker, Jim
Lori Bell Ellis, Marc Jordan, Kent McVie, Christine Roberts, Tony Warleigh, Ray
Braxton, Anthony Eubanks, Jerry Kaufman, Moe Militello, Bobby Ruwe, Jordan Weekers, Peter
Bridges, Gil Ewart, Douglas Kirk, Roland Miller, Charles Ryerson, Ali Weinstein, Mark
Burbridge, Kofi Farrell, Joe Kujala, Steve Mitchell, Roscoe Sano, Tatsua Weisburg, Tim
Burdon, Eric Fierro, Martin LaBerge, Anne Moody, James Scott, John Weissberg, Tim
Cannata, Richie Gabriel, Peter Lateef, Yusef Morales, Esy Shank, Bud Wess, Frank
Carver, Wayman Gaye, Marvin Latimer, Andy Most, Sam Snijders, Ronald Wilson, Ann
Clarke, Jon Guidi, Peter Laws, Hubert Mower, Mike Snyder, Libbie Jo Wood, Chris
Clay, James Hackett, John Lilholt, Tine Newell, Nick Socarras, Alberto Pickford, Lorne
Collins, Mel Havlin, Dierdre Lindh, Jason Bjorn Newman, David Spaulding, James  

(From Amit Segal, Philosophy Dept., U. of Pittsburgh)

Here (in no particular order) are a few jazz flute albums I find worthwhile which might be worth investigating.

NOTE: * denotes a doubler (eg plays saxophones, clarinet, etc. as well as flute)

James Moody *: Last Train From Overbrook (OJC)
Flute and Blues (OJC)
Jeremy Steig: Outlaws (Enja)
James Newton: David Murray - James Newton Quintet (DIW)
Axum (ECM)
African Flower (Blue Note)
Luella (Gramavision)
X-Man - Andrew Cyrille (Soul Note)
Herbie Mann: Peace Pieces (Kokopelli)
At the Village Gate (Atlantic)
Memphis Underground (Atlantic)
Buddy Collette *: Flute Talk (Soul Note)
Jane Bunnett *:Spirit of Havanna (Denon)
New York Duets (Denon)
The Water is Wide (Evidence)
James Spaulding *: Brilliant Corners (Muse)
Patterns - Bobby Hutcherson (Blue Note)
Breaking Point - Freddy Hubbard (Blue Note)
Eric Dolphy *: Out To Lunch (Blue Note)
In Europe Vol 1 (OJC)
In Europe Vol 2 (OJC)

(From Matt)

"Passion" and "Neon" by Alexander Zonjic - he is one of the best sounding flutists I have heard. He does a great version of Herbie Mann's "Memphis Underground" on "Passion".

"The Evolution of Mann: The Herbie Mann Anthology" - This is a great collection of his music. If you're in to flute jazz and want to hear some of the best music ever written for jazz flute, this album is a must.

"Burning Whispers", "Morning Ride", and "Dance of the Phoenix" by Nestor Torres - Great jazz-latin music.

22. What material makes the best flute?
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(From David Dahl)

There is no easy or obvious answer to the question, "What material makes the best flute?". Every practical material, including silver, gold, platinum, wood, and even glass, has its proponents. Some say that material makes little or no contribution to the sound of a flute, since it is the vibrating air column in the flute that creates the sound. Others are sure that material does play an important part. Contributing to the disagreement is the difficulty of comparing instruments. Even two flutes of the same model can sound and "feel" different, so one can not be sure how much material affects the equation. At the border between objective and subjective tests, scientific measurements are not conclusive.

It is safe to say that workmanship is a critical factor in the quality of a flute. The cheaper flutes usually contain less silver (or none) and the workmanship is less. Solid silver flutes generally benefit from more careful manufacture. At the highest levels of craftsmanship, silver, gold, and platinum flutes all have their partisans. The traditional material, wood, has experienced a rebirth in recent years after a period of decline.

(From John Zornig)

The most important thing is that the flute works well for you and stays that way. Three main things are important:

1. It needs to be well made, so that you can play with it more than the repairman does. A flute is an extremely precise machine, that gets subjected to a lot of stress. It's very important that it be solidly made.

2. It needs to make a great sound, _when played by you_. Everyone is different, thus no one flute is best for us all. The type of head, key arrangement etc. will all depend mostly on how your body is built and how you play, not some consensus of pundits on a flute list (as if there was ever a consensus on this list.)

3. (Big item) You must be confident in it. You must believe that it will never get in your way or prevent you from sounding the way you want to. It should be your faithful friend that makes you smile each time you open the case and see it waiting there for you.

Q. I would like to know how important it is (as far as sound quality) for the instrument to be full silver (as opposed to a silver head-joint, or other options, whatever they are).

Stick around. You'll hear opinions ranging from "material makes no difference at all" to "platinum is the only way to go". If material makes a difference, then it probably makes a bigger difference in the head than elsewhere. My opinion is that material makes some difference, design and workmanship make a bigger difference, and the player makes a much, much bigger difference. All that said, you'll get better design and workmanship in an all-silver flute than in a plated instrument, and it'll last longer.

23. How can I learn to memorize?
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(From David Dahl)

Memorization is a skill that improves with practice. There are a couple of things that help me. First of all, I practice playing tunes by ear. There are songs such as hymns and folk tunes that everyone (?) should know, such as Happy Birthday. By playing such tunes without sheet music, you will get to know your flute that much better. One way to start learning how to do this is to practice intervals so as to learn how they sound. You can associate certain intervals with tunes you already know. An interval of a fourth begins the music to "Here comes the bride".

I find it much easier to play musically and to memorize if I "know" the music in my head. This does not mean that I could recite all the notes, but it does mean that I should be able to sing or hum the tune to the extent it is possible. When I get stuck while playing a memorized tune, it is a great help that I can "hear" what the next note should be, for my fingers will often find the right place.

Another memorization technique that helps me is to break up a tune in to sections, and the sections into sections. Instead of memorizing 8 pages, I memorize 8 bars here, 12 bars there, 10 bars there, and so on. This is far less intimidating. When you take a good look at your sections and compare them, you will always find that many parts are repeated elsewhere with little or no variation. It is a great help for memorization to know what ections are repeated. This effectively makes the music shorter.

Jerry Pritchard wrote:
"I suggest you look at some books on piano pedagogy and technique. Many of them contain extensive material on techniques of memorizing music because the keyboard player has so many notes to learn."

Good advice. One of the techniques I have used when memorizing piano solos is to recognize harmonic patterns. It is a lot easier to memorize a run of notes as a Eb scale or Gm arpeggio than each discrete note.

"I would warn you to beware of using only the Tactile or Sense Memory approach. This part of memorization is easily lost during performance when "everything" feels different. Using a combination of Visualization, Structural/Harmonic Analysis, Aural Memory, Tactile and others approaches in combination generally is best."

Very good advice. Finger memory is an example of easy-come easy-go.

24. How do I reach the National Flute Association (NFA)?
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    The National Flute Association, Inc.
    P.O. Box 800597
    Santa Clarita, CA 91380-0597
    Phone: 805-297-5287
    FAX: 805-297-0753

25. Which is better, Offset or In-Line G?
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Offset G photo: John Rayworth

First, we should clarify the terminology:
(From Tod Brody)

The offset G key makes it a shorter reach for your left hand fourth finger to reach the G key. This is more comfortable for some people. Sound is not affected. Some people think that a flute with an in-line G looks more elegant. It has been suggested that a flute with an offset G might be harder to resell, although I'm skeptical about this, as more and more people seem to prefer them. (I've always played an in-line G and am quite comfortable with it; most of my students with open-holed flutes also have in-line G and most of them have had no problems.)

(From David Dahl)

This is a controversial topic. Many flutists begin studies on a student flute with an offset G and later move to a "step-up" model with open-hole and in-line keys when the student is older and presumably the hands are bigger. In-line keys are probably used on the vast majority of professional model flutes, although offset models have been getting more attention in recent years as repetitive-stress injuries have become a major issue. There is much discussion as to the acoustic differences, but there does not appear to be a consensus. Therefore the choice is the flutist's. If you find a flute that is comfortable and makes the sounds that you like, do not worry about which is supposed to be the best.

26. Old flutes.
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(From Rick Wilson)

Several list members have already remarked that this is a "Db" flute,which was common in bands, so.... look for band music. I don't know of any classical works written for Db flute. Are there any? Metal heads with wooden bodies are not uncommon on late conical flutes. Almost all Reform flutes are like this Reform flutes have a system of ring keys or perhaps even keys that cover the tone holes. Since it is not a very old flute, it will not be so valuable. I paid $1500 once for a Reform flute circa 1910, but only $200 for an old system flute with a Reform head from about the same time.

"Migma" is an acronym for "Musikinstrumenten Genossenschaft Markneukirchen", a co-operative of several hundred musical instrument makers, established in 1943. G.R. Uebel worked in Wohlhausen from 1910 to at least 1937. This information is from The New Langwill Index: A Dictionary of Musical Wind Instrument Makers by William Waterhouse (Tony Bingham, London, 1993). This reference should be in any significant music library (tell them to get it if they don't have it) as well as mentioned in our forthcoming FAQ.

(From Robert Bigio, London, England)

Most flutes from the early part of this century were padded "wet". Instead of using paper shims to level the pad, the cup was filled with shellac or white wax which, when heated, would squirt to the required parts of the cup to level the pad. The pad washer was necessary only to stop the pad from bulging. This method has fallen out of favour, although it has the great advantage that there can be no air leakage between the pad and the screw.

There is an old repairer in London (and I mean old - he's about 85), who still uses this technique. He makes his own pads using very thick, very soft felt. A flute newly-padded by this man does not work very well, but after a few months when the pads had bedded down it will work beautifully, at least according to the players who swear by this technique.

I have seen old German-made flutes that have shellac in the cup, topped by a tight-fitting paper washer. The idea is that the shellac will level the pad, but will not stick to it.

Many early flutes had a screw soldered into the cup and a threaded washer to attach the pad. I suspect your Rittershausen was made like this, but some of the screws were replaced over the years.

In my experience wooden flutes work better with softer pads (but not as soft as the old chap in London uses). I would recommend ordinary flute pads, but as soft as you can find. The problem sometimes is finding pads that are thin enough.

(From ?)
According to Susan Berdahl...

John Schwelm was a Wm S Haynes employee from 1904 - 1908 and 1915 - 1920. In 1920 he formed a partnership with Wm S Haynes *JR*. Schwelm apparently left the partnership in 1923, but the Haynes-Schwelm Co. continued in business until the mid 50s. Schwelm apparently went to work at the Powell shop around 1936 where he stayed until his death in 1955.

Wm S Haynes Jr (born Wm W Haynes) was a thorn in his father's side for many years. He changed the name of his flute-making business several times in attempting to outmaneuver lawsuits over the use of the Haynes name.

The one Haynes-Schwelm flute I tried years ago was a decent, sturdy intermediate instrument. Nothing near the quality of a "real" Haynes, but one or two steps above the student flutes generally available prior to Asian imports.

27. What kind of flute option is best, open or closed-hole?
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(From David Dahl)

Open hole photo: John Rayworth
Closed hole photo: John Rayworth

Most people think that open hole flutes are the only way to go. The main argument is that an open-hole flute enforces a better hand position. They also claim such benefits as more alternate fingerings and "extended" techniques for playing modern music. As a result it is easier to find a good open-hole flute than a good closed-hole model. Most closed-hole flutes available new are entry-level student models. This fact lead many to view all closed-hole flutes as lower quality. In fact if it is important to you to buy a flute that will be easiest to resell, an open-hole flute might be the better choice. It is possible to order a closed-hole flute of the highest quality.

Those of us who are the vocal minority of closed-hole enthusiasts, claim that there is no clear benefit to open-hole flutes. No feature is going to ensure a proper hand position, only good and vigilant instruction and conscientious practice will accomplish that. In fact, some players blame open-hole flutes for poor hand positions and even injuries. Several players have expressed joy at much more relaxed hands when they acquired closed-hole flutes. If closed-hole flutes are more comfortable to you, there are good reasons to stay with a close hole model. If, like many people your hands feel comfortable on an open-hole flute, and you like the feeling, an open-hole flute may be a good choice. The point is that neither option is necessarily a foolish choice.

If you decide that open holes are for you, the conventional wisdom says to just jump in. It should only take a few weeks (or less) to become comfortable playing on a open-hole. It should not be necessary to press very hard on the keys to get a good seal. If you do find that more pressure is needed than seems reasonable, have the flute adjusted by a competent technician. Even new flutes may need adjustment.

It is worth mentioning that the plugs that are available for open-hole flutes are intended as a transition to fully open holes. An open-hole flute is made to sound its best with open holes. An open-hole flute with plugged holes will sound differently than a closed-hole flute.

(From Glen Ross)

Like yourself I have played on both styles of flute over the last 45 years and I have yet to find any COMPELLING reason to select one over the other. OK we know all about the slight shadings and microtonal tuning adjustments that are supposed to be available on the open hole system. I will take a bet that any flutist can move pitch on a closed hole every bit as far as someone using an open hole. Try listening to some 1910 era recordings of flutists using the Victorian "glide" This was a straight glissando running over two octaves or more. This was done using closed hole flutes. How much farther do you want to move?

As far as CORRECT POSITION goes would someone tell me how a maker knows what is the correct position for MY fingers. What the open hole maker is saying is "This is where I have decided you will put your fingers. Try using a modern metal open hole flute if you have extra large hands and long fingers as I have. My hand ends up in the crab positio and mobility of the fingers is impaired. I had no trouble with wooden flutes because of the increased dimensions.

A correspondent mentioned that the open hole thing only seems to have any real importance in the American market. It is certainly true that the vast majority of European flautists [ European spelling ] are using closed holes. If you go into a general music shop, rather than a specialist flute supplier, you will have great difficulty in finding an open hole flute offered for sale.

(From Robert Dick)

Subject: open holes, a rational approach

Lacking the proper adapter to connect my US laptop's modem with the Dutch phone system, I was out of email touch for the past few days while visiting Holland. In Amsterdam, it was great to meet Maarten Visser and see the terrific work he's doing in flute ergonomics.

And so I have just read the whole open vs closed hole thread, with its posts ranging from fulminating self-righteousness (BORING) to the giggling (Thank you, John Levine!). What seems missing is an overview, focussed on the fundamental principles that effect us all rather than on any particular individual's experience or musical taste. The question, it seems, divides into two basic aspects:

Musical needs/desires/dreams of the individual and choosing the appropriate instrument in accord with the music to be played.

Problems concerning covering the center holes, including the various ergonomic issues and hand position issues -- and the related issue of the inline G flute.

I'll write on the technical part today and the aesthetic part tomorrow.

Its clear that the closed hole offset G flute is the place for children to start, and the curved headjoint model is a wonderful thing indeed for little ones! And for smaller adults too. With adult players having problems with the open hole flute, the consensus is that these center on the G key and the D key. Nobody wrote about the A, F or E keys, so it seems that unless one has truly extraordinarily small hands and/or narrow fingers, we can assume that adults having troubles with open hole flutes are dealing with difficulty or discomfort with the G key or D key. Let's have a look at these one at a time.

THE G KEY. Here the problems have two basic sources, which are hand position and design of the flute. Design first: If we crack our flute history books for a peek at photos of the flutes Boehm himself made so as to see what the original design by this brilliant fellow actually was, we see only offset G flutes. The inline G was created by Louis Lot to enable him to build flutes more quickly. In the 19th century, everything had to be done by hand. By moving the G key on to the main mechanism rod, fewer parts were needed and more flutes went out the door of the Lot shop each year. Because Lot's flutes were considered the best of his time, his design was mindlessly copied even after manufacturing methods changed. Thus the openhole inline flute became the "French Model" and the professional standard in the US and elsewhere.

Regardless of hand size, the inline flute makes no sense ergonomically, open or closed hole. For the inline flute to be ergonomic, the fourth finger would have to be longer than the middle finger. The first post I ever made to FLUTE was on this issue. I wrote about my experience in the 1970's owning two flutes, one inline and the other offset. I found that if I could play a passage at quarter note at 124 on the inline flute, I could play it equally well at 132 on the offset flute simply because the hand position was more natural and relaxed. For those wishing to play an open hole flute, problems with the G key can almost always be solved by playing on an offset G flute -- this can be further aided by using a Bo-Pep or similar device, preferably covered with moleskin or another material to provide a soft surface -- and by analyzing and correcting position. "Position" means posture, the overall use of the body, including hand position on the flute.

Often (but of course not always) problems covering the holes are the symptom of poor hand position, not it its cause. In the left hand, an unnatural twisting of the thumb so as to play the thumb keys with the ball of the thumb pulls the hand into a position that inhibits fluid technique and covering the open holes. Its not possible to go into every variation of problematic position here so I won't try. But its important to say that hand position is like everything else, there are fundamental general principles that apply to everyone. These are tweaked a bit for the individual, but usually not all that much. While the human hand varies in size, normal hands don't extremely vary in their basic construction -- at least as applied to flute playing. These principles include:

Playing with a curve in every finger and with a bend at every knuckle is a must. A straight finger or thumb is the inhibitor of free technique.

The similarity of curvature in each finger is more important than the degree of the curvature. Its easy to see how problematic the left hand can be, with the forefinger tending to be very curved and the fourth and fifth fingers often straight. When these problems are worked out, coverage of the open holes often is, too.

THE D KEY. Most of the time problems covering the center hole are symptoms of problems in how the flute is held and/or how the footjoint is positioned rotationally. Once again, let me stress the "most of the time"; there is never an "always". That said, by a huge margin, the flutists I have seen who have problems with the D key have their right thumb either in a twisted position, playing on the ball of the thumb instead of its side. Or they hold the flute with the thumb more or less under the E key, instead of under the F key or even "above" the F key (closer to the headjoint). This pulls the fourth finger away from the D key and makes footjoint technique more difficult. A simple test to find the best right thumb position for any individual is to (gently) flap the right hand up and down until its completely relaxed. Then, palm down, have a look at where the thumb is. Put it under the flute in that position and gently bring the fingers onto the keys. Everything will get easier! Patricia George writes about the "Coke bottle test" which is an effective variation on this theme. Without thinking about it, pick up a soda-type can (filled with the beverage of your choice, naturally). Have a look at how you are holding the can and replicate this position when holding the flute. (Also wipe up the mess if the can was open.)

Flutists generally appear to position the footjoint the way they were shown at their first lesson, most often taken in childhood. While lining up the ball of the footjoint mechanism with the center of the D key is almost always excellent for kids, we do grow up and our hands get bigger. Turning the footjoint outwards, so that the little finger is resting towards the tip of the D# spatula is more comfortable and logical. It also helps cover the center hole in the D key. Playing with a CURVED fifth finger will also make a huge difference in overall technique as well as making the D center hole easier to cover.

Folks with very short arms may have a real problem with covering the center hole of the D key. Should this be the case, put in a plug or play on a flute with a curved headjoint.

CONCLUSIONS: Sometimes it is necessary to plug the holes in the G and/or D keys. And when its necessary, put in those plugs -- the Earth won't stop turning. But based on thirty plus years of experience as a professional teacher, I believe that far more often than not the root problems in playing the openhole flute are the inline G and the basic posture, hand position and technique of the player. With these issues addressed, covering the center holes normally turns out to be straightforward and not a big deal at all.

I'm not going to go into the open D# open G# discussion. In terms of freedom of the hands and maximizing potential technique, its obvious that relieving the right fifth finger from spending almost all its time on the D# key is a winning idea. But since we are virtually all playing on closed D# flutes, I've kept the overview to the problems and potential of the flute we are playing on at this point in history.

Its certain that this post has not covered everything. How to balance the flute, etc etc. But I hope it helps put at least the main factors into perspective in a way that is applicable to all who have "normal" hands and are without any debilitating physical issues.

A personal conclusion: I do think that one of the vibes of our time is the occasional tendency to focus too much on problems. When this happens, symptoms get treated readily because its easier to do so than to develop solutions at the root level. Identifying problems is of course the vital first step without which no progress can be made. But let's not stop there. If the problem is in how the player is playing, let teacher and student work through it. If the flute needs to be modified, there are craftspeople ready to help.

And, in fairness, let it be recognized that the "old school" mentality with its "just do it whether it hurts or not" mentality has damaged many players physically and emotionally -- and has brought more than one career to a painful, premature end.

As a masterclass teacher, I've met lots of young students who have somehow acquired the idea that switching to an open hole flute is a huge and fearful step. Why? Its an exciting leap forward, to be joyfully anticipated. Sometimes the answer is nothing more than taking the plunge, popping out the plugs and diligently practicing in front of a mirror to develop good position and make it habitual. I well remember the day at age 12 when I got my first open hole flute. It was a blast!

28. How can I find listserv lists for other instruments?
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CataList, the official catalog of LISTSERV® lists
29. Performance Anxiety/Stage Fright.
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(From Lynn Hutchins)

I performed in public constantly as a child, and enjoyed the experience thoroughly. When my daughter was born, she was so ill, I didn't have time to prepare for those sorts of things anymore, and went through a seven year period of not performing at all. When I finally sat down to play piano (I didn't play flutes back then) in front of a strange group of people (only about 30), I totally lost control of my fingers. With, shaking, sweating, and blurred vision, I slaughtered those pieces, and felt like a total fool. The next time I was so embarrassed, just from remembering the previous occasion, that the it was even worse. I'm sure those people thought I was the WORST pianist they'd ever heard, and I was sure I'd never be able to perform in public again!

This is how I resolved the problem:

Step 1: When I practiced I would pretend there were people listening, and if that made me shaky (as it did often, at first) I would stop and do what I call meditational playing. For me, that's playing by ear, whatever comes into my head, as this has always had the effect of calming me down. For you it might mean stopping and playing your favorite piece of music (or try playing outside in the sun, or in the bathroom for a few minutes). Whatever you do, you must interrupt that shaking and replace it with flute playing that you really enjoy to help develop new associations. Then go back to pretending that you're in front of people, and start this step over again until the practice performance no longer induces shaking. Keep at it. It really helps. (Remember, when you perform for real, you don't go over mistakes, so you must do the same for this sort of practicing, trying to keep the rhythm no matter what mistakes you might make).

Step 2: Tape your performance in the safety of your practice room, so that a friend or spouse can listen to it later. This is really just one step away from public performance! The neat thing is, if you don't get it right the first time, you can just tape over it until it's perfect. If you get panicky, stop and practice the piece where you made errors, and try again. Then, when the tape is done, watch as the friend listens to the tape (they don't have to comment on it-the point is for you to watch them as your music plays).

Step 3: Try to find a friend who is willing to sit and listen to a private performance in the safety of your own practice area. If you get shaky, just remember, this is a friend who was willing to take time out to help you (and probably doesn't care WHAT it sounds like).

Step 4: Memorize the piece of music perfectly, but still take the written stuff with you to the performance. You can't be better prepared than that, and being thoroughly prepared will help alleviate much anxiety.

Step 5: Make sure your instrument is in good working order. A poorly working instrument has been known to cause me to panic in the middle of a performance... Just having your flute checked over by a reputable repair person, may help to alleviate some pre-performance anxiety.

Step 6: Avoid caffein several hours before a performance. For me, tea only makes the hand shaking thing worse, and sometimes makes me want to throw-up. Be aware that if you normally consume large quantities of coffee or tea, this can trigger a withdrawal headache. I started to drink too much tea recently, which is why I know this.

Step 7: I used to get a headache during performance(stress, not caffein withdrawal). Knowing this, and knowing a headache will distract me, I learned to take couple of ibuprophen an hour before performing. This fortunately, is no longer necessary.

Step 8: Go on stage, and pretend you're in your practice room making another tape. If you make a mistake, focus on the next note(pretend nothing happened). Remember, non-musicians will probably not notice a mistake if you keep the rhythm up, and don't make a stupid face. Also, musicians will sympathize with what you're going through, and be impressed by your poise. Perform in public as often as you can get the chance. The more you perform, the more comfortable you'll feel.

30. How does 19th C. Performance Practice differ from that of today?
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(From Rick Wilson)

While thinking about sensitive notes recently, I was motivated to try to write down some brief remarks on my understanding of some other 19th century performance practices and aesthetics, from the flute point of view. I think I will post them-- in the hope that others will find them interesting, or controversial, and/or that some of the many experts on this list will correct, clarify, or qualify some matters. I oversimplify many things, sticking my opinions in along the way. It is ridiculous, of course, to think that some brief remarks can describe what was done over a hundred year period in numerous different countries.

The old system conical bore flute with six open finger holes and with four, five, six, eight, nine, eleven, or as many as 15 keys or more. This is what German, Austrian, Russian, and Italian flutists used for essentially all of the 19C. In France, however, the silver Boehm flute was adopted by the Paris Conservatoire in 1860 and one can assume that the great French music after that date was intended for that instrument. England is complicated. Many (most?) major US players used Boehm instruments (wooden, in orchestras) by 1880.

--> Tonal aesthetics:
The idea of a soft and mellow flute tone gradually lost ground to the school advocating a strong, metallic, and even piercing tone. The term 'metallic' was used by Tromlitz and others long before there were metal flutes; a metallic sound was desired on *wooden* flutes. There is a possibility, however, that different sounds and instruments were thought appropriate for orchestral use and chamber practice. To my ear, many 19C old system flutes produce a 'focused' tone, incorporating great sweetness and a bit of astringency, whatever that means. Especially in Germany, an emphasis was placed on blending with the other wind instruments (which is in part why the Boehm flute was resisted, according to German flutists and conductors). Evenness and uniformity in tone color was desired more and more as the century progressed, although the variation in color of the old system flute's scales was strongly defended by Tulou and Furstenau as desirable at mid-century.

--> Intonation, sensitive notes:
The equal tempered scale was accepted in principle, though variation from it for artistic purposes was common. Leading notes were sharpened, often with special fingerings, even on the Boehm flute. In a passage like G-F#-G-F#-G, or G-F#-G-A-B-C#-D, the F# and C# would be played as 'sensitive notes', that is, raised so as to be only about 1/3 tone below the G and D.

--> Alternate fingerings:
Alternate fingerings were cultivated and exploited for color and pitch variation. (They were not called *fake* fingerings in the 19C; they were *real* then.) The regular use of harmonic fingerings was not uncommon.

--> Vibrato:
Nope. It wasn't used. Well, there was a certain amount of finger vibrato used in England in the first half of the century, especially by certain performers, and a much smaller amount in Germany. Most 19C woodwind tutors don't mention vibrato at all--not one word. In exception are several bassoon tutors, which dismiss or ignore breath vibrato and allow finger vibrato in selected and few instances. (Finger vibrato has a different quality--one musically naive friend once told me "it sounds like the flute is doing it instead of you", whatever that means--and allows more control of speed and intensity, in my opinion.)

--> Embellishment and ornamentation:
Sure. In moderation. 19C sources caution the player not to change one note of Mozart or Beethoven, but encourage variations in lesser works. One little trick that I saw in a Drouet variation (c.1830) changed a half note E appoggiatura to a D into slurred eighth notes E-F-F#-G and then the D. I like that one and use it periodically on repeats.

--> Appoggiaturas, accacciaturas, grace notes:
On the beat. Even those little notes with a slash through them are on the beat, not before. For the entire 19C. Many 19C treatises will explain that the appoggiatura takes 1/2 the value of the main note while the grace note with the slash takes 1/4 of its value.

--> Trills:
Starting on the upper auxiliary was still more common than starting on the main note at least until circa 1830 or so. Some trills on 19C old system flutes are rather narrow and teasing, in contrast to the wide and lively trills used on baroque flutes.

--> Turns, etc.:
The fingerings given for turns and trills etc. show that smoothness and facility in ornaments was *essential*, and this was often emphasized more than intonation. The lower note in a turn, by the way, according to fingerings in Drouet, might be raised a semitone even though not notated, e.g. a turn on A might be played A-B-A-G#-A in some contexts (with a sensitive G#) even though no # appears under the turn sign.

--> Glides, portamento:
The glide (a continuous pitch change from one note to another) was popular in England and to a lesser extent in Germany in the first half of the century. But with all the portamento used by string players and singers, I suspect that some flute players used it in the second half too.

--> Slurs, rhythmic alteration:
Thomas Lindsay (1828) illustrates a type of 'inegalite' under slurs. He shows four written eighth notes under a slur being played as a dotted eighth, sixteenth, and two eighths, to emphasize the first note. Also, written slurred pairs of eighth notes are shown played as eighth, sixteenth, sixteenth rest. Sounds like baroque ideas to me, but he says "...much of what is called 'style' depends upon..." these principles.

--> Tempo variation:
Lindsay says that it is *appropriate* to speed up in exciting passages and then slow down in subdued ones. This 19C practice is amply confirmed in many old recordings from the turn of the century.

--> Articulation, phrasing:
This is a very important topic but I won't say much. Instrumentalists were encouraged to emulate singers; the 18C concept of emulating speakers and orators waned. Yet Theobald Boehm advocates "declamation" and "transform[ing] tones, as it were, into words". He uses the words of Schubert songs to teach articulation and phrasing. His illustrations of how to perform these indicate many slurs but also show more detached notes than one might think. In particular, every pickup note in his examples is detached (shown with a dot over it), and he says "the slurring of a note to the following measure is always a fault".

31. How has the pitch standard evolved?
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(From Glen Ross)

Information on the change of pitch since 1715.

The first tuning fork was invented by Royal trumpeter John Shore in 1711, about the same time as Cristofori invented the first piano. The following table lists SOME of the milestones in the history of musical pitch from 1715 to the present.

1715A=419.9England, John Shore
1740-1812A=424.1Eutin, Germany
1751A=422.5London (Handel's tuning fork)
1754A=415Dresden G. Silbermann Organ fork
1780A=421.6Vienna. This is the pitch which Mozart used
1783A=409Paris. Fork used by Taskin, Paris court tuner
1800A=422.7London. From a fork belonging to Broadwood
1820A=433London Philharmonic Pitch
1829A=425.5Paris. Pitch of the piano at the Opera
1834A=441.8Berlin. Orchestra and Opera
1834A=445.1Vienna. The highest fork Scheibler listed
1834A=440.2Stuttgart. Congress of Physicists
1836A=441Paris. Opera pianos
1839A=448Hamburg. Opera pitch
1845A=446.6Milan, Italy
1852A=452.5London. Pitch of the Philharmonic Orchestra
1859A=435Karlsruhe, Germany. Pitch at the German Opera
1839A=435.4Paris. The French Commission Diapason Normal
1859A=446Budapest. Opera
1859A=449.8Prague. Pitch of the Opera Orchestra
1859A=456.1Vienna. Old Viennese Orchestra pitch
1862A=445Vienna. Piano pitch
1862A=454Also used at Vienna
1874A=454.7London. 1876 A=446.7 London. Concert pitch
1877A=449.9London. Standard fork used by Collard Piano Co.
1878A=451.9London. British Army regulation pitch
1879A=449.7London. Pitch used at Covent Garden Opera
1879A=454.7London. Tuning fork used by Steinway & Sons
1879A=457.2New York. Tuning fork used by Steinway & Sons
1880A=444.9London. Her Majesty's Opera
1880A=446.2London. Tuning fork used by John Broadwood and Co.
1937A=440London. An International Conference standard pitch
1987A=440Toronto. Confirmed as the International Standard

32. Practice Tips.
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(From Nick Wallbridge, Croxley Green,England)

If I have an hour, my practice/playing schedule is something like:

20 mins: Technique based on Clare Southworth's Light Flute Aerobics and Flute Aerobics. This covers long notes, scales, arpeggios, sequences, tone, colour and articulation. If my son is around I will encourage him to play through with me.

10 mins: On studies - but only if I have time. Usually one of Theobald Boehm's 24 Capriccios . If playing with my son, I will probably substitute a couple of duets.

10 mins: Playing a couple easy tunes that I know well and enjoy, usually accompanied by my computer on Yamaha Clavinova!

15 mins: Working on one or two new or difficult pieces so that my "repertoire" gradually expands.

10 mins: Play thorough another couple of pieces that I know well so that I finish on a high.

(From John Wion)

Real practice can't be boring. If you find yourself bored you are wasting your time. The reason to practice is because we want to change something for the better. To do this we have to perceive that something is imperfect - in music this means we have to be listening intently - not thinking about something else. I would suggest you take your T&G #1 and start playing through it.

After a couple of sequences find out what speed on your metronome you have chosen to play. Then with your metronome on play through the entire exercise at that speed (stopping at the end of each sequence to relax and refocus) marking every single place where you are unable to play to your satisfaction. When you finish you will have defined your practice session. Take the first bit you marked and with your metronome off see how slowly you have to play it so that you have no problem. Find that speed on you metronome. Move up one notch and hear the passage in your head - then play it - just once - perfect!

Repeat this process until you reach your basic speed or stop progressing. (a minute or two at most) Go on to the second difficult spot and repeat the process. Whenever you lose interest in that T&G practice something different that *does* interest you. If you are always focusing your practice sessions on specific short term goals they will always be interesting and productive. In this sense your goal is how short the session can be not how long! For every single note that you play in your practice session you need to be able to say - I liked that -or - I didn't like that. Otherwise (if you not truly listening) you are wasting time. (If it's good you're wasting valuable practice time, if it's bad you are getting better at playing it badly!).

As far as T&G goes I encourage my students to work on one a week, discovering and solving the problems as above. A semester later when they have gone through the book we start again but the basic speed has gone up about ten counts (eg 70 to 80) - four years later.

33. The Rush.
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(From Glen Ross)

The Rush is a Victorian era glissando technique. The technique used to produce the effect is a combination of pitch bending and lifting the fingers slowly. This is relative speed, of course. A complete two octave glide can be played in 2 beats at mm 100.

34. What are scales?
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(From John G. Zornig)

Russ Thornton wrote:

"Could someone be so kind and explain the term "scales" as used in some literature and in this list: I see ads for flutes with "Selmer scales" or "The New Cooper Scale." I thought the G scale was the G scale."

Good question. It is a confusing term, born of the corrupt notion that the instrument determines what pitch is played.

For a long time, about a century, the original hole sizes and placement of Boehm remained unchanged. Flutemakers simply measured and copied Boehm's design and then each other's. Starting a few decades ago, however collaborations of players and flutemakers started fiddling with these sizes and placements in an attempt to make a flute that would require less effort to play in tune. The old hole placements were a massive improvement on earlier designs, which required big embouchure adjustments in order to preserve intonation, but they still required some effort, particularly on certain infamous notes.

After several decades of tinkering, there are now a substantial number of more or less different modern designs. The widely used nomenclature for a particular schema of hole sizes and placements is "scale", a completely different use of the word than "G scale" or "practice your scales". I think it's a confusing and inappropriate term - my preference would be "design" or "schema" - but as it panders to the notion that a new instrument will fix all of one's playing problems, the flutemakers love it.

35. Sightreading tips.
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(From David Dahl)

1. Practice sightreading by taking the music at a tempo that will allow you to play without stopping, and don't stop if at all possible. Don't allow yourself to become flustered if you make mistakes. Use a metronome at least sometimes to help maintain a consistent tempo.

2. Before playing, look over the music and mentally note the key, time signature, any changes of key or time signature. It is also helpful to note patterns such as scales and arpeggios.

3. Invent your own exercises to help you move through the music. For example, play the first note(s) of each measure. In difficult passages identify and play only the "important" notes necessary to maintain the movement of the music, such as the first note in each group of four in a run of sixteenth notes.

4. Practice playing simple tunes you know without the music, and in different keys. Learn how the intervals sound like so that when you see a fifth, for example, you know how it should sound.

5. It is much easier to play a tune from a score if you already know how it sounds. Cultivate the skill of hearing the music by looking at the score without playing it. This is also handy when looking through music at a store.

6. Be sure to practice sightreading with music of a variety of styles. Don't avoid music with lots of ledger lines or low notes. Learn to sightread music that includes the entire range of the flute.

(From Peter Guidi)

In case you do not get your sight reading up to scratch in time, here are a few tips on how to influence the panel (in a somewhat lighter vein):

You can tell them that you can't read by first sight but only by second sight (e.s.p.). Therefore they must leave the room while you do it so as not to interfere with your psychic reception.

Your inability to sight read music is due to the fact that you studied at the 'Ray Charles School For Sight Reading'.

Your flute teacher was the infamous Kent Read a very bad jazz flutist who also fancied himself as a classical player. On his first (and only) classical audition he began a furious improvised solo when he came across a passage marked 'Tacit 16 bars'. When he was asked by a shocked panel what he thought he was doing he replied "Hey man, it says 'Take it', so I took it!"

Your rhythm teacher was the chinese drummer No-Tai-Ming, who when asked if he could read music replied "Not enough to hurt my playing!"

Your harmony teacher was the folk guitarist Ron Chords, who to this day is the living proof that the quickest way to get an electric guitarist to play quietly is to put music in front of him. Together with his associate, rock guitarist Rex Yurears, they formed a duo specializing in counterpoint which gave a whole new meaning to the word. In fact in the new editions of most music dictionaries you will see the definition: Counterpoint - two guitarists reading the same sheet of music.

Your alcoholic French theory teacher, Toulouse De Beat, thought that a supertonic was one that came with the gin already in it. He has gone down in history for his unforgettable and, quite coincidentally, almost accurate definition of a minor second interval as being "two flutes playing in unison."

Your solfege teachers Scott Noears and Justin Tune never showed you a piece of written music but always played the same short clip from a video of 'The Sound of Music' (which they mispronounced 'The Sound of Mucus'). And, lets face it, you can only go so far in a musical career with 'Doe a deer a female deer, Re a drop of golden sun....

So you see, given the circumstances it is a miracle that you are there at all. Any serious panel would keep these extenuating circumstances in mind before making their final decision.

I hope these tips have helped to alleviate the suffering.

(From Sharon Korzep)

I think that we all have had difficulties to overcome with sightreading. I had to learn to separate the melody from the rhythm. In other words to just look at the rhythm without thinking of the melodic intervals. My flute teacher at that time recommended the book "Rhythmic Training" by Robert Starer, published by MCA music (Flute World has this book I believe). I practiced daily from this book just playing the rhythms with the help of a metronome until they became easy for me. It has made a tremendous difference when I sit down to sight read a piece in any of the groups that I play with. When I add the melody back to a piece that I have had trouble with I can play right through.

Also when you are sightreading a piece, take a moment to look at the key signatures, tempo changes and notate the repeats/ coda's etc.

(From Adrian Brett)

As a studio session player for some 30 years, who never has known what music would be on the stand each day, classical or pop, middle-of-the-road, opera or jazz-orientated, I think I may be well-qualified to help you and others in regard to sight-reading. There are three main areas for your concentration and for your preparation---notes,rhythm and style. Confronted with a page "prima vista" (first-sight) you have to instantly assess what the problem is,but more importantly what the problem is for you, with your own individual strong and weak points. Obviously you must concentrate on what you know to be your weakest aspect. This I have to say is usually rhythm, not TIME i.e. pulse, but the relative relationship of note values. Let us look at my assessment of the three disciplines.


If you really are conversant with all your scales and arpeggios and chord patterns you will not be slowed down by being confronted with lots of notes. You will recognize these as the patterns you have become familiar with in your daily practice in the same way that your verbal vocabulary enables you to read fluently by recognition of familiar words. Only a strange or unfamiliar word slows down your rhyt and chordal patterns, and spot traffic problems before you get to them!


As an examiner and one who has had to audition players for college entrance and for jobs in orchestras you must believe me that there are more mistakes made in the reading of rhythms than any other area. I honestly believe that most errors are caused simply by not understanding the basic relationship between simple and compound time, beats which are divisible by 2-4-8-16 or by 3-6-12. This is music theory, not flute-playing. Listen to lots of music whilst reading the scores helps, particularly if there are only a few parts as in string quartets. Imagine you are playing and listen to hear if you get caught out. Also listen to different styles particularly jazz and ethnic music where poly-rhythms and asymmetrical beat groups, (9/8 as three quarters and three eighths for example) occur frequently. Study the most influential composers of each period to assess the type of rhythms they use.


You need to listen to a lot of recordings together with the scores to begin to understand this difficult subject. In its simplest form it is knowing which notes to play long and which to play short---very true for baroque and jazz styles. Also when to minimize emotional input and when to maximize it. Nothing worse than Bach sounding like Brahms..or vice versa. And play what the composer wrote, not what you think he meant. There is a thin line between an individual approach which is within the parameters of good taste within a woodwind section and that which is merely showing off and likely to alienate both your colleagues and the conductor, who after all thinks he is God!! (but all orchestral players know not to be the case!)


Always take time to assess the problem which confronts YOU. Is it notes, rhythm, style? Spot the traffic hazards before you get to them.The panel are more impressed with someone who gives an expressive, stylish and convincing rendition which is in tune with the odd wrong note, than a note- perfect and out-of-tune mechanical performance. Do not panic. Take a few good deep breaths while you are looking at the passage, assessing its key, speed and style... music theory again. Always have a silent performance before you launch into tempo to avoid belly flops! IF you make a complete idiot of yourself when you know you ought to have done better just turn politely to the panel and say to them "I am sorry, I know I can play that much better" .....then make sure that you do. If you do, they will admire your composure, if you don't they might admire your cheek!

It is good to note what works have recently been played by the orchestra or band. If the principal flute has had to struggle with a passage recently he often has it far forward in the memory and might like to hear how you cope. Of course if he or she has had trouble with it and you play won't get the job!! Sometimes it pays to play a good psychological game.

36. What computer software is available for musicians?
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(From David Dahl)


If the goal is to print sheet music, the correct tool is one designed for this purpose. There are a variety of notation packages available with levels of complexity from low to high, with corresponding price tags. Two of the more fully featured notation packages: Encore, from Passport Music, and Finale, from Coda, are also complex and can require much sophistication in the user but allow great flexibility. Less complex, and therefore less expensive, products are also available from Passport and Coda, as well as other vendors. MusicTime from Passport is more limited than Encore, but may be sufficient for many needs.


A sequencer is similar in function and purpose to a tape recorder, except that instead of recording audio, the sequencer records notes. Where a tape recorder records sound, a sequencer records that a Ab was played. The power of a sequencer is seen in its ability to allow editing of a performance, including changing key, tempo, dynamics, as well as changing individual notes. Some sequencers also have some notation capabilities, but generally this is not the strongest feature. Sequencers appear to be one of the more popular categories of music software, and there are many to choose from.


A class of music software comes under the category of auto-accompaniment. A popular example is Band-in-a-Box from PG Music. With BIAB, the musician can enter chord changes into a grid of boxes representing measures, choose a musical style, tempo, and key, and play along with the resulting accompaniment. Auto-accompaniment programs are useful for popular styles of music such as jazz, but not for classical music where the accompaniment is rather specific. Auto-accompaniment should be considered a practicing or recreational tool. It is not ordinarily appropriate for performance.

Exotic tools.

The standard methods of entering music into a notation or sequencer program is via a music keyboard or a computer keyboard. Several other methods are available with varying amounts of success. MidiSoft markets a product called MidiScan which allows the musician to scan sheet music and convert the result into a form that can be manipulated by a notation or sequencer program. This product, and others like it, produce a representation of the original music that is from 70% to 90% correct depending on a variety of factors. The bottom line is that there is always a certain amount of editing required. For some musicians who are skillful, playing the music on a music keyboard is much quicker than the scanning method.

Another tool for recording into a sequencer might be generally called a "Pitch-to-MIDI" converter. The dream is to be able to play one's flute into a microphone, and print out the sheet music. While such products are marketed, I am not aware of any that provide satisfactory results.

37. What are Straubinger pads.
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(from Larry Krantz)

Straubinger pads have come up often in the past but it never hurts to get more points of view on a topic. I have been using and recommending these pads for a few years now and have nothing but good things to say about them. To put it very simply, these pads are extremely finely constructed so as to be about as flat and even as a pad can get. They fit extremely precisely in each key cup so as to minimize slipping. When my fist set were installed several years ago, the repair person had to measure each key cup and then send those measurements to Straubinger so that the pads could be built to fit each cup. I don't know if this is still standard procedure. The pads are quite firm so that warping is not a real concern.

Some drawbacks are that the flute tone holes must be extremely level and without pits, and key alignment is extremely touchy with these pads. If one is kind to the flute mechanism when assembling and disassembling the flute then these pads are simply wonderful. When all is right, it takes almost no finger pressure to completely seat the pad. I was so impressed with the Straubinger pad that just one month after having my old Powell #757 done I was back at the shop with my other Powell. After four years both sets of pads have stood the test of time very well. Only a couple of them have been changed due to wear and tear.

(From Martin)

Traditional pads have skin wrapped around a felt ring with card backing. Felt is never quite even, and the pads end up neither flat nor round. This makes it more difficult to make them work. Straubinger attempts to solve these problems by making the pads a lot more accurate. Under the usual skin they have a thin layer of some soft foam, and a thick plastic ring. They come in many more sizes, eg. there are eight diameter sizes between 17 and 18mm, as compared to usual 0.5mm increments. They work well on flutes with sturdy, accurate mechanism.

(From Scott Hirsch)

STRAUBINGER PAD: Flutemaker David Straubinger began his search for the perfect pad in the mid-1970's. In his judgement a properly adjusted pad is one that when touched to the tone hole, and before any compression of the cushion, it will be touching around the entire rim of the tone hole. He searched hard for a synthetic material to use as a covering and a cushion in the pad and decided that Goldbeater skin was still the best material available for the covering. I believe the pad is not felt, as in the conventional flute, but a synthetic cushion.

The Straubinger Pad is designed specifically for hand-made flutes. The patented pad support unit and profiled washers are machined to close tolerances, one at a time, on a high precision lathe. The actual installation of the Straubinger Pad requires careful preparation of the flute. Special tools are required to perform this work. Only Straubinger trained technicians can buy pads from David because he doesn't want his pads to get a bad name from improper installation.

If you wanted to talk about installing these pads on your flute, you can contact David Straubinger at Straubinger Flutes, 2521 East Southport Road, Indianapolis, Indiana 46227. 317-784-3012

38. How can I find a flute teacher?
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(From Larry Krantz)

As in life, flute teachers do not come with a guarantee or with a manual. They do however come with a set of credentials. I would suggest that one way to assess if a flute teacher is good or not is to take a look at the teacher's track record both as a performer and as a teacher. If you like what you see and hear then possibly the teacher will be the one for you. It has been my experience that any good teacher requires a good student to do the job effectively. No single teacher can have the answers to all questions.

Geoffrey Gilbert once said that his students should pay close attention to everything that he said, give each and every idea a fair try, and then discard the 90% that doesn't work for the student and retain the extremely useful 10% that does work. My private lesson studies have included extensive work with at least a dozen teachers and I can honestly say that some were of more benefit than others but not one was bad for me. Each teacher had something to offer and it was my responsibility as a student to discover what that was.

Like you, I would love to find a clear and easy way to identify who are the good and bad teachers but since playing any instrument is such a personal thing there are as many ways of playing and teaching as there are players. A personal chemistry exists between each student and each teacher that can not be duplicated. When the chemistry is right and the teacher has a great track record then the end result is most likely going to be good.

39. Teaching tips.
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(From Helen Spielman)

From a workshop given by Eileen Yarrison of State College, PA.

1. Have students show you good *and* bad hand position.

2. Get the student to tune to you. Then say "make it bad" and they will probably go flat. Then say "make it sharp." This way, the student learns not only how to tune but how to hear out-of-tuneness.

3. When teaching vibrato, have them blow straight on their own palm and your palm. Then have them blow with vibrato on your palm and their palm.

4. To teach the TKT KTK pattern for double tonguing, use the phrase "Tickle Two Kitty Cats."

5. When the tongue and the fingers don't match, have them pay more attention to the tongue.

6. To teach phrasing use a sentence like the following and emphasize each different word.
*I* am going to the store.
I *am* going to the store.
I am *going* to the store.
I am going *to* the store.
I am going to *the* store.
I am going to the *store.*
Then do the same thing with phrasing in the music.

7. Send a note home to the student with praise - but don't tell them, Slip it into their book so they'll find it at home.

And a few tidbits from the Pedagogy open discussion forum with Jim Walker:

1. Tell a young student to "practice each exercise three times" rather than saying "Practice for 15 minutes."

2. Send home mystery songs - music without the title on it. They need to figure out how to play it and figure out what the song is (use songs that are familiar to them).

3. A beginning method book that is in the form of all duets is by Zoltan Jeney and published by Musica Budapest.

(From Sheena Gordon)

I don't cover these areas separately in lessons. I teach any theory as it is required to play the various repertoire and exercises. I explain and help them understand elementary theory as it comes up in beginners' method books. Tone, technique, studies and varied repertoire are the staple lesson diet. The rest, I teach spontaneously as the need or the idea occurs, in order to illustrate and explain mood, atmosphere, etc. As for younger or older students, I think my approach differs only in the way one instinctively adjusts one's conversation to suit the recipient. If they understand, are on the same wavelength, and want to know, it is easy to stimulate them further in any direction. If they "switch off" or are uninterested, I either try harder to find the right buttons to push, or I back off. Like you I lend tapes, CDs, books, show pictures, encourage concert going and ensemble playing. I can't play the piano, so I accompany as much as I can, playing the bass line or interesting bits on the flute.

This is how a typical productive lesson might go:

Yesterday I was teaching Bach's A minor Partita to Thomas, a bright fifteen year old. We discussed where the bars and phrases were going, how certain notes should be brought out because they show the harmony and the skeleton of the phrase, act as spurs to drive the sequences forward, or need to be reflected upon. Do we draw attention to them by playing them louder, softer, with more or less energy, or with subtlety, by giving them a special sound. Listen to how the changes of key affect the mood and tone, or cadences show where there is a (brief) resting point. Do we rest to have some sort of conclusion, continue with renewed energy, or stop to examine an extraordinary moment. See how the repeated patterns generate energy, building up until they climax, are released and wind down.

I love the logic in Bach. He so often says "On the one hand...On the other hand...and then concludes. Look how he makes a statement, then turns it on its head, sometimes leaving a question. What goes up must come down. Bach loved numerology. My pupil got quite excited when he thought one passage built up like a stepped pyramid, and then showed me how.

During all this we compared playing this piece to Itzak Perlman's recording of Bach's Solo Violin Sonatas, a CD which I had lent him, and which Thomas loved. We thought about what kind of bowing would suit it, and how it relates to breath pressure and tonguing. We remembered how the violin bows looked in Disney's Fantasia, and how he made shapes and patterns with the ends of the bows so that we could "see" the sequences. How would it sound in a church or cathedral? That led to comparing blocks of stone gradually built into arches, columns, flying buttresses and vaulted ceilings; walking along passages which open out to beautiful stained glass windows. How does this relate to Bach's music and its structure?

I gave him a Taffanel exercise to reinforce practice on the most suitable articulation, and a tone exercise from Trevor Wye to help him diminuendo quickly, with support, in varying colours. We both felt exhilarated at the end of the lesson.

Now, with another pupil who is musically very wooden, I could have jumped up and down, turned myself inside out, bashed my head against a brick wall, and still found myself unable to make a difference in the way she expressed the music. Still, one keeps trying in the hope that something will catch the imagination and work.

40. Tonguing/Articulation Tips.
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(From Dr. Robin Jakeways)

Keep the notes long. I advise people to "blow through" the note, ie try and keep the air going all the time even though it is actually cut off briefly.

As for syllables: TK is OK but can be a bit explosive and makes life very difficult at the bottom of the low register. DG (no voice needed) is softer but has anyone tried S CH with the CH as in Scottish "loch" or, if you can't tackle a Scottish sound, soft German "ch" or Dutch "g"? The main thing is that the sound is not actually cut off completely but is modulated. I can double tongue quite successfully on low C even on my (Boehm) wooden flute using this technique. It's well worth practicing and produces a nice "detached legato" rather similar to the effect violinists produce when they play detached notes in one bow (not bounced).

(From Patricia George)

I start in 2/4 time with three eighth notes and an eighth rest--doing tkt rest- in the middle range of the flute. Then increasing four sixteenths and an eighth and rest etc. The reason that this works has to do with muscle memory. The muscles remember things better by stopping and starting rather than continuous movement.

A professor in physical education here did a big study about teaching floor routines in gymnastics (I think the gymnastic capital is in Salt Lake City). He puts forth the idea that if you break the routine into small "chunks" with stops in between, the muscles learn the movement with more clarity. Interesting. I also teach vibrato this way. Very, very quick method. Also, if you haven't incorporated the forward tonguing or "French tonguing" in your technique this is the way to go. It is much faster and clearer. (Thi-cka--rhymes with Flicka).

(From Sheena Gordon)

"But can you do single tonguing.....tongued at the embouchure hole? This seems to have the potential to create a sloppy sound in quickly articulated passages."

Yes, it is true that the potential exists to create a sloppy sound when tonguing between the lips, but when it is done well, it can sound really crisp and immediate in response. I think there is a limit to the number of ways you can write sounds representing single or double tonguing, hence the possibility for confusion. I use a variety of positions, double tonguing included, depending on what sort of attack is required by the music, from between the lips, through the lower edge of the top teeth to behind the teeth.

In the early stages, I usually teach pupils to tongue where they normally say "te", just behind the top of the tooth. "Spitting grains of rice" is a good description of tonguing between the lips or teeth in such a way that the embouchure is small and focussed, and the tongue stays forward and relaxed. In previous discussions on articulation on the list, it has been mentioned that the different vowel sounds, "oo" or the French "u" affect the position of the tongue, and the immediacy of response.

If you compare tonguing with bowing technique, you'll see that the possibilities are endless. As Trevor Wye says, "It just a matter of time, patience and intelligent work." :-)

41. How should trills be executed?
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(From Rick Wilson)

The upper note start for trills was predominant throughout the entire classical period.

One can find isolated instances of trills to be started on the main note before 1800, and occasional illustrations of such, but I never start a trill on the main note on music before 1828 myself. That was the year J. J. Hummel proposed main note starts for trills in his piano method (he makes it clear that this was an innovation, and that he was only talking about trills on the piano).

Starting trills on the upper auxiliary is essential for harmonic reasons in Baroque music, but became less important at the end of the century. So it is perhaps no sin to start trills on the main note. No big deal. Still, Mozart would have expected to hear upper note starts for all but the quickest twiddles.

I checked a couple sources a few minutes ago. Tromlitz (Unterricht, 1791) says the trill always takes an appoggiatura unless a melody *starts* with a trill, in which case the appoggiatura is optional. Hugot and Wunderlich (Methode de Flute, 1804) show all trills beginning with the upper note. In his Elements of Flute-Playing (1829), Thomas Lindsay says "Theorists are not agreed whether the Shake should begin with the upper or lower note; it is, consequently, performed as often one way as the other. In quick movements, it is frequently desirable to commence with the upper note..."

(From another post by Rick Wilson)

[I recommend] the books by Donnington and others (avoid Neumann, in my opinion) on baroque interpretation and ornamentation. They cover the obligatory ornaments (written and unwritten) well.

But for *free ornamentation* in particular, one must study contemporary examples. This includes Telemann's 'methodical sonatas' and Quantz's ornamented adagio. DO NOT NEGLECT to read carefully Quantz's instructions for dynamics in his ornamentation, as well as the rest of the chapter on 'the adagio'.

Some thoughts and opinions: There is much more inflection intended in free ornamentation than seems to be commonly understood; too many performers seem to be afraid to occasionally relax their sound and barely touch a note, or leave small silences between notes, in baroque adagios. Like speech where some syllables are stressed and others tossed away, there should be constant ebb and flow, give and take, light and shadow, waxing and waning. Also, ornaments should *sound like ornaments*, not as if they were composed in advance, even if they were. They should sound extemporaneous and sometimes playful or teasing. An appoggiatura on a quarter note should not sound like two composed slurred eighths; do something, anything, to avoid sounding like two even eighth notes (the most common thing being to make it a 'sigh' by diminuendo-ing).

Telemann and Quantz are somewhat 'galant', however. For info on free ornamentation in an earlier (Italianate) style, e.g. for use in Handel's Opus 1, it is very useful to study the ornamented version (published by Roger, Amsterdam, 1710) of Corelli's Opus 5 sonatas for violin. Corelli's sonatas were arranged/transposed for recorder in the first years of the 18th century and for flute in Paris in 1750. A nice modern edition of the latter, for flute, is published by Zen-on and contains transpositions of the violin ornaments as well as the original solo line. Also, No.3 and No.4 were published for recorder by Walsh (London, 1707) in versions with excellent ornaments, different than the violin ornaments, by an 'eminent master'. There are modern editions by Musica Rara and Hargail. These recorder versions should work very well on Boehm flute; the range will be more comfortable than the versions for violin or baroque flute.

I must not forget to mention the wonderful anthology "Free Ornamentation in Woodwind Music, 1700-1775" by Batty Bang Mather and David Losocki (McGinnis & Marx).

42. What does the C# trill key do?
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C# trill key photo: John Rayworth

(From Jean Mattoon)

Written by Edward Johnson, Principal Flute, Newton Symphony Orchestra copyright (c) 1984 for Brannen Brothers Flutemakers Inc.

Many people have asked about the C# trill key and what it does. The very name of the key causes confusion. Actually, this mechanism is one of the most useful on the flute. Basically, it moves several left hand movements to the right hand and simplifies a number of trills. It also provides an additional vent which clarifies several notes and octaves. The following examples will illustrate some of its many functions.


B to C# in the first and second octaves: Simply finger B and trill the C# trill key. The intonation is better and a two finger trill is eliminated.

High F# to G#: Finger high F# and trill the C# trill key. Anyone who has played the Grand Canyon Suite will appreciate this one.

C to C#, both octaves: This is a faster trill and allows for a more comfortable feel.

High G to Ab: Better in tune, and far more comfortable.

High G to A: Finger high G and trill the C# trill key AND the upper trill key. This trill alone is worth the price of the key.

High Ab to Bb: This trill, which shows up in many Mahler Symphonies, is played by fingering high Ab and trilling BOTH trill keys AND the C# trill key. The trill will be in tune.

Tremolos and shakes: First octave C, B, Bb, A, Ab and G can be tremoloed with C# by just using the C# trill key. The same notes can all be tremoloed with D natural by using the C# trill key and first trill key in combination. These notes may require some pitch adjustment, but there is no easy way to do these effects.

The use of the trill keys and the C# trill in combination can produce many startling effects, and experimentation can be very rewarding.


Pianissimo high Ab: How many of us have tried to play this note softly, and keep pitch and sonority? Play middle Ab with ALL the left hand keys depressed, add the C# trill and the high Ab will appear softly, and in tune.

Debussy C#: The middle C# which opens "L'apres-midi d'une faune" is often raw and hard to color. Use the C# trill key while fingering B natural, and you will get a C# which is full and able to be colored without losing pitch, since the resistance of the note is increased.

A word about mechanism is probably in order. Since this key has its own rod, it will not interfere with or complicate the existing mechanism. The placement of the key lever is not clumsy, since it is above and to the left of the Bb shake. A few moments of playing will convince the player of the ease of operation of both keys.

Careful comparison of identical flutes, with and without the C# trill, have convinced us that the additional hole does not affect tone.

There are many other effects which the C# trill could produce, and the ingenuity of flutists and composers will create and fulfill new demands. The modern flutist would do well to consider the C# trill an integral part of the instrument.

43. Is it a good idea to practice with a tuner?
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(From Alexa Still)

I think Tuners are most helpful if you play against them, actually training yourself to do intervals. I think, most of the time, it isn't possible to play in tune, and actually be "in tune" with the tuner- A tuner can't be sympathetic to the context at all- tempered, untempered, too hot, too cold, ridiculously uncooperative notes on someone else's horn etc. I do use my tuner to watch that I don't change pitch with dynamics, and to see if I've gone overboard on "fixing" one of *my* out of tune notes. I'm very good at going too far....Playing in tune, as many others said, is having the control to play *with* others, what ever that may be or may require.

(From -jz)

I think "tuner" is a big misnomer. A "tuner" doesn't tune anything, it just measures the frequency of a sound. It has a needle (or lights) that is centered when the sound it hears matches a frequency that corresponds to a note in a scale that is equally tempered (i.e. piano scale). As we know, or should, the equal tempered scale is the one that was cleverly designed to almost never actually be in tune, even with itself.

Really playing in tune absolutely requires ears, knowledge, care, and skill. It requires a knowledge in some depth of how harmony works, and an ear for intervals. It does not, on the other hand, require a particular flute, although some flutes make it less tiring to play in tune than others, The main things to remember in tuning, I think, are:

1. Notes are not in or out of tune, intervals are. In choosing what pitch to play you must adapt to the harmonic context.

2. Tuners, pianos and xylophones are out of tune with themselves. They can be very disconcerting if you don't take this into account. Playing with a piano can actually give you a weird feeling about your pitch until you realize that it's the piano that wrong, not you.

3. Playing in tune, particularly in complex harmonies, is very difficult, and intonation is sometimes a matter of choosing a compromise (together). Showing that you can make the needle on the tuner be in the center usually doesn't prove a thing, except sometimes that you are clueless.

4. When adjusting the head on a flute (tuning) remember that your goal is find a position that will allow you to play in tune with the least effort, in all musical contexts. To do that simply playing back an A is not good enough. Take that Irish fellow's advice and play arpeggios to check that the head position is optimal for the whole range and for your "normal" embouchure.

44. Vibrato tips.
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(From Jerry Pritchard)

We need to be able to play vibrato at all speeds and depths of intensity so that we can match the context and mood of the music being played. I like to practice vibrato both freely or with speed accelerating with the increase in dynamic or intensity level AND also in specific rhythms where I can focus attention on the degree and frequency of modulation of the pulses.

More and more I am convinced that a true vibrato only works musically within a certain range of speed--too slow and it becomes a rhythm superimposed on the composer's intentions and too fast and it begins to be a bleating tremolo. The thing I love about the playing of the really great flutists (Bennett, Galway, Baker, Rampal, etc) is their ability to play a fairly rapidly moving melodic line with a vibrato that projects the sound in a legato fashion w/o interfering (or even being consciously noticeable.)

Part of the difficulty is in needing to avoid having the vibrato continually begin and end in synch with the pulse of the composition. That is, the vibrato needs to be independent of the tempo of the piece or at least not coinciding with it.

One way around this problem is to work primarily in vibrato groups of 5 or 7 which are at least asymmetrical and usually don't land on top of a rhythmic group of 3s, 4s, 6s, or 8s, which are most common. Ultimately, we have to integrate the vibrato into our playing and remember that playing with rhythmic pulses is an exercise to gain control (a calisthenic), not the sport itself. Doing pushups is not really gymnastics, let alone the art of Dance.

Vibrato after all is a flexible expressive device to add intensity and resonance and variety to the flute tone, but we can also play musically without it: I recently spent two weeks playing entirely without vibrato after hearing a tape of Jan Boland playing the Mozart Flute Quartet in D without vibrato. Her sound was so expressive, clear, musical and well-shaded in intensity--all without the aid of vibrato. In my own practice, I found I was forced to listen more intently to dynamics, color, nuance, note ending, etc. It was tough to go "cold turkey", but very beneficial.

(From John Rayworth)

It is important that vibrato is relatively fast on high notes and slow on low notes whether or not the high or low notes are fff or ppp. Therefor it is essential to be able to have a fast vibrato for a ppp higher note.

Listen to yourself playing a very fast vibrato on a very low note and a very slow vibrato on a very high note - it sounds terrible. Reverse the speeds and ALL OTHER THINGS BEING EQUAL you should sound ok.

I think it is important to practise your vibrato sensibly with a metronome when developing your technique. Throw it (the metronome) away then or you might become very mechanical.

Try say 2 pulses, 4 pulses, 6 pulses, 8 pulses at say mmn = 40

Then increment the metronome upwards gradually and repeat the above for as much as possible. Do it fff and ppp say if that is your problem.

The object of the above is NOT to obtain a mechanical unnatural vibrato (there is a danger here) but to exercise your ability to vary vibrato speed (at all volumes if you wish)

(From Larry Krantz)

This is an extremely important topic that has never proven easy for flute players to talk about. I would have to say that vibrato for a flute player is extremely important indeed. Vibrato is one of the key elements in flute playing that helps define the emotional content of the music. Having an ability to create the widest possible array or levels of emotional content would seem to be a desirable goal for any flute player. In other words, learning to control the depth and speed of vibrato is an important flute skill and worthy of much attention.

I would highly recommend reading 'The Gilbert Legacy' by Angelita Floyd and spending some time thinking about the suggestions in Chapter VII (Expressive Nuances of Sound). There are many useful comments by Geoffrey Gilbert and Jimmy Galway about vibrato production and various ways to develop the skill. There is also an extremely useful section devoted to Vibrato in Trevor Wye's 'Practice Book for the Flute Volume 4'. The explanations are clear and Trevor has also provided short melodies that are wonderfully suited to working on developing the skill.

Vibrato production can often become a controversial issue and it is exceedingly difficult to find the words that can adequately describe the process. Listening intently to recordings of a wide variety of players doing music of different style periods may provide much insight into the nature and use of vibrato. I suspect that this is not really the answer that you were hoping for. Unfortunately there rarely are quick and easy answers to the complicated questions. :-))

45. What are Whistle Tones?
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(from Larry Krantz)

If you relax your lips as much as you can and then blow more softly than you can imagine through a very small opening then a series of the most wonderful little tones will begin to emerge from your flute. Sometimes pulling the corners of your mouth down as in forming a frown will help to make the whistle tones begin to appear. Once these very small sounds begin to emerge you can then try experimenting with the size of your aperture to focus on just one pitch and try to make it as clear and stable as possible. I once played an esoteric type of 60's aleatoric piece that called for an unspecified length of whistle tones. When the whistle tones actually begin to happen you will hear an other worldly type of small sound that just happens to be most suitable for a North American Halloween event. For those of you who know, this is not a Halloween prank but a very real flute thing.

(From Michael Neumann)

>>Does anyone know of any good method books which include or are specifically devoted to whistle tone exercises?<<

Peter Lukas Graf: CHECK UP includes whistle tones. (SCHOTT) a very good book to use for your daily practice sessions.

46. Will braces affect my playing?
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(from Larry Krantz)

I have had a remarkably varied set of experiences with regard to braces and flute students. This will date me a bit but braces were a rare happening when I was in my early teens and over the years I have definitely noticed a marked increase in the appearance of the wire grin in my studio. More often than not a student who has already begun developing a focus to the tone and an ability to direct the air stream with some degree of accuracy goes through a frustrating period after acquiring braces.

There seems to be no set period of adjustment time and each student reacts to the hardware differently. I have never encountered a student for whom the braces did not represent at least a small set back and for others the experience is just short of traumatic. In one instance I had a student who simply could not make the air hit the lip plate for several weeks after getting wired. To her credit she remained diligent and dedicated. After what seemed like and eternity she began to find the new position and flute sounds were once again a possibility.

To make a difficult situation even worse, it is common practice to have the wiring adjusted quite often which causes the student to go through another adjustment period each time. In one instance I actually spoke at length with the parents of a particularly able young student who was scheduled for braces. My main concern was to ensure that they were aware of the possibility that the dental work might interrupt his progress and to prepare them for the potential slowing down of progress.

(From Patricia George)

I have also had many, many students with braces. One of the things that I do seems to really help getting the air lined up with the embouchure hole. I usually use 1, 2, or 3 pieces of masking tape (you can use a postage stamp too) cut to fit the embouchure plate next to the chin. We experiment to see which thickness is best. Most seem to use 2. This puts the flute a bit away from the chin artificially and for some reason makes it possible for the student to get a sound with the same embouchure that they had before.

Periodically, we replace the masking tape (hopefully once a week, because it does get dirty and worn) wiping the lip plate off with alcohol first. This has saved many tears over the years. Unfortunately, it doesn't work for all. I also have the students do a lot of harmonic type exercises. Carmine Coppola has some interesting ones in his book on playing the flute.

47. What do you do on bad playing days?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Who ever it was who first said that the only sure things in life are death and taxes was surely right on the mark. For all of us there are great days and there are not so great days for playing. I'm never entirely sure what will happen until the first note comes out and by then I just have to go with what i've got. I have attributed bad playing days to not enough rest, too much rest, not enough food, too much food, hall is too warm, hall is too hot, hall is too live, hall is too dry, piano is too sharp, piano is too flat... the list goes on forever. :-)) I think that all we can do as players is try to learn over time what seems to work for each of us. We each need to discover how much preparation is needed to get the job done, how much fuel to feed the body, and how much rest to give the mind and muscles before each kick at the can. I know that if there were a sure fire way to guarantee that each day would be a perfect day for playing then someone would surely have discovered the formula and made a fortune sharing it with the rest of us. I'd give just about anything to sound like Jimmy on a not so good day but I am not all that displeased with my product on those rare good days for me. I remember bombing on a piece in a masterclass with Geoffrey Gilbert and afterward he assured me that the world would continue to rotate and that I should try to learn from my experience. I don't recall ever playing a piece as well as I would some day like to so I guess that each stroll out to the stage is another opportunity to learn more. Those are my thoughts with regard to your interesting message.

48. How do you adjust the screw thing on the headjoint?
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(from Larry Krantz)

The "screw thing on the headjoint" is called a crown and it attaches to a rod which runs through the cork in the head. This cork needs to be adjusted to be in an exact position inside the head so as to correctly set the overall length of the flute. If you have a tuning/cleaning rod (long metal or wood rod with an eye at one end and a mark at the other) you can use the end with the mark to check the cork setting. When inserted completely into the head the mark should should be located in the center of the blow hole on the lip plate. Turning or tightening the crown will draw the cork up the head and thus lengthen the flute. When the cork is badly out of alignment the flute will not play well in tune with it's self. One caution, don't try to remove the cork by pushing it out the top of the head - it's not meant to do that. I do hope these words are helpful. Happy cork adjusting!!

49. How can I improve my high notes?
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(from Larry Krantz)

High notes on the flute require the utmost attention to embouchure, breath control, posture and fingering. The theory is deceptively simple - if the air speed is quick enough and the direction high enough then the upper notes will just happen assuming correct fingerings. Finding the correct balance between air speed and direction seems to be the key. I would caution that patience is a virtue in extending the range upward. It is all too easy to over tighten the lips and to blow far too hard. Many of my students experience much success using the overtone or harmonic series as part of their tone exercise practice. Volume I of 'Practice Book for the Flute' by Trevor Wye has a fine description of this approach. A second approach would be to work on 'Whistle' or 'Whisper' tones. This was discussed at length on the list several weeks ago. At the time I offered the following description:

"If you relax your lips as much as you can and then blow more softly than you can imagine through a very small opening then a series of the most wonderful little tones will begin to emerge from your flute. Sometimes pulling the corners of your mouth down as in forming a frown will help to make the whistle tones begin to appear. Once these very small sounds begin to emerge you can then try experimenting with the size of your aperture to focus on just one pitch and try to make it as clear and stable as possible. When the whistle tones actually begin to happen you will hear an other worldly type of small sound that just happens to be most suitable for a North American Halloween event."

I would also suggest spending time with the first section of 'De La Sonorite' by Marcel Moyse. Much can be learned by reading the words of Moyse regarding tone in the high register and by working on the exercises in a slow and methodical manner.

50. Do masterclasses have any real value?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Over the years I have had the incredible opportunity to spend about 40 hours in masterclass with Geoffrey Gilbert, 14 hours with Peter Lloyd and 12 hours with Louis Moyse. When I compare those experiences with fourteen years of private lessons with a variety of wonderful teacher/players I conclude that the masterclass experiences were of a value that could not be matched by all of those private lessons. I don't mean to down play the importance of the lessons but they provided an entirely different approach to learning than did the masterclasses. The masterclasses allowed me to observe master teachers apply vast experience and knowledge with many different players who displayed a multitude of skills and problems. When it was my turn to take the stage I gained valuable insights into my own problems and ability to produce under pressure but it was in the careful observation of how others reacted and how the master guided the process that I learned the most about music making. I collected pages of notes from these classes and have returned to those notes many times to refresh my memory. I can't say the same for the private lessons. I don't recall ever thinking of Gilbert, Lloyd or Moyse as a super-stars but rather as consummate musicians with vast experiences that they were ready and willing to share with me. The classes offered in depth facts about flute playing but also demonstrated clearly how one approaches the broad aspects of creating musical expressions in a somewhat real performance venue. I have had many private lessons with some of the best, including Mr. Gilbert, but I remain convinced that the class setting was of extreme value to me.

51. Are performance exams fair and of any value?
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(from Larry Krantz)

I would suggest that few things in life are truly fair and that music exams and auditions are certainly not exempt from that reality. As in all human endeavours there are people who do wonderful jobs and those who do not. Reality is such that landing a playing job and then keeping it requires something similar to an examination or audition each day and one must be fully aware of how to handle these situations. I see no better way to learn how to deal with being constantly tested than through experiencing a great deal of testing. Any examiner who is not familiar with the characteristics of the instrument he/she is examining or who is unaware of matters regarding tuning should not be in the position of being an examiner. I would seriously doubt that examiner incompetence is a large issue in the grand scheme of things. I would further suggest that learning to perform while under pressure is one aspect of the examination/audition experience that can be entirely unaffected by the credentials or abilities of the examiner. There are times when examiner comments can be of much value in the learning process but I tend to believe that the strongest value is to be found in the doing of the exam rather than in the final grade or comments.

52. How high should the music stand be when playing?
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(from Larry Krantz)

The height of a music stand is important not only for the visual but also the musical experience of the audience. Geoffrey Gilbert was a real stickler on music stand height. His point of view was that the player is there to share with the audience and having a big black obstacle between the player and the audience did nothing to enhance that sharing process. He often commented that the stand sometimes appeared to be a first line of defense between the poor scared flute player and the mean audience. At one master class he was not pleased with my obvious attachment to the stand so he dragged the thing about fifteen feet to my right and then made me play. Memory suddenly became quite a concern (that's another topic altogether) but the class did comment that my performance was instantly improved due to the lack of my ability to play to the stand and not to the audience. I find that adjusting the stand height to varying levels can be of great use in the teaching studio. When students tend to bury themselves in the stand I often pull it up to full height which causes them to assume a completely different posture. I then gradually lower the stand while encouraging them to retain the tall stance. In Alexa's words "looking down the nose" is not a difficult task. I certainly recognize the importance of taking visual problems into account but a generally low setting for the music stand seems to be a pretty good idea to me.

53. Are there national schools of tone quality?
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(from Larry Krantz)

For many years there seemed to be a commonly held opinion that there was an "American" as opposed to a "French" as opposed to an "English" as opposed to a "German" flute sound. I do believe that these concepts of geographical sound categorization have been pretty much broken down by the availability of fine recordings and the amount of touring by world class players that has gone on over the past thirty or forty years. I once asked Israel Borouchoff about this very subject and his response was that he believed that North American flute players tended to play louder simply because of poor acoustics in the modern halls. Israel was trained in Bulgaria, then worked in Israel, and then came to New York to study and play so his perspective was quite broad on the subject. The French Flute School has greatly influenced the development of flute sound but I do think that each culture, each nationality, and each player searches for his/her own concept of a beautiful tone. National borders seem to me to be diminishing in importance as global communication increases. I would say that you and your colleague sound different from each other and that is how it should be. What a sad world it would be if we all sounded exactly the same.

54. Should one practice standing up or sitting? If sitting, what type of chair should one use?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Standing is the norm in my studio. While standing the rib cage can be held up and more open which aids in breathing. Slouching is so much more difficult when one is on the feet. If a chair is a must then I make sure to sit away from the back and arrange things so that the chair back is not interfering with the right arm. I have seen many practice type chairs with a forward sloping seat but never have found one that is really comfortable. I have on occasion used a high stool which relieves the weight from the feet but I just don't feel free while in the perched position. I spend several hours each day on my feet and find that I grow more weary when I sit than when I stand to teach and to practice. I don't recall ever having a flute lesson while in the sitting position and must conclude that standing is generally the norm.

(From Courtney Westcott)

I would like add to this discussion some information from my physiotherapy with G.O. van de Klashorst of the Stichting Nederlandse Centrum voor Dispokinesis in Wageningen, The Netherlands. He has been working with musicians from across Europe for sometime helping them to develop an understanding of how one can best activate and use the body's resources in playing music.

Sitting or standing can both be done poorly and adversely affect your playing potential. The strength in the body for supporting air movement can be found in the complex of muscles in the floor of the torso and especially including a triangle shaped muscle on the front side called the pyramidalis (this may be the dutch spelling). Women actually have an advantage here as these are the same muscles for child-birthing. These muscles are activated from the legs and feet. By putting 2/3's of your weight on the front part of your foot the muscles connect through the legs to activate the pyrmidalis.

Think of the spine as a tent pole with two guy wires,in front is the pyrmidalis which can pull the bum under and at the back the muscles in the small of the back will curve the spine the other way (which most of us are well familiar with!) and lengthen the muscles in front. Care must be taken to keep the knees slightly bent and not lean backwards with the upper torso or muscles in the upper abdomen will be tense and prevent a full inhalation of breath. It is possible to be well grounded from the hips down and very relaxed and free from the hips up. A similar feeling is the same "readiness" you feel when you are about to receive a serve when playing tennis. Observe a cat just before it pounces. A light state of active readiness but not tense.

For sitting one needs to find a position that will allow for the same use of the body. For starters the chair you use should be 3 inches higher than the knee joint. The seat should have a forward incline of 6 degrees. I have a chair cushion from the Dispokine Centre that is a hard foam, 2 inches high at the back and tapering over 12 inches to the front. If you have a flat chair of the right height you could add a block of 2" at the back to try this out. With this set-up it is possible to use the legs again for support in the same manner as standing. You also want to be positioned on the front side of the "sitting bones" the joint you feel under your hips. In my experience I have come away from practicing or a rehearsal actually feeling better physically from sitting on the cushion than when I started. Klashorst in his research examined the way Belgian lace makers work and organist's benches. Both are doing complex work with their hands and sitting on a positive incline.

This is a quick summary of what I learned over several months doing specific exercises under supervision that retaught me how to sit, stand and use my body effectively. Mr. K use to give an example of how James Galway will sway all around in a slow movement but is completely focused, grounded and still in fast movements. He doesn't have that amazing high register from nothing.

55. When is it legal to copy music in the Public Domain?
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(From Mark Starr)

(1) It has never been illegal to copy anything (whether music or text) that is IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN.

(2) A publisher's copyright (which is the creator's copyright signed over to the publisher) has never covered the notation, physical typesetting, or the layout of a published work as distinct from the musical or textual ideas expressed in any form.

(3) One cannot use a MIDI file to evade legitimate copyright restrictions. If a musical work is still protected by copyright, so is its expression in a MIDI file, and so is any sheet music made from the MIDI file. If the musical work IS in the public domain, you can legally copy the published typesetting or make all the MIDI files you want.

Copyrights protect intellectual property; and in the case of music, they cover only musical ideas and textual content in whatever form they are expressed--whether it be sheet music, sound recordings, MIDI files, etc. For more than a century, reprint houses like Kalmus and Luck's Music have been PHOTO-engraving, selling, and renting thousands of scores and parts that are IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN directly from printed copies typeset and published by others. If you compare their reprints, you will find that most all are exact photographic copies of famous editions with expired copyrights. Occasionally, when they can't find an original copy of an unprotected work that is in good physical condition, they may re-typeset a piece.

The idea that copyright protection can ever apply to notation, layout, or physical typesetting is a common misconception. Reprints of music in the public domain are completely legal and aboveboard. Once, at a music convention, I heard a symposium of the directors of the largest U.S. music publishing houses--including the then director of Kalmus, Lawrence Galison. At question time, someone in the audience stood up and in a scandalized voice said (I paraphrase): "I am shocked that the directors of such famous editions would even sit down at the same table with a pirate like the director of Kalmus! He steals your typesetting and for some reason you don't attack him in public. And you, Mr. Galison, aren't you ashamed of yourself?" All the publishers had a good laugh. Then Galison responded: "What Kalmus and other reprint houses do is completely legal under U.S. law and the laws of foreign countries. The only time I have ever been embarrassed was years ago when (here he mentioned some work by Debussy, which I've forgotten) fell into the public domain both in the U.S. and in France. We reproduced the Durand edition, and I neglected to remove Durand's name from the first page--and I personally apologized to them. And incidentally, when we reproduce scores and parts, we usually make an effort to enter corrections from publishers' errata sheets and orchestras' parts."

Once a work goes into the public domain (be careful!: it does not go into the public domain in every country at the same time), it is totally unprotected. There are no left-over protections--such as protections on arrangements, plagiarism, etc., (and certainly none on notation.) You seem to imply that there are separate copyrights for a publisher and for composers. A work can have only one copyright (even if it is collaboration by several composers and librettists.) When a composer agrees to have a work published, he/she signs over (by contract) his/her copyright to the publisher. The contract between them may state that the composer transfers his rights to the publisher either permanently or for a limited time period. Publishers have never had separate copyrights on their notation, layout, or typesetting. The closest thing to a copyright on notation that I can imagine might be a visual artist claiming rights to a collage that included some printed music notation. (Just because someone claims copyright protection, that doesn't mean that a judge or jury will back him/her up.) For graphic composer's like Sylvano Bussotti and George Crumb, where the visual aspect of a page of autographed music might be considered a separate work of art, that might (or might not) be relevant.

You can check out all of the provisions of current U.S. Copyright Law at the website of the Library of Congress. Their publication "Copyright Basics" explains all the important provisions. Their URL is:

The rest of your post was about the inconveniences that the new law has placed upon people who want to use copyrighted material for "fair use." The "fair use" doctrine was modified in 1978 because so many people terribly abused (and to this day still continue to abuse) the 1909 law's blanket permission that the profitability--and even the existence--of virtually every music publishing house in the world was threatened by the wide availability of photocopying machines. How many teachers have reproduced entire pieces as examples or study pieces for their students? How many school choruses and church choirs have bought just one copy of a choral piece--and then photocopied copies for each of the choristers? When people (including educators and church music directors) abuse a privilege to this degree, one should expect the privilege to be abridged. But as it stands today, all one has to do is fill out a form from the Music Publisher's Association--and permission is quickly determined. Their address on the Web is:

56. What is the Split-E option?
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to several split E photos: John Rayworth

(From John Rayworth)

The split E mechanism facilitates the production of top E and spoils some of the upper note trills - thanks to this list I CAN now trill top G/A

Some flutes appear to benefit from a split E more than others.

Some players seem to benefit from a split E more than others.

A split E is difficult, expensive though not impossible to fit on in-line mechanisms. It does cause some mechanical problems on in line mechanisms on SOME flutes.

A switchable split E can be fitted (easily) - switch the mechanism off for passages with the difficult upper octave trills.

Many people agree that the open G sharp mechanism is the best system, and the note production on that system for top E is identical to having a split E. Players of open G sharp flutes (Oh I envy them) do not have "spoilt lips"

Any reasonable player should be able to cope adequately without a split E.

The upper F sharp which tends to have similar difficulties in production as a top E is not affected by the split E mechanism. BUT for some players the addition of a split E mechanism makes them notice that the top F sharp is difficult (the only difficult note ?) and they then get a "thing" about that note.

I started with my flute having no split E. I got a flute maker to fit one (at a considerably cheaper price than the original difference in price -Muramatsu) and I have NO regrets.

It can be a very personal thing.

For a student on a closed hole system who is definitely going to progress to open hole in line system - it might be of some long term benefit not to start with a split E - on the basis that their new flute probably will not have the mechanism.

(From Tod Brody)

[A split-E mechanism] closes the lower of the two "G" keys when you finger high E. The result, a note that's vented by only the upper G key, is an E that is less prone to cracking, and which has somewhat different tonal properties. (How's that for careful wording? What I mean is that the tone color and pitch are slightly different than they would be without the split E) (Also, it should be noted that a perfectly fine E can be produced without a split E mechanism. I had none for most of my life, and did just fine without it. My current flute has one, and I like it.)

57. Teaching Scales.
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(From Edwin V. Lacy)

> What is the most useful scale pattern to know after majors, minors, and > arpeggios? I am thinking of whole tone scales, pentatonic scales, and the > like. Is it practical to practice variations of chords (seven chords, > diminished, augmented, etc.)?

Here is my routine, usable on all the woodwind instruments. First, the chromatic scale is the most basic exercise, and is a part of the scale routine from the very first day. If I get a college freshman who doesn't have excellent control of the chromatic scale through the entire range of the instrument, I tell them that this must be the first thing in each practice session for the rest of their lives! We play it through the entire range of the instrument, or to the greatest extent of the student's range. Also, for reasons I will mention later, at the fundamental level, all scales are played slurred. This entire routine is done _without_ looking at the scales in written form, or as some students like to say, "from memory."

Next, we play all the major scales, at first one octave, then two, and eventually through the entire range of the instrument, ascending and descending, and in equal note values and with increasing tempos as the student's technique develops.

Then, all the minor scales are added, in all three forms, in the same fashion as the majors.

When these are pretty well under control, I add the two whole-tone scales, then the fully diminished seventh chords (there are only 3 of them) and the augmented triads (four of these). Again, all are done slurred, in equal note values with increasing speed, and through the entire range of the instrument.

As we add more and more to the scale routine, we do not drop any of the parts already covered. It is a matter of always adding to what has previously been learned. But, the student will gain much more facility as time progresses, so that the time devoted to scale and technique practice will not consume too much time. While my students are playing their lessons, they can hardly avoid occasionally glancing over the top of the music stand at a sign I have posted on the other side of the room which reads, "Practice every scale you know every day; you soon will be able to do it in ten minutes or less."

The justification for whole tone scales, diminished sevenths, etc. is this: When you play the chromatic scale, you are practicing the alternation from every note on your instrument to the one a semi-tone above and below it; the whole tone scales accomplish the same thing for the notes a whole tone above and below (two semi-tones); the diminished 7ths for notes a minor third apart (3 semi-tones); and, the augmented triads for notes a major third above and below (4 semi-tones). If desired, this can be continued through Perfect 4ths, tri-tones, Perfect 5ths, etc. Then, when these intervals appear in music we are playing, we have already practiced them, even though the complete structure of one of these patterns may not be included in the music. But, many times, students will be sightreading something which contains whole tone scales or diminished 7ths, and will play it correctly the first time, and stop in amazement, saying, "How is it that I was able to play that?"

All scales are at first slurred because doing so requires and ensures the cleanest technique. If you are articulating, there is that instant when the tongue has interrupted the air column or the vibration of the reed. In that instant, what the fingers are doing is immaterial as far as the production of the tone is concerned. However, in slurred scales and arpeggios, the finger technique must be accurate and clean, or the notes will not speak. Later, articulated patterns are added, and also they appear in etudes, etc.

There are many more scale and arpeggio patterns which can be practiced. If a student is very adept at playing scales, and becomes fascinated with the process, which many do, then I add others. If a student is interested in jazz, that opens up hundreds of additional scales. For example, there are the modal scales (84 of them - 7 modes, 12 keys each), the whole-tone/semi-tone diminished scales, the semi-tone/whole-tone diminished scales, and many variations on all of these, such as the Lydian chromatic series in many versions and with several rotations of each.

My experience has been that students who follow this routine faithfully realize an amazing increase in their technical abilities and the clarity of technique. Always, I insist that scales must be played with the best possible tone quality and with proper breath support, etc.

There is the occasional student who rebels at this entire concept. I am patient with them, and eventually the time comes when they face things in their music that they cannot manage. Often, I can then point out to them passages in the music which are based on or derived from scale patterns. Most of them ultimately come to realize the value of such a routine, and learn their scales. One thing which helps motivate them is that we ask them to play some scales in their jury examinations at the end of each semester!

58. What advantage does the B flat lever have over the F natural key?
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(From Tod Brody)

There are certain passages for which the B-flat lever is the best fingering choice. When connecting with the notes G-flat1, G1, G#1, G-flat2, G2, G#2, or D3, the lever key can be held down *before* moving other fingers to make the connection to B-flat. Thus, no cross-fingering is required, and a smooth connection can be made each time. Conversely, when moving *from* B-flat to any of the notes cited above, the lever can be held down until *after* the other fingers have moved, and then released, and again a smooth connection can be made without cross-fingering. (Cross-fingering is when you have some fingers moving up on one hand at the same time other fingers are moving down on the other hand. It makes smooth connections difficult.) Try going back and forth between G and B-flat in either the first or second octave. Using the "standard" F-key fingering for B-flat, this is a cross-fingering. If you practice it diligently, you might be able to make it sound smooth most of the time. Now try the same using the lever. Note that the lever is held down the whole time - it doesn't affect the G at all. Without spending any time on diligent practice you can make a smooth connection *every* time. The same can be done with the B-flat thumb key, but you run into problems when there are B-naturals in the vicinity. Try the following sequence of notes: G A# B A# G - the B-flat lever is the only fingering that allows this to be played fluently.

On piccolo, the 1 and 1 (F key) fingering for B-flat is *incorrect* and should never be used. Compare its sound to either the lever or the thumb key and you'll hear the reason why.

Wally Kujala's recent "Vade Mecum" offers excellent advice about when to use the lever key.

59. What are the pros and cons of a winged headjoint?
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Winged Headjoint photo: John Rayworth

(From Tod Brody)

The winged headjoint has a radically higher far wall or edge than more traditional designs. On a more traditional headjoint, one would need to work harder with embouchure adjustment to direct the air vertically into the flute, as is required to produce a strong low register. The high wall helps direct the air into (as opposed to over the edge) of the embouchure hole. With the winged headjoint, less embouchure adjustment is required in general to go effectively from low to high on the flute. I don't think it will make you play flat.

Disadvantages (my take only, your mileage might well vary): This smaller effort to go from high to low means that you will develop less flexibility in your embouchure. There is a smaller palette of tonal color available. And although the low register is relatively easy to produce on the winged design, a skilled player with a more traditional head can produce more sound than he/she could with the wing. It should also be noted that modern headjoints, which I am a great advocate of, and which are being produced in great variety by a great many makers, have many of the advantages of the winged headjoint and none of the disadvantages.

60. Lessons without a flute.
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(From Helen Spielman)

Helen submitted the following compilation of suggestions, from FLUTE list members, for lessons where playing the flute is not possible.

1. Listen to recordings, compare interpretations.
2. Discuss any particular problems of the student, ie. nervousness.
3. Discuss hand position, posture, breathing.
4. Have the teacher play the piece for the student and discuss his (the teacher's) approach.
5. Talk about how to put the piece with its piano accompaniment.
6. Sing the piece.
7. Work on rhythm using a metronome and lap-slapping.
8. Have the teacher show the student how do to minor instrument repairs.
9. Listen to the opera arias suggested in Moyse's Tone Development through Interpretation or in John Wion's Sing! and talk about how they apply to flute playing.
10. Work on a difficult rhythmic section until it is perfect.
11. Talk about the "state of the lessons," such as what is going well, what specific goals will you strive for next, etc.
12. Pretend you are judges in a flute contest - listen to recordings and rate each performance in various aspects of sound, articulation, clarity, phrasing, etc.

(from various list members - 08/00)

-use rhythm instruments to make it more interesting for the students to play out rhythms in their music (Jeanie Chandler)
-write out the counting of the music (Kathy Borgmann)
-do rhythm exercises in the Robert Starer book - "Rhythmic Training" published by MCA Music (Suzanne Lord)
-listen to different types of music. Focus in on an interesting rhythmic pattern of one instrument and write it out on paper.

-teach scales and chords on the piano to give a better visual image of theoretical ideas (Jennifer Kelleher)
-discuss the history of the pieces that they are learning (Joann Newman)
-teach them some music history (Jeanie Chandler)
-discuss the composers of the pieces that they are learning (Susan Maclagan)
-analyze a piece of music (Jennifer Kelleher)
-go through music flash cards (Jennifer Kelleher)
-have pre-made worksheets where the student can write in the beats, practice drawing treble clefs, notes, the order of b and #'s; write in the missing notes/rests; circle the wrong measures (Hilary Bromeisl)
-teach the student all forms of the seventh chord; have them memorize them as homework (Tracey Schmidt)

-Make comparisons about tone, vibrato, dynamics, articulations, etc., or compare interpretations (Jeanie Chandler)
-Teach the student to score read. For example, have the student follow the flute line in an orchestral score (Jeanie Chandler).

-play intervals for them and get them to tell you the name of the interval (Joann Newman)
-the teacher and student hum through a song, then the teacher plays the song while the student tries to think of the intervals between the notes. Helps improve the intonation. (Kathy Borgmann)

-"Extremely valuable as a technique to facilitate understanding of musical line, appropriate use of vibrato, breathing as it relates to the voice of the flute, and throat and mouth shape as it relates to resonance and tonal quality and variety, just to name a few" (Cindy Broz).

-work on correct breathing techniques while singing a scale using do, re, mi (Kathy Borgmann)




-One great computer program to help *anyone* feel the beat in music is "Dance, Dance, Revolution 99". Here you must 'kill' moving arrows that appear randomly on the screen, but only on the beat. The only problem with it is that it is so much fun, that the student may want to forget their flute the next time as well!

-Spend time talking about "their reasons for forgetting the flute and ways to address the problem" (Dean Stallard)

61. How can I learn to play jazz on the flute?
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(From F.S. and R.G. Leeds)

Having gone through a lot of trial and error in learning jazz, I recommend the following general approach:

(1) Get the Aebersold books (1-800-456-1388 for catalog), and use them roughly in the prescribed order : Volumes 24,1,21,2,'s printed on the back of each volume.

(2) Listen to Jazz. This is *key*...improvisationally, you'll tend to generate, verbatim or with inflection and interpretation, what you've heard before. When I was a rock listener, I produced rock phrases and rhythms...filling my ears with Jazz has made my lines more and more lyrical, more harmonically complex and interesting, etc.

My personal slant : start off with Charlie Parker. He was (perhaps after Louis Armstrong) the real first genius of jazz. In many ways, he created the language, and set the standard for mastery of both the music and the instrumental mechanics. His influence extended to itself to players of all instruments, not just the alto saxophone. Some would still call him the greatest improvisational musician of all time. I think of him in the same league as Mozart in terms of content, and Paganini or Liszt in terms of technique. Try the Verve collections for a sampling. If you're a good reader, try out the transcribed solos in the "Charlie Parker Omnibook," available from Aebersold.

Of course, there is jazz beyond Parker...listen and emulate folks like Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie, Lee Konitz, Barney Kessell, Charlie Christian, Joe Pass, Kai Winding, Tommy Turk, Thelonius Monk, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Phil Woods, Jimmy Giuffre, and a bunch more...the instrument doesn't matter. For flute : there are many, including James Moody, Herbie Mann, Bud Shank, Nestor Torres (latin jazz), and other...some are listed in the FAQ for this list.

(3) Commit to practicing chords, scales, and arpeggios in *all* keys (Parker was the first to do this). The Aebersold scale syllabi are a helpful guide, if you don't know how to spell an F diminished whole-tone scale, for example.

(4) Ear training is key, since the goal is to (1) Hear improvised passages in your mind (I believe any musician can do this), (2) Translate the "heard" intervals into notes, based on the key, (3) be able to do this for any key -- this, obviously, takes a ridiculous amount of practice :) But man, it's worth it!

(5) Acquire a theoretical foundation for what you're will help you find the "jazzy" sounds and rhythms, for one thing. Parker took the blues to a new level by using chord substitutions (playing dom 7 chords a tritone above the written chord, or using a dim scale instead of the more vanilla mixolydian mode), and by playing lines off the altered extensions of a chord (#9, b9, #11, b13, etc). There is absolutely a logic to jazz progressions and harmony...try the very readable book, "The Jazz Language" by Dan Haerle, available via Jamey Aebersold et al. I also got a lot out of Mark Sabatini's jazz primer, which is available via several jazz sites on the web, and is free. There are some very advanced texts, such as George Russell's "The Lydian Chromatic Concept," but to be honest I haven't gotten that deep into my reading list yet... :)

(6) Remember to have fun...just as in any kind of music!There's really no mystery to jazz, save what some ego-centered musicians have tried to surround themselves with. It's all about listening, "woodshedding," and letting it happen when it's time to play.

62. What to do for a slippery flute.
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(From Kailan)

I got some moleskin as a few people suggested and put a piece on the flute under the right thumb and one under where the flute sits on the side of the left finger and this seems to have done the trick! I noticed an immediate improvement in the tone of the 2 students whose flutes I added the moleskin to--with the flute steady, they could concentrate on getting a good, focused sound.

I have tried using the Dr. Scholl's corn pads under the right thumb before (the round ones with the hole in the middle). I have put it on during the student's first lesson and called it the "parking garage" so the child would know where to "park" the thumb...but I've found that students often have a funny habit of curving the thumb so it fits *inside* the hole on the bunion pad instead of keeping the thumb straight! So I was wondering if the "parking garage" was causing more problems than it was solving. I think the moleskin will be the perfect solution.

(From Pauline Mancuso, from on Ergonomic Design Features for the Flute)

Working hard, even willing to play through discomfort to reach one's goal, is no substitute for working smart. The flute as it currently exists for most of us is potential discomfort, injury, or at the least musical compromise, due to ergonomically unfriendly "workstation" relationships with our instrument and the environment we play in. So, we change what we can and do the best with the rest.

Increasing the diameter of the flute at its grip points will assist in diminishing some of the hand and wrist discomfort experienced by many. Let us consider each hand separately, although they certainly must work together, and many principles pertain to both. The RH often gives people problems, because at the current outside diameter of the tube, plus its keys, 1. the fingers do not want to spread far enough apart to cover the holes well (changing to a closed-hole flute may be an option - but finger may still rub or collide with the trill keys.) As we open our grip, so does the space between our fingers. Also, 2. unbending the major knuckles (at back of hand - I'm no physiologist!) create a smoother nerve and ligament pathway - hence, faster, less tiring technique. 3. As the hand opens, the pinky tends to roll to its side, eliminating the painful collapsing tiny joint as we now play on the outer nail border. Our pinky no longer "straight-arms", involving forearm muscles, and when bent can be trained to be much more independent of the ring finger.

For the LH, consider the deviation of the wrist joint, cramping nerve paths and straining muscles. Consider the similar deviation of the LH index finger "shelf" knuckle, and the resultant bend in the terminal joint, which make C to C# trill such a slow affair - not to mention the "bunion" we create in the LH!

So, after many experiments, and with the blessing of the Powers That Be, musically and medically of the highest rank in New York City, I have come up with the following.

Finally, the meat and potatoes. Get a length of gray foam pipe insulation - most hardware stores will have pieces about four feet long, for very little money. Cut a section about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long - you can always trim it later. Cut this in half, so you have two semi-circular sections, each of which has approximately the inside diameter of the flute's outside diameter (well, not a perfect fit, but it's foam and squishy.) On the inside surface, attach a piece of self-stick Velcro - I use a medium weight, since the delicate won't hold, and the heavy-duty won't bend. I also put the hard, scratchy half inside the foam, and attach the soft, loopy piece to the flute, where my support finger rest in each hand. This is so that I can play the flute with and without, as I am comparing, learning, testing, etc. Firmly wiggle the foam onto the Velcro receptor on the flute - you can micro-adjust, the pieces don't have to be 100% in alignment, but major misalignment will cause them to shift when you play - so you can peel and re-stick when you find your "sweet spot". I usually have will have pieces about four feet long, for very little money. Cut a section about 1 1/2 to 2 inches long - you Similarly, attach your foam to the LH support spot. You will now find that your reach to the C key has changed - so I glue a pearl saxophone button to the C key, offsetting it at my correct position. This can also be done in c trench in each piece, glue paper inside (I use the same white or brown label paper that I use on my lip plate), and attach the Velco as above (I found it did not stick well directly to the cork.) Proceed as above. The cork can be a little smaller, since it does not compress at all, but again, a certain outside diameter must be maintained to achieve muscle release. And smaller hands don't always need smaller additions - consider how much percentage of additional spread the fingers of a small-handed flutist need in the RH.

By now, the flute may feel like a salami in your hands - and you will need to experiment with the placement of the foam. Persevere. Think of all those ergonomic kitchen utensils; look at a catalog for the handicapped. Smaller additions, such as corn plasters, are just not thick enough to get us past that release point we need. You will find that the flute now hangs in the LH by FRICTION on the knuckle, not a bunion. Everything should start to get a freer feeling, once the initial oddity has passed - kind of like wearing Birkenstock sandals, or a new contact lens prescription! The balance of the instrument should be similar, but now the LH wrist can be moved to a more neutral position, the RH should uncramp - working in front of a mirror is helpful. The reach to G# should be easier, too - I have an offset G, but I advocate any one of 3 methods for bringing G# closer to a comfort position, if moving the wrist out of deviation didn't already help enough: 1. glue on a double thickness ( single thickness bends) of fake fingernails. 2. glue on cork - sculpt to correct height/length. 3. buy a pack of saxophone palm key risers, in black rubber. Pop one on. Depending on your G# key's height and length, and that of your pinkie, one of these should help.

None of these things weigh much, but grams are grams. So you may want to experiment with your crown - another topic. And you may whittle away at the size of the foam, and also the size of the Velcro that holds it on - many folks talk about additions to the flute creating dead spots or notes, so what good is hand comfort if now we are blowing our brains out? Another related ergonomic topic would address seating - seat tilt, height, etc., and proximity to other musicians! None of the above is worth a hoot if you cannot position your body well.

63. What material is best for piccolo, plastic, wood, or silver?
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(From Julie Averill)

Definitely the best, depending greatly on the brand name (I've had bad luck with Armstrong and Yamaha wooden piccs, but some Yamahas are better than others) Also, it is important where you are going to use it and at what level you play piccolo. Beginners maybe shouldn't start out on wooden piccs- but this depends as well. Also, NEVER use a wooden picc in marching band or frequent parades. I have seen wooden piccs literally disintegrate- the keys fell off along with the wood splintering in the middle of my friend's m.b. performance. The wood simply cannot handle the stress... you'd never see a violinist playing in the rain on a strad would you??? However, for orchestral and indoor bands, wooden is essential- (my opinion)- especially if you are at the advanced h.s./college level. I've played an Armstrong, tried my friend's new Burkart, and now play my school's old but awesome powell. Powell is def. my fave, by far.

There are a few types of plastic piccs... plastic body with silver or nickel silver head, and plastic body with plastic head. I've also seen plastic piccs with silver heads and gold liplates (a total waste of money in my opinion) I first started on the plastic with nickel head and find them superior to all plastic. Then again, they were not top of the line piccolos, so there may have been tiny things that caused me to like the plastic/silver better. It is correct that plastic and silver/nickel is much easier to play/keep in tune for a beginner. I would recommend these for marching band and concert band, but never orchestra. The sound is simply not blendable enough- yes I did just invent a word!

Most high schools have these, usually very old and in need of repairs. I feel that metal piccs get a bad rap because of this. I know someone who gets a great tone out of a metal picc- although it is a Haynes. Also, these are good for marching band- but really loud and out of tune if you have a beginner playing. My main problem with metal piccs is the size of them. Although some have extensions that help them fit the hands better, I find myself struggling to hold onto them and keep them in place. I've had best luck with Gemeinhardt metal piccs- aside from Haynes of course!

64. What can I do when my lips tremble?
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(From David Dahl)

Trembling lips became less of a problem for me when I moved the flute off my lower lip and adopted a more relaxed embouchure. When the flute is on the lip, I require more pressure to keep it in position. Placing the flute under my lip is much more comfortable, for both lips and hands, and I even sound better.

(From Barbara Jean Duncan)

I have the problem of trembling lips occasionally, especially in the lower register and I've noticed that it seems to happen when I don't breathe well. If I just stop after a phrase and take a deep long breath, I seem to regain control.

65. Teaching musicality.
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(From Sheena Gordon)

There is so much involved in teaching pupils to express themselves musically that it is difficult to know where to begin. Here goes!

First of all there are the "nuts and bolts" that hold the performance together. Like John Rayworth I too think of the structure of a piece of music as being divided into paragraphs and sentences with full stops and commas. Sometimes these sentences are statements, clear and precise. Sometimes they ramble on, developing thoughts as they go along. One can hear questions posed and answered, perhaps conclusively, or even doubtfully, with resignation or with joyful optimism. The analogy can be taken further, comparing a movement of a concerto or sonata with a chapter of a book.

As Patricia George described, there is movement within groups of notes, going forward or tailing off, using expressive leans and diminuendos to increase or release the tension. There is also movement within phrases. Where are they going to, or coming from? Is there a note to which we should travel, and once we have got there, do we go on or relax? Does the next phrase develop an ongoing idea, or is it something new?

Lyn McLarin stressed the importance of understanding the harmony and knowing the accompaniment to fully appreciate the structure and mood of a piece. We can express mood with the dynamics,vibrato and tone colours we choose. Forte and piano are not just volume indicators. They help us create the atmosphere. I love finding images to describe how a moment feels.

I encourage my pupils to listen to as much music as possible, not only for the pleasure of it, but so that they can recognize and develop a sense of performance style in relation to the period the music was composed. It is also worthwhile comparing the "feel" of the music to contemporary art and literature, for example, Debussy and the French Impressionists. So much of his music consists of fleeting moments, colours and textures. I don't know how many pupils will play through Moyse's Tone Development Through Interpretation, not having listened to French and Italian Opera, or the specific arias and pieces involved. It is so much easier if one knows how the melodies should be sung.

Having said all this, it is vital that we do not impose our own ideas too strongly. If we give our pupils the tools, show them how they can be used, and as they mature work with them towards an understanding and interpretation of the composers intentions, then we will encourage the development of their own creative spark.

66. Urtext vs. Scholarly Editions.
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(From Mark Starr)

>>Does anyone know of a urtext version of Mozart's D Concerto? Barenreiter publishes Mozart's D Concerto. I was under the assumption that all of their publications were urtext. Does anyone know if this is true?<<

Actually, none of Barenreiter's editions of Mozart are Urtexts-- if by Urtext you mean the generally accepted notion of a typeset replica of a composer's notation without any changes, corrections or additions by an editor or a performer.

Barenreiter publishes the Neue Ausgabe saemtlicher Werke for Mozart, which is a scholarly edition, but an edition nevertheless. Each work is edited by scholars and performers selected from a large pool directed by the Internationalen Stiftung Mozarteum Salzburg. While I haven't seen the Neue Ausgabe for the D Major Flute Concerto (or C major Oboe Concerto,) I have here the Neue Ausgabe for "Zauberfloete"--which lists the names of the two editors who edited this opera, plus two more editors who supervised their work.

The key distinction between a scholarly edition and many of the standard editions published by other major music publishers is NOT the number of editorial changes, corrections or additions. Rather, it is the practice in scholarly editions of identifying any changes from the manuscript in different typefaces, or with footnotes and commentaries. A scholarly edition and a standard edition may end up making the exact same changes, corrections, or additions. In a standard edition, like Rampal's editions of the Mozart concerti, the reader must accept the editor's judgement about these changes (unless he/she goes back to the source material and enters changes of his/her own.) In a scholarly edition, one can second-guess the editor more easily, and pick and choose the changes that one wants to observe.

BTW, even the Henle editions, which are labeled Urtext on their front covers, are not what most people think as the definition of "Urtext." As I mentioned, many musicians assume that an "Urtext" is an exact typeset replica of a composer's manuscript, with no editorial changes, corrections or additions. However, the Henle "Urtext" editions have a team of editors and scholars, just like the Neue Ausgabe/Mozart's team. In Henle's editions of the keyboard music of Bach and Beethoven, for example, not only the names of editors for each work are listed, the names of the keyboard artists responsible for the new fingerings are also listed. However, in general one can say that Henle's Urtext editions make fewer changes than Barenreiter's scholarly editions. There are very few composers' manuscripts that can be typeset and published with no changes whatsoever.

If nothing else, one must always remember there is also a copyright issue dictated by the International Copyright Treaties. A modern edition that makes absolutely no editorial changes from a composer's manuscript of music that is now in the public domain would not be eligible for any copyright protection--whether national or international. Modern copyrights on new editions of music now in the public domain cover only the new editorial additions--and not the composer's original music. An "Urtext" edition that published only Mozart's music, with no editorial changes, would be subject to rampant piracy, unauthorized photocopying, etc.--and the publisher would have no legal recourse. In effect, the publisher would receive virtually nothing for his publication.

I should add that I have edited for several major music publishers a considerable number of works. In my first few attempts, I made very few editorial additions of my own. And indeed, these first few editions were soon copied in pirated editions--and performed and even recorded twice without authorization or payment on major CD labels. In each case, my publishers declined to sue because my editorial additions had been too few to base a case of copyright infringement.

Finally, the practice of performing directly from facsimile editions of composers' manuscripts may also not be a wise option. Certainly, in the case of Beethoven's piano sonatas, it is known that Beethoven himself made many changes, corrections and additions in the proofs sent to him by his publisher before the first editions were printed. I have a rather large collection of facsimile editions of composers' manuscripts, and one can easily see many differences--some minuscule and others important--between the manuscripts and the Urtext editions.

67. What does "Open G#" mean?
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Open G# photo: John Rayworth

(From John Rayworth)

First The G# hole which is the one under the pad connected to the G# lever on a closed G# flute does NOT exist.

Second the two keys which go down together when the third finger of the left hand is depressed are totally independent. The lower one of these two keys (the one nearer the footjoint) is directly soldered to the G# lever.

When playing this type of flute for the first time, the most obvious difference is that for all notes below G, the G# key must be continually depressed. On a closed G# flute the G# key is only depressed for G# (and one or two other notes such as Top C. The "split E effect" is achieved by keeping the left pinkie down when playing top E. The left pinkie has a fairly permanent job to do on an open G# flute instead of hanging around in all sorts of funny places until the rare occasion the G# key is depressed (speaking for myself anyway).

It is a much more natural finger sequence for the left hand to get used to, because generally as each successive finger goes down, a lower note is produced, whereas on a closed G# flute a higher note is produced as the left pinkie is depressed.

Also the mechanism is much simpler and there is one less tone hole in the flute body. Adrian Brett told us all something I did not know, that to produce this extra tone hole in a closed hole flute, the bore has to be increased slightly in that vicinity.

68. Which controls dynamics, air speed or amount?
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(From John Rayworth)

Both the above have some effect on ff volume, but primarily the air speed determines the pitching (which octave etc. - not specifically the tuning) and the amount of air (properly directed) determines the ff volume.

Theoretically each note should have a slightly different air speed to represent it's pitch. I remember Trevor Wye teaching a class to visualize a doubling of air speed (totally independent of air volume) for each octave.

It is possible to play ppp in the upper notes of the third octave using a useful technique which involves the air being :-

a) at the correct speed (possibly slightly too fast)

b) A LARGE volume of air (a volume normally use for a f or ff passage)

To practice this useful technique, one directs the LARGE VOLUME air stream too high, making NO sound on the flute. Gradually lower the air stream until it JUST starts to touch the embouchure blowing edge. Correctly done one can produce a pppp entry on top F#. The upwardly blown airstream also compensates for any flatness possible in producing such a note in a conventional manner. In order to produce a top F# in the above manner I find it useful to produce an airsteam which (in my mind) I think would be right for a top B.

I have used top F# as an example because this is a nightmare note on which to produce an in tune entry at ppp volume. Using the above method (practiced) it is dead easy.

The other useful side issue on practicing the above is that the successful application of this technique ensures that one's airstream is flowing at the correct speed at its outer edges. Many people have an airstream where the air at the outer edges is too slow. An extreme example of this will produce multiphonic octaves which I am sure we have all heard beginners produce when first trying for their octaves.

69. Breathing Bag Tips.
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(From David Dahl)

A breathing bag is a plastic or rubber bag with a tube or mouthpiece for blowing and sucking. My breathing bag is a 5 liter respirator from a medical supplies company, but it is certainly possible to construct one from a plastic bread bag and a tube.

1. Posture is important, as always. Keep your head erect and over your body. I find it too easy to push my head forward. As with the flute itself, bring the bag to your lips, not your lips to the bag.

2. Blow into the bag and suck from the bag. I do short exercises so as not to become oxygen-starved. Do not spend a lot of continuous time on the bag. Use it for a few minutes during your warm-up period, and once-in-a-while during your practice to refocus your air.

3. The beauty and value of the bag is that it shows you your air and lets you focus on efficient breathing unencumbered by the flute. I have found the bag useful for showing that some of the ways I was using to take big breaths were actually counter-productive.

4. Play passages of music that you are working on with the bag, articulation, fingering, and all. This is great at helping you to plan for breaths.

5. An exercise(1): Blow for one count, suck for one count, blow for 2, suck for 1, blow for 3, suck for 1,....,blow for seven counts, suck for one. Each count is about 60 beats/minute or a little faster.

6. Another exercise(2): Same as (1) except blow for a half-count longer for each step and suck for a half-count. (eg. Blow for 1 1/2 counts, suck for 1/2 count)

7. Yet another exercise(3): Blow for 4 counts, suck for 4 counts, blow for 5, suck for 3,...,blow for 7, suck for 1.

There are lots of variations possible on the exercises. Be creative!

(from Larry Krantz)

Breath Building - a book by Ingrid Holck and Mogens Andresen
The book is divided up into three main sections:

It is here the "breath builder" and other aids come into the picture when you need to correct a wrong function. The aids send new signals to the brain in that they bring in our strongest learning sense: Sight.

70. Publicity Tips: Getting the word out.
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(From Kathy Davis)

Printing biz cards and distributing them may *help*; you may get an occasional hit from that. My partner and I sent a mailing to 50 area churches & included a bio and cards. Even one wedding pays for the mailing.

But a far *better* way to go about this is to just get out there and play for free! Everywhere you can. Call the malls and set up a time to go out and florists, play at busy times.... call retirement homes and restaurants....have you thought of Barnes and Noble?

I find when I *tell* people I'm part of a flute duo, they nod and say "Ohh, that's nice". But when they pass by and HEAR us, it's more like "AHHhhhhh...Wooowwww...Ooohhh...You guys are GOOD!" We have a small table that we set up wherever we play....a poster with our name that obviously states we are accepting bookings for weddings, sheets, biz cards. And of course, contracts just waiting for us to fill in the blanks.

Last week, I saw an ad for an assisted living center's Grand Opening, and called them to find out if they'd considered hiring musicians. They'd done that, but asked us to play at a cocktail party for them... turns out many physicians and other retirement center administrators were there....generated a good amount of interest! And these people want us back on a regular basis...(Yesss!)

So getting out there and showing your stuff is going to go a lot farther for you than a printed card or letter.

71. Sources of information on 19th century performance practices.
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(From Richard M. Wilson)

Almost any early to mid-19th century book on how to play the flute will do! Look at as many as you can. There are no modern books that go into these matters in any significant detail. I think it would be nice if there were more players who were really well acquainted with the information on style to be found in the period treatises.

Sources that are relatively easy to find include:
Jean-Louis Tulou: "A Method for the Flute", translated by Jan Boland and Martha Cannon, Indiana University Press, 1995
"Drou"et's Method of Flute Playing", facsimile of the 1830 London edition by Jan Boland, PO Box 154, Marion, IA 52302
C. Nicholson: "A School for the Flute", facsimile of the 1836 edition by Peter Bloom, 29 Newbury St., Somerville, MA 02144
A-B F"urstenau: Die Kunst des Fl"otenspiels, Uitgeverij Frits Knuf-Buren-The Netherlands, 1990

The first three are in English. Other excellent English methods that are not available in facsimile include Nicholson's Preceptive Lessons (1821), Thomas Lindsay's Elements of Flute-Playing (1828/30).

The above all go into detail about fingerings for keyed flutes. But useful information can be obtained from somewhat earlier methods like those of Hugot and Wunderlich (Frits Knuf), John Gunn (Jan Boland), and J. G. Tromlitz. Ardal Powell has translated Tromlitz's 1791 tutor as The Virtuoso Flute-Player, Cambridge U Press, 1991, and his 1800 work as The Keyed Flute, Oxford early Music Series, 1996. The former is better for your purposes; the latter is very technical information about Tromlitz's own 8-key system (not the standard one) and his tuning system (a variety of meantone), though it has a wonderful appendix that describes some of Ardal's research on keyed flutes before 1815.

Tromlitz's 1791 The Virtuoso Flute Player, like Quantz's 1752 Essay, is incredibly detailed about matters like articulation and ornamentation. They don't write books like those anymore. Quantz has over 350 pages of *text* and Tromlitz almost that much. There are musical examples, of course, but the books are primarily text and not collections of etudes and exercises.

72. Suggestions for getting students.
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(From Phyllis Louke)

1. Talk to local band directors & drop off flyers and/or business cards.
2. See if there's a list of private music teachers compiled by the local school districts and distributed to schools.
3. Offer services (for free) to the local band directors to do a sectional with the flute section in band(s).
4. Call local music stores and see if they maintain a list of private teachers or have a bulletin board where you can put up a flyer or business card.

73. What are Long Tones?
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(From Larry Krantz)

Long tones are tones that are played for a long time. :-)) Sorry about that - just couldn't resist the temptation. When tending to the task of developing the beauty and quality of one's sound it is useful to spend time working on individual notes. Playing individual notes for extended periods of time allows one to work on subtle aspects of timbre. I heartily recommend De La Sonorite by Moyse or Practice Book for the Flute - Tone by Trevor Wye as examples of approaches to developing sound through the long tone approach.

74. What is the best music lyre to use while marching?
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(From Edward L. Justen)

After 10 1/2 solid years of military marching experience, I can tell you that the ONLY way to go is to memorize your music. If you can't, then the shoehorn type of lyre is the best kind of flute lyre to use; HOWEVER, those lyres work best with piccolos and are almost impossible to use with the flute. They also take some time to get used to. Keeping your left arm clamped down on the darn things so that they will stay in place is awkward enough, but trying to balance the thing on your forearm is even WORSE!!!!!

So try to memorize as much music as possible. Believe me, you will be the envy of your band buddies when no matter what the director calls, all you have to do is put your ax to your mouth while they are still fumbling for music. Plus, not only do you play the smallest lightest instrument in the band, but now your are liberated from your music and you don't have to deal with that hassle at all!!! So ...memorize that stuff as fast as you can. I must have about 30 marches memorized by now, and all the newbies I work with are amazed that I NEVER use music.

75. Teaching rhythm with words.
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(From various FLUTE members)

Sometimes associating words with certain rhythmic patterns can make things easier to grasp for some students (huckleberry, alligator, etc. for four sixteenths, tri-ple-et, etc. once-a-gain for dotted quarter, eighth).

Mississippi hot dog (4 sixteenths, 2 eighths)
My teacher (eighth note pick up)
Watermelon (4 sixteenths)
6/8 time: Am-ster-dam (dotted eighth, sixteenth, eighth)
for quintuplets: U-ni-ver-si-ty
London Bridge (dotted quarter plus eighth)
peanut butter (sixteenth notes)
rutabaga (sixteenth notes)
Washington (triplets)
celery (triplets)
grasshopper (triplet)
today (sixteenth, dotted eighth)
Katherine (triplet)
Shawn (quarter)
Heather (two eighths)
Mexico (triplets)
Your Mother, your Mother (accent on the MO for MOther) (eighth rest, eighth note, eighth note, eighth note)
Hamburger (eighth, 2 sixteenths)
french fried (2 eighths)
apple pie (2 sixteenths, eighth)
quarter pounder (four sixteenths)
coke (quarter)
Grapefruit, pineapple, watermelon (two eighths, one triplet, four sixteenth notes, all in a row)
Watermelon, kiwi (four sixteenths and two sixteenths with an eighth note rest)
hippopotamus (quintuplet - equal group of five notes)
international and geophysical for quintuplets.
triplets: "strawberry" or "hamburger"
5: "opportunity"
7: "doublt-opportunity"
semibiographical - set of 7
Follow the yellow brick road - a set of 6 followed by a quarter on the next beat

76. Can a teacher be too good to teach beginners?
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(From Larry Krantz)

I do all I can to alter the perception that beginning students require less than the best available instruction. I would go as far as saying that the innocence of beginners almost requires the best of instruction. The attitude you have mentioned implies that good players are not going to be good teachers for beginners or that their abilities will be wasted on the young or beginning student. I fail to see the logic in either of those arguments.

The greatest player/teachers often arrive at a point where their time is spent almost exclusively with non beginners and their skills in the area of beginning students may very well be rusty but that does not mean to me that beginners should automatically be shunted off to less than the best player/teachers available to them. I teach at least a few beginners each year and simply love the fact that they begin without pre-learned bad habits. The bad habits they do develop are the ones that I missed. :-))) It is always obvious to me when a non-beginning student who comes to me has had the benefit of good instruction right from the start. I owe a great deal of gratitude to many fine flute player/teachers who have done marvelous work with beginners before those students arrive in my studio.

There is a scene in the James Galway at 50 video where Jimmy is working with a young student - granted the student is not a beginner but she is very young (maybe 10 or 12 years old). She is playing a delightfully simple and melodic piece for him. It warms my heart each time I see that scene to think that such a young person can have exposure to someone of Jimmy's experience. Another telling aspect of that video clip is the fact that the young students regular teacher is in the room watching intently. My perception is that everyone in the room is learning from the experience. A widely respected mathematician once commented to me that when learning stops much of the meaning of life comes to a crashing end. If this is true, and I believe it to be, then it would stand to reason that we should all seek the best possible instruction at all times.

(From Cynthia C. Stevens)

In my own experience, teaching beginners takes all of my teaching skills and is the most exhausting teaching I do. Sometimes I quip that I really should charge double for teaching beginners because they require so much energy and thought! This is not to say that teaching advanced students doesn't also require energy and thought, but I have also thought that because advanced students have learned about being more participative in their learning (by having been beginners themselves once!), they tend to give more back in more immediate and instantly gratifying ways. With beginners, one must be patient ....very patient...often for several years before that particular kind of feedback occurs.

77. Prescription for tightness and pain in the jaw.
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(From David Dahl)

I can only suggest what worked for me. Two of the main causes of my tightness (of not only face, but also hands and shoulders) was improper breathing and "incorrect" embouchure. I put incorrect in quotes because I realize that there are different ideas on what is correct. In my case, incorrect meant a tight smiley embouchure. The hole between my lips was too large, and my upper lip was too far out.

To help correct my breathing, I have been working with a breathing bag. I have worked to relax my face and lips as much as possible. To be more aware of the difference, I would first tighten up on purpose, and then try to loosen what was tight. If I can feel loose blowing and sucking the breathing bag, I place the flute up to my lips and try not to lose the feeling.

A great part of why I was tight, was the way in which I used too much of my lips to control the air. By relaxing the sides of my lips and using only the center of my lips to control the air, much more of my face, and everything else, is relaxed. A favorite technique of Keith Underwood is to gently pull down the corners of the student's mouth while the student plays. I can even do it to myself when I play long tones on left hand notes.

Until I was already relaxed, there was no way that I could get air in my cheeks. In my case, the suggestion to let my cheeks puff out a little was only frustrating. Now when I am relaxed, it is hard to believe that it was once so difficult.

(From Alexa Still)

At the risk of stating the obvious, I would suggest first checking that the player doesn't have tremendous pressure at the chin/lip plate (due to problems holding the flute etc), and that they don't have the jaw in an extreme forward or back position while playing. Beyond this, something drastic needs to happen to reduce the tension that apparently is there.

Abandoning the player's usual tone is probably the best next step, just because this tension is such a hard habit to break. Experimenting in front of a mirror, making "ridiculous" sounds a la beginners etc, discovering that *a* sound can be produced using a totally loose feeling mouth, without the usual tension, and then working differently (relaxed!) for control (ie localized middle of the embouchure muscles and abdominal support) maybe more productive in the end than doing battle with the person's current way of playing. I can understand the breathing bags really helping because it is such a relaxed action combined with the usual blowing.

Sometimes when I have students with bad tension problems in posture, I get them to play sitting and leaning, or even lying down (difficult, needing the flute to be suspended for best results) just to get a concept of producing a sound with less tension. It seems that the concept part is the hardest thing. The rest is steady work, but getting the idea in the first place can be so hard!

Any hypnotist teachers out there?

78. Should flutists exercise?
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(From Monika Thomas)

Aerobic exercise will improve cardiovascular fitness. Not only will that improve your overall health... but soon you'll notice that when you play your flute, your breathing is also much more improved! My dad convinced me to start exercising regularly when I complained about having trouble breathing when playing... not taking big enough breaths, etc. As far as weight lifting goes, I use light weights (5 lbs in each hand right now) and do a variety of exercises to tone my muscles. My dad suggested that I do wrist curls also when I do weights - when I play my violin I especially realize how weak my wrist muscles are. The wrist curls have really helped a lot, and I noticed that my right wrist doesn't get all weird-feeling when I play my flute anymore.

I do aerobics 3 or 4 times a week, and weights 3 times a week... With weights you don't want to do them 2 days in a row. I think it has to do with preventing injury to the muscles.

79. The importance of teaching rhythm.
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(From Richard White)

One of my several incarnations as a musician is that of piano teacher. It has been my experience that rhythmic skill are more often than not the weakest and often sorest spot in the development of young musicians. But this need not be so.

I'll even go so far as to say this includes many, many professional musicians. Is there anything worse than playing music with someone who is rhythmically deficient? I play lots of chamber music (piano, viola) and, while I can abide intonation mishaps, wrong notes (yes, even my own), I cannot abide rhythmic problems arising from a lack of attention to the pulse (beat); in fact they are intolerable.

It probably goes without saying that many beginning students are overwhelmed by the amount of information that has to be processed very quickly in order to successfully interpret even a simple melody from the printed page into sound, and, at the right time I might add. i.e., pitch, time and key signatures, accidentals, rhythms. This, of course, does not include any physical or technical manipulations necessary to produce a sound on a given instrument. While I am not breaking any new ground here, the obvious solution to the complexity of interpreting music from the printed page well - in all its facets - is to isolate those parts that are particularly troublesome, in this case rhythm. I find the whole subject of rhythm so vitally important, that it occupies the first third of my own book on how to read music. (Sorry, it is currently being proofed and edited and is not currently available.)

However, even after repeated explanations and demonstrations I often find that students, after a time, forget the vital relationship between rhythm and its source, the beat or pulse. They go, as the old song says, '. . . together like a horse and carriage.' This, in my opinion should be made abundantly clear, demonstrated, and monitored over a period of time, if not continually, during the student's studies. In fact, it should be checked during each lesson, whether or not the student is made aware of it. To allow a student to become rhythmically sloppy is, in my opinion, egregious. Naturally, some students seem to show a propensity for rhythm, some do not. It is possible, however, to teach good rhythmic skills to virtually anyone when it is isolated and practiced diligently.

For this purpose I have found Robert Starer's (the composer) book: RHYTHMIC TRAINING, published by MCI, to be just the ticket. I highly recommend it. Used diligently and as instructed, it will sharpen and hone one's rhythmic skills into a new robustness. In fact, every few years I do a thorough review of it for my own purposes.

As for using the metronome: It's as indispensable to rhythmic training as the grid used by visual artists to ensure proper perspective. Neglect it at your own peril!

80. What is Bansuri flute?
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(From Christopher J Chapman)

"bans" means bamboo in Hindi
+ "sur" means sound, tone, melody, etc. in Hindi
"bansuri" is Hindi for bamboo flute

The bansuri is a bamboo flute with six to seven fingerholes used in Hindustani classical music (from North India). The fingering is similar to that of the Irish keyless flutes and tinwhistles. The tonic of every scale played on the bansuri is the note that is played with the top three holes closed (for example: G on a six hole flute with a lowest note of D).

David Philipson has a pretty good web page on about the bansuri which includes fingering charts here:

81. How is "drawn" or "extruded" tubing made? Is it as good as seamed tubing?
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(From Chuck Stevens)

I think the question itself has been answered already, but in case it hasn't, my understanding is that drawn tubing is produced by forcing a sheet of metal (the die) through a series of ever-smaller holes with a rod maintaining the internal diameter through the process. It is "extruded" in exactly the same way that "extruded" tone holes are formed. And once you've "drawn" it through the last die to reach the final thickness, it's done. Quick and easy, presuming your dies are precise. The milling and soldering process involved in seamed tubing makes its production much more labor intensive than that for drawn tubing.

Where the "philosophical" difference between the two techniques comes in (it's arguable whether the difference can be objectively determined) is that the final thickness of *seamed* tubing is reached through *pressure* (rollers squeezing the two surfaces together) whereas that for *drawn* tubing is attained through *stretching*. The former, in theory, produces a tube that is work-hardened at the outset. Because of the process, it may also be both slightly denser and more uniform in thickness, density and hardness than the latter.

I have had private correspondence with a very well-respected flutemaker who recently ran experiments attempting to determine whether using seamed tubing was worth the trouble. He constructed several head joints, some of seamed tubing, some of drawn, built to the best of his ability to be otherwise identical, and neither he nor anyone else that tried them could notice a meaningful difference between them. And this is a person who habitually deals in subtle differences indeed!

It's my understanding that while seamed tubing was orderable from Lot after their conversion to drawn tubing circa 1900, *nobody* seems to have taken advantage of that. Given the level of flutists running around back then, it strikes me that if it had made a significant difference at the time, Lot & Cie. would have been barraged by demands to revert to seamed tubing. That doesn't seem to have been the case.

I must admit, though, seamed tubing makes more *sense* to me.

82. Should I learn circular breathing?
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(from Robert Dick)
See more about Circular Breathing in the Robert Dick Corner

To join the circular breathing discussion, I believe there are three prime reasons to learn circular breathing, and that learning circular breathing ought to be right at the top of every young flutist's agenda (and older flutists who don't want to quit learning, too). If you are serious about music and play the flute, circular breathing will enable you to:

1) PARTICIPATE IN THE MUSIC OF YOUR OWN LIFETIME. Worldwide, composers are increasingly assuming that all wind and brass players (not just flutists) circular breathe. I am only one of very many such composers. Music is reaching out across cultural divides and composers are being influenced by music from all over the world -- a great deal of which has been circular breathed for thousands of years, most notably that of the Didgeridoo in Australia. If you want your horizons to include more than just classical music in the European tradition written before World War II, then learning circular breathing is a necessary step. Other vital and exciting steps include learning multiphonics, glissandi, percussion and air sounds and the whole world of flute music as seen from an inclusionary approach that embraces possibilities instead of rejecting them as "not our tradition".

2) PLAY OLDER MUSIC BETTER. So much of the classical repertoire was created for flutes that use less air than the ones most of us play today. The traverso and the simple-system keyed flutes feature smaller embouchure holes and smaller tone holes. So lots of the long phrases one finds in Baroque music that can be very uncomfortable to play on a modern flute were well written, but for the flutes of the time. For those of us who choose to perform on modern instruments, we are often confronted with the difficult alternatives of adding breaths that are not musically optimal or to flatten out the dynamic profile of a phrase just to get from end to end. In such situations, circular breathing opens musical doors. It becomes possible to play phrases at their optimal musical lengths and to do so with full expression.

3) SURVIVE IN THE PROFESSION OF MUSIC. Circular breathing is here. All graduates of the Paris Conservatory do it; all graduates of the Musik-Akademie der Stadt Basel do it and all graduates of other leading European Conservatories do it. A word to younger flutists: You will meet these people at auditions and in competitions. Don't let them blow you away; you have just as much potential as they. I have received "thank you" notes from people who learned circular breathing from my method. The "thank you's" were for jobs -- orchestra jobs won at auditions because they could distinguish themselves from other players with their greater freedom of dynamics and phrasing -- which led to their being able to express their musicality on a higher level. As a jury member at the Geneva International Competition this week just past, I was aware of a lot of circular breathing in traditional repertoire (Schubert, Paganini, Bach, etc). Contestants who used circular breathing included the prizewinners.

In and of itself, technique has no meaning. Every technique is a tool which represents potential musical freedom and circular breathing is no different. When used well, musicality is enhanced. When used stupidly, musicality is reduced. Circular breathing does not mean that all the breaths are taken out of music. It means that the flutist's range of musical choices and range of possible expression are enormously expanded. The responsibility for using these choices artistically remains with the individual, as always.

Learning circular breathing is not difficult, but it does take some time. I created a method of learning circular breathing that is specific to the flute and am happy to say that it works. If you're interested, please go to for info about "Circular Breathing for the Flutist".

On a very profound level, the day is here where the serious flutist under the age of 40 has to answer a different question about circular breathing. Its no longer "Why do it?" Its "Why don't you?" To get circular breathing together as a teenager would be a very wonderful thing indeed! And its totally possible.

(From Charles Koeppen)

Wayne Hedrick wrote:
>I'd recommend that you try to improve your standard breathing, instead of working on circular breathing. >I have heard several people (including the master of these techniques, Robert Dick) do it, and I even >learned.
> >However, the tone & pitch always suffers during the air exchange...and there is always an audible sound as >the air enters the nose. Neither flaw is acceptable in standard music

In the past on this list I've expressed the same opinion of circular breathing. The technique is great for certain instruments, but flute isn't one of them because there is so little backpressure and that makes circular breathing very difficult and it's practically impossible to do well enough to be of much use.

However, it was pointed out by someone else that Robert Dick suggests learning the technique not as an end in itself, but as an exercise for improving tone. I can easily see where it would be beneficial in this sense, as you need a very solid tone in order to circular breath and using circular breathing would be a good way of keeping you from fooling yourself about how good your tone is. Also, I understand Robert Dick suggests puffing the cheeks out to circular breath on flute (you don't have to though, you could just push the air out with your tongue). It's very difficult to puff the cheeks and hold the embouchure, so here I can see where practicing circular breathing would be good for developing a nice, loose, and flexible embouchure. Aside from that, it can do wonders for your breath control in general.

For those who find the technique mysterious, it's not. You don't really breath out at the same time you breath in. You simply push the air contained in your mouth cavity out with your tongue and cheeks while you take a quick breath in through your nose. Your tongue has to be in a position such as when you sing an 'ng' sound at the beginning of the quick inhalation. You bring the front of your tongue up to the roof of your mouth and push the air out during the inhalation. Most people suggest practicing blowing bubbles continuously through a bent (bent is a key word here, without the bend it's almost impossible) straw in a glass of water before trying it with an instrument. For flute, I agree. This isolates the circular breathing technique from the difficulty of maintaining an embouchure.

For instruments that are easy to circular breath with, like Balinese suling, which is a type of flute, or didjeridu, I don't think it's as necessary to practice the breathing separate from the instrument. I'd suggest learning on an easier instrument than classical flute first. Didjeridu is a good one because they are easy to get and cheap. A very basic one would be just a 4 foot length of 1 1/2 inch PVC pipe. Balinese suling are only slightly more expensive but hard to get. Japanese shakuhachi are also easier to circular breath with than classical flute but are more difficult than didjeridu or suling. I'm not sure about sax but I'm told it's easier than flute with respect circular breathing.

So, go for it, but don't expect to use it to play Flight of the Bumblebee or anything like that without having to breath. I understand Robert Dick has some good books explaining it, or you can just seek out the nearest didjeridu player near you (and there are more than you'd think).

83. What exactly are the criteria for a piece being "French conservatory"?
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(From Pierre Csillag)

At the Paris Conservatory, the final examination is named commonly the "concours" (contest). At this concours, the awards are: "premier, second or troisieme prix" (first, second or third prize). There is at least one imposed piece to be performed by each candidate. One of these pieces is often composed expressly for the "concours". This piece is commonly called the "morceau de concours". It is communicated to the candidates about a month before the examination.

In short, a "French conservatory piece" is a "morceau de concours".

According to the current regulation, the candidates are to perform three pieces:

1. an imposed contemporary piece
2. a repertoire piece
3. a piece chosen by the candidate.

There is a list of all Paris Conservatory "morceaux de concours" from 1824 to 1996 in Larry Krantz's homepage

All current and past information about the Paris Conservatory may be obtained from:

Centre de Documentation et des Archives
Conservatoire de Paris
209, avenue Jean-Jaures
75019 PARIS
Fax: +33 1 4040 4500

84. How to choose a piccolo.
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(From Dr. John G. Zornig)

First, don't spend your hard earned money unless you plan to practice on your new piccolo. A piccolo is a different instrument than a flute and will need separate practice.

You can actually get a pretty good piccolo for well under $1000 in plastic, a Yamaha for example. If you have the money a Zentner is a very good value at just under $2000, I think (unless Miles has raised his prices).

I wouldn't bother with a silver head. Piccolos are quite bright enough with wood or plastic heads. For serious playing, silver heads have really become obsolete.

> Does Pearl make piccolos? - I really love my Pearl flute.

Many people do, but not nearly all good flutemakers make good piccolos. I've never heard that Pearl made piccolos. Think of buying a piccolo as a separate endeavor, like buying a saxophone.

> Would it be better to get a new picc or a better used one?

Well, of course it depends on the condition of the used one. If you find a used piccolo that attracts you, I'd recommend:

- have it looked at and played by an experienced piccolo player. You will not be able to tell, yourself, whether it's in good shape and plays well.

- add the cost of a clean-oil-adjust (COA) and some pad work to the price to judge what it will really cost. Even if the instrument appears to be in great shape, it is very likely to need at least a little work.

On the positive side, a used instrument can be more cost/effective. It's also "broken in" so that the probability of cracking is lower. Piccolos don't crack nearly as much as clarinets, but it's a consideration. If I were in your shoes, I would certainly look for a good used instrument.

85. Are there differences among makes of flute pads?
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(From Jim Phelan)

To be sure, there is a difference between flute pads. The differences are, in descending order of importance:

The skin
The overall thickness
The felt (it's all wool, whether woven or needle)
The card (or backing)

The skin, also known as goldbeaters' skin, is derived from cows' stomachs. Because it is what makes the seal, it is the most important component. Because it is an animal product, it varies in quality. Pad makers examine skins for thickness, porosity, and surface finish. The best pad skins have a rather silky feeling; not dry and 'crinkly'. The companies that produce the sheets of skin used for pads are highly secretive about the difference between yellow and white skins. I've been told, perhaps tongue-in-cheek, that the yellow skins are treated with egg yolk and that the white skins are bleached. The most important thing is how well the pads are installed. That is what you perceive as a player.

The overall thickness should conform to the cup height and cup depth determined by the maker. In general, it is better to have a somewhat thinner pad than thicker.

I've always preferred woven versus needle felt, but that's just me. This is a personal preference and either one can produce a good pad job.

The cardboard backing adds stiffness to the pad. Again, it is a matter of personal preference on the part of the padder.

My advice is, don't get wrapped up in pad skins :-). If the pads cover the toneholes, the flute plays.

By the way, David Straubinger's pads are really a delight to use. Having padded hundreds of flutes with lumpy pads, my hat is off to the man who has made a FLAT pad! They don't change as much as traditional pads either.

86. How much should the headjoint be turned, in or out?
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(From Larry Krantz)

The question of head joint alignment comes up quite often and there are nearly as many opinions about the subject as there are flute players. My approach has been to begin with a position which is pretty much in line with the row of keys (center of blow hole in line with the center of the key holes). Over time I have gravitated to a setting in which the head is aligned outward a slight amount - somewhere between a 16th and an 8th of an inch. I tend to hold my flute so that the keys are in a pretty much vertical position (keys pointing straight up).

I normally request that my students begin with a 'straight in line' configuration and then gradually find the 'sweet spot for them' which could be slightly (emphasis on slightly) in or out. I like to use nail polish dots to mark the head and the flute body so that the students can set their heads exactly the same way each time they play.

When head placement experimentation begins we can then use the nail polish dots as a guide for the slight adjustments to the head that we might wish to try. Body alignment and approach to holding the flute is crucial to determining where to align the head. As far as I can determine, there is not a 'right way' to do any of this stuff - only accepted practice by individual players. As usual, I look forward to the contributions of others about this topic.

(From John Rayworth)

When first starting then the approach advocated in Larry Krantz's reply to this matter is as good as any.

When you get more advanced think of the situation in two separate parts.

1) Think of the headjoint as separate from the flute body and position it in the optimum position for best sound (best perhaps to be judged by another player / teacher whose opinion you trust.)

2) The body alignment (separate from headjoint should be determined as best suits you. A better flute balance may be achieved if the keywork tilts outward slightly and is NOT quite horizontal.

3) Having got both set up correctly - then mate them up in that position.

The above is the theoretical approach, you cannot really just do it yourself it lesson number one - it will evolve over a period of time.

If you look at the assembly of my flute you would see that I seem to have the headjoint turned in a lot. However, I actually play with the lip plate turned OUT a lot and the body of my flute turned out a lot more.

87. Where can I find Flute clip art?
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(From Marc Grafe)

An excellent source of clip art is put out by Zedcor under the title Desk Gallery. I have two of their packages which total up to many, many thousands of images. It is mostly scanned clip art in a few formats, TIFF and EPS - but mostly TIFF and are therefore accessible cross platform. They come on multiple CD's with a bookful of thumbnails of the images as an index. Much of the Dover clip art is included and there is quite a lot of music - instruments, drawings and portraits, etc., - included.

I bought the first package for $39 and then upgraded to the larger one when it came out for another $40. I don't know what the current cost is, but for B & W clip art it's a great bargain. Corel also publishes large clip art collections at good prices, but I am not well versed in their contents.

I've really enjoyed this material, both in making newsletters for The Greater Portland Flute Society, and in other desktop publishing activities.

88. Can anyone recommend some pieces that are good for college auditions?
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(From Carolyn Krysl-Hutchinson)

From a survey I took of college flute teachers.

Hue, Fantasy; Faure, Fantasy; Mozart, G Major Concerto; Kuhlau, F Major Sonata; Poulenc, Sonata. Avoid "show pieces"--its not so much the piece, but how its played! (Respondent A)

Hindemith Sonata, any Bach sonata, any Mozart concerto, Griffes Poem, the Chaminade (or similar French solo) (Respondent B)

Handel Sonata in A minor; Mozart Andante in C; Heiden Sonatina; perhaps a study from the Kohler Opus 33, or Andersen Opus 33 (Melodious & Progressive Studies, Book 1) (Respondent C)

Baroque work--Telemann Fantasies, Mozart Concerto, or a contemporary work--may be a concerto or sonata. I try to look at what the student does well and choose in that area. (Respondent D)

For an overall audition list, I go for variety. A Baroque piece, Classical piece, Romantic piece and Twentieth century piece. A good selection for a high school student might be: Bach's Sonata in e, Mozart's Concerto in G, Gaubert's Nocturne et Allegro Scherzando, and nice American piece: something from Griffes, Hoover, or Muczynski. (Respondent E)

Bach Sonatas, Mozart Concerti, Enesco Cantabile and Presto, Poulenc Sonata, etc. (Respondent F)

Mozart Concertos, Chaminade Concertino, Poulenc and Hindemith sonatas, Burton Sonatine, Conservatoire contest pieces, etc. It's a bit boring, but these rather "tried-but-true" chestnuts of our repertoire will say great deal about a student's musical and technical maturity. Students who audition on works that are clearly above their playing level will significantly degrade their performance score. Playing the Ibert Concerto badly is not a strong indicator of the student (or the teacher!). (Respondent G)

Anything from Flute Music by French Composers. One or two movements from Hindemith Sonata, or Poulenc Sonata, Danse de la Chevre, or Syrinx. (Respondent H)

89. What is a good source of orchestral excerpts?
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(From Prema Kesselman)

I have used a book called Orchestral Excerpts from Classical and Modern Works covering a wide range of Symphonic Repertoire, edited by John Wummer. It is published by International Music Company and available in 9 separate volumes. Another good book is called Difficult Passages and "Solos", edited by Torchio, and published by Ricordi. This is published in 2 volumes.

If you are looking for complete parts, Alfred publishes parts to many of the major Symphonies. You can also order almost any full part from Luck's Music Library. The address is: P.O. Box 71397 Madison Heights, Michigan 48071 or call (800) 348-8749 for a free catalog.

(From Carin Pearson)

I use the Baxtresser book for flute and the Wye/Morris book for piccolo almost all of the time. However, *both* of these books are very expensive (~$40 each). A less expensive book that contains *both* flute & piccolo excerpts (though the picc excerpts are relatively sparse - but Tchaik 4 is there), that I used before I had the Baxtresser or the Wye, is The Modern Flutist, published by Southern. It doesn't have the Mendelssohn, or a lot of other "standards," since, as indicated by the title, the excerpts are all from pieces written late 19th century or later. But, it does have Afternoon of a Faun, Tchaik 4, Prokoffief Classical Symphony, Rimsky-Korsakov, and all of the Brahms symphonies, so I would say that it is definitely a good starting point! Another plus is that the second flute parts are written into some of the excerpts - sometimes this is very helpful; for instance, with Brahms 1, it is good to know that the second flute is helping you to hold out those notes.

(From Jerry Pritchard)

There are many fine books of "excerpts" out there for purchase. These are a good start. BUT, If you are seriously interested in pursuing an orchestral career, however, I strongly, recommend that you purchase the full flute parts where available. Often the context is the most important thing to know (after the correct notes, good rhythm, good intonation, good style, etc.) Some of the hardest things in the orchestral literature are the tutti and interior ensemble parts--not the big feature solos.

Most of the standard works are now available from Erv Monroe's Little Piper Press in Detroit. They are clean, cheap, and accurate. You can buy the first, 3nd and piccolo parts.

90. Where to go for help with injuries affecting flute playing.
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(From Patricia George)

This is the address and phone number for musicians having injury problems that are effecting their flute playing. Have heard nothing but praise from patients whom have gone there. One of my students (an MD) studied there for two weeks last January so that he could help students in our region. He was impressed also.

Medical Program for Performing Artists
Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
345 E. Superior Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611

(From John Lunn)

Clinic for Performing Artists
Dr. Michael Weinstein
Virginia Mason Medical Center
1100 9th Ave.
P.O. Box 900
Seattle, WA 98111

91. What is the best method for fixing sticky pads, dollar bills?
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(From Edwin V. Lacy)

Unless the bill is a brand new, uncirculated one, this is probably a bad idea. A well-worn dollar bill will have all kinds of abrasives embedded in it, and this cannot be good for pads. And, you don't even have to bring suspicion on yourself by going to a grocery store and buying cigarette papers.

Instead, go to a barber and beauty supply store, and buy "end papers." Being of the male persuasion and having never patronized a beauty salon, I can't say what the primary purpose of these papers might be. But, they clean pads very nicely. They are less expensive, tougher, yet less abrasive than cigarette papers, and more absorbent and cleaner than dollar bills.

I bought some at a concern called "Sally Beauty Supply," and the person in charge told me that there are over 2,000 of these stores in the US. Seems like quite a few, but even if her estimate was somewhat optimistic, it shouldn't be too hard to find one.

92. Is Vaseline okay for lubricating the flute tenons?
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(From Dr. John G. Zornig)

It's a pretty dangerous thing to do. Here's why.

When you first lubricate a metal-metal tenon, like a flute joint, it seems to work fine. As time goes on, however, dirt and small metal grains get into the lubricant - vaseline in your case - and form an abrasive paste. As you continue to assemble and disassemble the joint, the paste sands away metal, further reducing the metal and thickening the paste until the paste is the only thing keeping the flute together. I once found a paste so thick on a student's flute that when it was removed the flute was too loose to use and had to go to the shop.

Metal-metal tenons need no lubricant at all - not spit, not vaseline. If they do, they are either dirty or not fitted correctly. They should be kept completely clean, inside and out, so that they slide together with just the right amount of resistance and no wear. I clean mine every time I disassemble my flute.

So, go clean off that vaseline before it's too late.

93. Suggestions for teaching double-tonguing.
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(From Mike MacMahon)

Various people have raised the question of how to teach (or just improve) double-tonguing. Just asking the learner to say a 't', then a 'k', or a 'd', then a 'g' won't necessarily work. Here are some ideas that might be worth considering:

1. The tongue is far larger than most people think, and its volume is about three-quarters that of a tennis ball! It goes much further down in the mouth than it seems to when we look at it in a mirror, and the very back of it, facing the throat, is well out of sight. Its muscular composition and its links to other parts of the head are quite complex. Yet, when we double-tongue, there are only two relatively *small* areas of it that we should be using.

2. The tip of the tongue is much more sensitive than the sides and, particularly, the area further back. This is why one finds it relatively easy to feel what the tip is doing during 'normal' tonguing ('d'), but not so easy during the 'g' part of double-tonguing. Many people imagine they can't double-tongue, simply because they can't feel the 'g' part of 'd-g' properly. They shouldn't blame themselves. The explanation lies in the way the nerve-endings in the tongue have evolved in human-beings.

3. Learn to become aware of the sides of the tongue. This is very important and I don't think it's emphasized enough. Even to do normal 'd' type tonguing, there has to be an air-tight seal between the sides of the tongue and most of the upper teeth - otherwise the air can't be pressurized to create the attack for the 'd'. Consciously feel the sides of the tongue pressing against the side teeth and/or the roof of the mouth as you whisper a series of 'd's whilst you're reading your way through this email. Do the same for a series of 'g's. (During a 'g', you'll probably feel the sides better than the middle part of the tongue that momentarily blocks the air for a 'g'.) Because of differences in the shape of the mouth and teeth, there'll be some variation between individuals as to how much of the tongue makes contact with the side teeth and precisely where the contact is. It's worth 'comparing mouths' with another flute-player - and don't feel embarrassed about poking your finger around the sides of your own (!) mouth and moving the upper lip out of the way to get a better view of the sides of the tongue and the upper teeth.

4a. *Say* the words WIDTH and GEESE slowly. The sounds to concentrate on are the 'd' and the 'g'. You'll find that you don't need to move the tip of the tongue very much for the 'd', nor the middle of the tongue for the 'g'. Furthermore, the distance between the two places on the roof of the mouth where the sounds are made is really quite small, only about 4 to 5 cms. It may feel more, but this is because you can sense a lot of fine muscular changes taking place elsewhere in the tongue as you move from a tip-of-tongue to a middle-of-tongue movement.

Now bring your jaw up a bit further as you would when playing the flute, and *say* WIDTH and GEESE again. It probably feels a bit cramped - this is OK. However, don't imitate the normal 'speaking' versions of 'd' and 'g' in their entirety. Instead, go for much lighter, more subtle, more precise movements. Think of the way ballet dancers have to control very precisely what they do with their feet, particularly the tips of their toes. It's this same precise control that's needed for double-tonguing. Make your tongue 'tip-toe'; don't push it around your mouth as you would for speaking. Remember as well that all you need to do is to pressurize the air (for a 'd', then for a 'g') without letting air escape over the sides of the tongue at any point. You certainly don't need the larger-scale movements of the tongue that we tend to use when speaking. Compare the delicate 'd' and 'g' movements in WIDTH and GEESE with the way we move our tongue and jaw around in words like FAR, HAT, or SLASH.

4b. It might also help to practise saying the words 'eenie-meenie' two or three times - but as a young child would say them. This is so that one feels how the tongue can be bunched up in the mouth, and well forward, with the sides preventing any escape of air. Many people naturally favour this sort of positioning of the tongue when they single-tongue and double-tongue.

4c. Pretend to be a ventriloquist and make 'd' and 'g' sounds without moving your lips or jaw - but *don't* tense the lips and jaw. Whisper DIG, DEED, EAGER, GIG. As you do so, *feel* (a) the relative lack of movement of the tongue, and (b) how close the 'd's and 'g's are on the roof of the mouth.

5. Some people block the air in their throat when they tongue - and especially when they try to double-tongue. What they're doing is closing the vocal folds (vocal cords) in their larynx (=voicebox) just when they're making the 'd' and 'g' sounds in their mouth. (One reason for this is that they transfer across to their flute-playing certain actions they instinctively use in their pronunciation of 'd' and 'g' sounds in their own language or accent.) To avoid this happening, practise making a series of 'd-g-d-g-d-g' movements with air flowing absolutely unhindered from the lungs and into the mouth. In other words, *breathe through* the 'd's and 'g's. But deliberately use far less air than you would for speaking; this will also help to concentrate the attention on those precise movements of the tongue.

6. If you want to try the old-fashioned 'd-l' type of double-tonguing, you can work out how to do it by saying the words GLOVE, GLAD, GLEE with 'dl-', not 'gl-', at the beginning of each one. (Make sure you say DLOVE, DLAD, DLEE, not DuLOVE, DuLAD, DuLEE, though!) Now *whisper* them in their DLOVE, DLAD, DLEE forms and feel what's happening in the 'dl-'. (The 'l' is equivalent to the 'g' of modern 'd-g' double-tonguing.) There are only two drawbacks to 'd-l' for double-tonguing. One is that the air-jet for the 'l' isn't as precise as for the 'd'; the second is that the air for 'l' doesn't come out quite in the mid-line between the teeth - it cascades over one or both sides of the tongue. (This may suit some people, of course, depending on the arrangement of their teeth.) On my Boehm flute, I use 'd-g'; but on my early 19th-century six-keyed flute, which has a rather different embouchure hole and no lip-plate, I find 'd-l' tends to work better.

7. See if you can get away with practising double-tonguing (of the 'd-g' variety) on a train, plane or bus (fluteless, of course!) without anyone noticing. The ultimate test, I suppose, would be to sit in the audience at a concert and double-tongue the solo in the 'Midsummer Night's Dream' scherzo whilst the flautist on stage was playing it. If your neighbour glares at you, you'll know your tongue movements have been too strong!

94. Where do I find information about flute competitions?
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(from Larry Krantz)

Flute Competitions by Bakitone International
Comprehensive database of music competitions worldwide under patronage of Vladimir Ashkenazy, who has highly recommended the website to young artists and teachers.

(from Michelle Cheramy)

95. Suggestions about Intonation
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(from Patricia George)

1. Choose a flute with a good scale (Yes, it varies among flutes even from the same maker.)

2. Check the cork

3. Start by pulling the headjoint out about 1/4 inch

4. Hold the flute well---keys to the ceiling Whenever you play a note where the left hand thumb is removed, remember to roll the flute back out because the weight of the rods will make the flute naturally roll in. If you are using the Rockstro or modified Rockstro hand position, this won't apply.

5. Learn to blow. "Even" air is a must whether the air stream is slow or fast or at any angle. You can use a tuner for this--playing trying to keep the needle or marker still.

6. Practice a lot of T and G or similar material. You need to learn to get around the flute without having the flute move. Training your ears to hear scales, intervals, chords etc. will give you confidence.

7. Listen. Listen to yourself, others, CDs, concerts. You need to learn what a flute and oboe (flute and other) sounds like when it is in tune.

8. While tuners are good for some things, tuning in orchestra (even which tuning system you are in) is an ongoing process. What may be a perfect note on your instrument, may be a disaster on someone elses. Compromise is the name of the game.

9. If the tone is well produced and the rhythmic pulse is accurate, most of the time intonation will be good also. Ensembles who have players who play "before the beat" have the weakest players calling where the pitch is going to be. If everyone plays exactly "on the beat," the pitch will be better.

10. Put intonation into balance with the other parts of performance. I went through a period where I was obsessed with intonation. I listened for it and really think that I missed some great performances because I was listening to primarily one thing rather than the total package. When you listen to recordings of legendary players, the tone production isn't what you would hear today; nor is the intonation--however, there is something really epic about their communication--sense of expression--line, whatever.

96. Should I go to college or aim for a military band career?
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(from Cynthia Rugolo, Principal Piccolo "The President's Own" US Marine Band)

Each of the D.C. Military Bands has a different audition procedure. Some use tapes for the preliminary round and invite only those they feel qualified. The Marine Band has an open audition process, and all are welcome.

In fact, the US Marine Band is holding auditions next week. We have already received confirmations from 40+ candidates and expect well over 50 to actually attend the preliminary round on Monday. The vast majority of these candidates have college degrees or conservatory training, many with graduate work and extensive freelance and professional work under their belts. Of course, this is no guarantee; at the last Tuba audition we hired an extremely talented 19 year old.

To correct what may have been misinformation on the part of this band director, in general the bands do not "play 7 hours a day". Some of the bands do have a 7-8 hour work day, but might only have rehearsals in the morning. The other hours are filled with "collateral duties", extra tasks that range from Publicity to working in the Library to working "crew" (moving equipment). The Marine Band is task-specific, meaning rehearsals are only required for scheduled performances. We do not have any collateral duties, but we do a lot more than just play concerts. I would be happy to give you a more detailed description of our rather unique musical careers if you like, just email me privately (unless others on the list are similarly interested?).

Aiming for one of the D.C. Bands is a wonderful goal, but putting all your eggs in one basket probably isn't wise. I hope you will pursue your higher education, whether it be in music or any other field. It won't keep you from auditioning and can only help you grow as a person and musician.

Good luck in your decision!

(from Robert Aughtry, SSG, The United States Army Band, "Pershing's Own")

I have to say as a member of The United States Army Band "Pershing's Own" stationed here in DC that I definitely recommend that you consider college first, then try for a special band. The level of players here in the DC bands is really high. Here at TUSAB I can think of no instrumentalist that doesnt have at least a bachelor's degree and the majority have a Master's degree and have worked on doctorate degree's or other advanced degrees. This is pretty standard for these bands.

From experience, I played more every day when I was in college. There were days at LSU that I would play for at least 10 hours a day between ensembles, lessons, and practice. The daily playing time at these bands is NOT what most people think... Most of the bands may play 2-4 hours a day depending on ceremonial commitments or upcoming events. The rest of the time spent playing is usually on your own practicing or doing an outside gig.

The audition procedures for these bands are really tough and the standards are really high. Thats not to say that there are not some great young players that could win these auditions but the odds are not great. Also, since these bands are strictly by audition only, positions are not always available. In May, we are having an audition for a new piccolo/flute spot in our ceremonial band. If the spot had not been created because of need, the next available flute position here at TUSAB would not be open for about the next seven years when one of the flutists has said she's definitely retiring. Its true that in the next five to eight years we could have a turnover of 5 out of 8 players in the flute section due to the ability to retire after 20 years of service. It could also take ten years before the next job comes available.

There are other opportunities within the military which would allow you to earn money and to also earn money for college with the GI bill. Each branch of the military has bands that can be joined just by signing into the military and going through a basic type of audition. I dont know many of the specifics on that but I could find out.

In the preliminary taped audition for our opening we received at least 60 tapes and we were able to choose about 12-13 people to the live audition. Of those people we were able to invite 7-8 out of town people because of budget constraints. The other 5 people were excellent players from the local DC area which is good because we dont have to pay for them to travel here and stay in the hotel etc... There were at least 6-7 people we would liked to have invited but just couldn't. The decision making process had to become a little brutal to pare down the qualified applicants.

This was my first audition here at TUSAB on the other side of the tape (or CD in the majority of cases). First, we received a LOT of really good recordings from all over the country and the process involved a lot of listening. I remember putting together my tape to send here in the spring of 2000. I agonized for several weeks before getting the tape ready and sending it in. I had lots of pieces that I thought would work on the recording but then I'd hear the one note that didnt speak as clearly as I wished or I'd find that one moment where the mouth just went dry as dust and on and on and on. Finally, I just put the pieces that I felt represented my best playing together and stopped worrying.

This year, most of us listened to the CDs in groups of three or four to help get through all of them in the week we had allotted to make the decision and get packets out to those invited. Because the number of applicants was large and time was short, I cannot overstress the importance of putting your best piece at the very beginning. The first 30 seconds to a minute of the recording really determined whether or not we would listen to anything else on the CD. If the first piece piqued our interest we would listen to part of the second piece or pieces which then validated or contradicted our first impressions.

This really was a fascinating experience. In talking with my colleagues, we found that a missed note here or there, or a note that may not have been perfect really was not that important. The things that really set people apart were Musicality and Pitch. Technique was important but it was easy to determine when someone had good technique and just had a slight misshap and when their technique just wasn't very strong. Tone was a little harder to judge because quality of recordings varied. While most people sent in CDs, there were still a few tapes thats were sent and though the general quality was okay there were still some that were very grainy or sounded like they were recorded in the bathtub. The pieces that were sent in the most were the Liebermann Sonata, the JS Bach Partita, and the CPE Bach A minor unaccompanied sonata.

Musicality became very important in determining the final candidates to ask to the live audition. There were just some performances that seemed alive. They just jumped out of the stereo speakers and grabbed you. One particular recording did this to me. I was really taken by a performance of the first movement of the Poulenc Sonata in which the pianist had some unfortunate moments. While you would think that a performance in which the pianist was having LOTS of problems would be distracting, this flutist had such a nice control over the flute part and played so well inspite of what the pianist was doing that we agreed that it was a great job. (It could also have been the fact that they were able to perform beautifully while madness and chaos was breaking out all around them that was really impressive :-)). If I remember correctly this was actually one of the people invited to audition.

Pitch was the first eliminator of recordings. Unaccompanied baroque pieces are great to put on these kinds of tapes because you dont need an accompianist but they are also the most deadly to your chances. Pitch is critical in these works. Since you are playing all the musical roles, i.e. Bass line, melody, and accompianment, your ability to play chords in tune and have control over pitch in the different octaves is critical. Put these kinds of pieces on a tape only when you've let other people listen to the tape, especially someone who plays well in tune themselves.

In summary, Here's a general list of Do's and Dont's for taped auditions.

    1. Send the BEST Performance you've ever had.
    2. If you send an unaccompanied piece (ESPECIALLY BACH) play it in tune.
    3. If you send an accompanied piece, play it in tune.
    4. It's really worth spending the money for an accompianist. (Its not that we dismissed unaccompanied performances of pieces that actually have piano parts, its just that its very hard to show your best work without the complete musical idea).
    5. Send CD's if you can or make sure the quality of the tape is really good so that YOU are being judged instead of the quality of the recording.
    6. Dont be TOO adventurous in your choice of materials (especially for band jobs). Avant garde music is really cool and period instrument performances are really intriguing but they may not show your traditional flute playing off to its best advantage. Think about the people who may be listening to your recording.

97. What is the best way to put a flute together?
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(from Tod Brody)

To assemble the flute without damaging the tenons, I teach my students the following:

Hold the headjoint in your left hand (embouchure hole to the left). Pick up the flute body by the barrel (never holding it by the mechanism) in your right hand and, holding the headjoint still, gently twist the body onto the head. Then holding the flute body (by the barrel) in your left hand, steadily, gently twist the foot joint (holding it at the bottom, not grasping the mechanism) onto the body. To disassemble, reverse the process. The idea is that you are not inserting the head into the body and the body into the foot, but that you are gently wrapping the body onto the head and the foot onto the body. This is a very controlled and gentle process and is kind to your tenons. They should stay nice and round for a long time.

98. How to see the Dayton Miller Collection in Washington D.C.
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(by Susan Maclagan)

To make it easier for people who plan to visit the Dayton Miller Collection for the first time, I thought I would outline the steps that you have to go through in order to have the best possible visit with the least hassle.

1. Make an appointment to view the collection with the curator or other music specialist in charge of the collection. At the time of this writing, Caroly L. Ward-Bamford is the music specialist who is in charge of the collection. Her phone number is (202)-707-9083 and her email is: Alternatively, you can email the Library of Congress librarian reference service at: about your interest in making an appointment.

2. Read as much as possible about the collection at: and books on the history of the flute such as Nancy Toff's "The Development of the Flute" and John Solum's "The Early Flute".

3. The collection is held in the basement of the James Madison Memorial building of the Library of Congress at: 101 Independence Ave. S.E. The current hours are from 8:30 to 5:00 from Monday to Saturday.

4. Make a list of things you want to see in the collection and send it to the curator or other music specialist, along with the Dayton Miller catalogue number of the item that you want to view, if possible (some of the catalogue numbers can be found on the Dayton Miller web site and some in Nancy Toff's book along with the photographs of the flutes they represent). Make sure to keep a copy of the list that you sent to the curator for your own usage when you go to view the collection.

5. When you go to view the collection, take as little as possible with you. You will be searched, airport-style, at the entrance to the James Madison Memorial Building. Although, on the Library of Congress web-site, it says that you can't take musical instruments into the library, the music specialists at the library said it was OK to do so. Worried that I would be turned away by security guards because I had my flute with me, I stored it in a hotel safety deposit box.

You are not allowed to take drinks or pens into the library. Take photo ID - a passport is great. Take a sweater, as the Dayton collection is in a temperature-controlled vault which is very cool. If you forget to take something warm to wear, there are a few jackets and sweaters in the curator's office which you can borrow. Don't forget to take the list of items that you want to view. If you plan to xerox, it is easiest if you take a lot of $1US bills (more on this later in #13 below).

6. Once past security, go to Room 140 on the first floor, to get a reader registration card. You will need to show your photo ID, fill out a form, fill in information on a computer, and get your picture taken before finally being issued the card. This card is good for two years and can be renewed.

7. Once you have your reader registration card, go to the Performing Arts Reading Room LM113 on the first floor. (This is where you sign out music books, including those from the Dayton collection - more on this later in #13 below). Here you will sign in and then you need to tell the clerk at the entrance that you have an appointment to view the Dayton collection and who you made the appointment with. The clerk will phone the person you made the appointment with, and this person will come and get you and escort you to the collection.

8. Caroly L. Ward-Bamford took me to the basement and then through a large locked door to her intellectually-cluttered, small, windowless office. Here Ms. Ward-Bamford interviewed me briefly so that she could be reminded of exactly what I wanted to see.

9. Ms.Ward-Bamford then took me through a huge, heavy, locked steel door in the office and into the collection. The collection is in a vault which is of average living-room-size with no windows. There are high shelving units with storage boxes full of trade catalogs, patents for woodwind instruments, drawings, photos from Dr. Miller's collection, correspondence from/to Dr. Miller, program notes, notes, and so on. Glassed cabinets lined one wall and there was also one in the centre of the room. These contained some instruments, including the famous Quantz flute that was made for Frederick the Great, and small statues of flute players. Larger Statues, papers, photos, and booklets were also strewed about the room. Dayton Miller definitely saved everything "flute" that he could get his hands on!

In several filing cabinets with long thin drawers, only a few inches high, are most of the flutes. The flutes are usually shown assembled and they are lined up, side-by-side in the drawers, each flute in it's own long rectangular box. One part at the end of each rectangular box is sectioned-off. It is used as a container for small flute parts such as crutches. Each drawer has a theme. For example, one drawer will have walking-stick flutes, another Boehm flutes, and another Claude Laurent glass flutes. There are several tables around with repair equipment and photographic equipment. There are also tables on which you can place any item that you want to view more closely.

10. I was delighted that I was allowed the freedom to go about viewing the flutes on my own. I would take out one box at a time and put it on a table for closer viewing and sometimes photographing. White gloves were required when handling any silver flutes. I spent almost the entire day viewing the flute collection. One highlight was being allowed to play a Boehm 1832 flute (you need to ask before playing anything).

11. For any bathroom or food breaks, you have to tell the curator, so that you can make arrangements for when you want to be let in again. There is a cafeteria on the sixth floor of the same building that the collection is in, but with restricted hours (see - for more information about cafeterias) and restaurants close-by outside of the building. I went to the plain sixth floor cafeteria to save time.

12. At one point in the day, I was escorted by Ms. Ward-Bamford to the Whittall Pavillion in the Jefferson Building in order to view two small, but beautiful, window displays of more Dayton Miller flutes. In order to view these windows, it is best to let the curator of the Dayton Miller collection know of your interest or to make an appointment by calling the visitor services office at 202-707-9779. Alternatively, you can participate in a formal scheduled public tour of the Jefferson building or view the windows when the adjacent Coolidge Auditorium is opened for an event.

13. At another point in the day, I went back to the Performing Arts Reading Room to sign out, and xerox, parts of some music books. Most of the books are stored behind closed doors, away from the public. Books cannot be signed out after 4:15PM. You need to fill out a call slip to get a book and hand it in. On the call slip, you need to write the usual things, as well as the number of the table that you will be sitting at, so that the person gathering the books will know where to put them. The books in the Dayton Miller Collection have been catologued and microfilmed and are available for viewing in the Performing Arts Reading Room. For more information about the Performing Arts Reading Room, go to:

There are photocopy machines in the Performing Arts Reading Room, but before photocopying, you first need to get a photocopy card in room LM133 which is also on the first floor, but quite some distance from the Performing Arts Reading Room. The xerox card machine only takes $1US bills. Each xeroxed page costs 20cents. For more information about photocopying, go to:

For more information about:
-the Library of Congress
-about researching at the Library of Congress

99. How to prepare for a Flute Convention
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(by Susan Maclagan)

I thought that it might be useful to others if I answered this question on the list. I've been to quite a few conventions and here's what has worked well for me:

1. Wear good walking shoes. Forget cute sandals, etc.

If you are out of shape, build up your stamina NOW with lots of walking throughout the day. You will need to prepare for all the walking and standing that you will be doing at the convention.

2. Pack some power snacks and even lunches. Granola bars are great. I also take kraft macaroni and cheese that I make in an electric hot pot that I take (I don't use the coffee pot in the hotel room as my macaroni will then taste like coffee). I also take tea, small cartons of juice, buns (bread will squish in your suitcase), peanut butter, chocolate peanuts, fresh or canned fruit (I call US customs to see what I can take as I'm from a different country and not everything is allowed through). This is just some of what I take. These snacks/lunch are very helpful when you're feeling droopy at 3PM and there are 50 other droopy people lined up for coffee or you need a quick lunch and there are 100 lined up for lunch!

3. Take a notebook, several pencils or pens, and a pencil sharpener for all the notes that you are going to take and share with the lists when you get back. Take a highlighter to mark the convention book with all the events that you want to see at the convention.

4. Make a list of questions that you want to ask flute manufacturers etc. If you don't make a list, you might not remember what you wanted to ask in the excitement and activity that goes on in the exhibit hall.

5. Make a list of music, CDs, or books that you want to buy.

6. Practise even if you are not performing at the convention. You want to sound decent when you are trying out flutes.

7. Pack ear plugs if you want a nap and every room on your floor has someone practising.

8. Pack something warm to sleep in as sometimes the air conditioning works too well. Take a sweater for non-sleep times for the same reason.

9. A backpack would be better to take than a brief case or other bag that you have to carry as it's good to have your hands free. Things such as a water bottle, tylenol, your notepaper, pencil, pencil sharpener, etc. could then be easily carried.

I have a special "back purse" (looks a little like a knapsack which is slung over one shoulder, but with the weight at the back). It holds a lot. You can get a better idea of it here at - although the pictures don't do it justice. It looks much more classy than what is shown. I can fit my flute in it without the outer case, camera, notepaper, and snacks, etc. There are a LOT of pockets for organizing your passport, makeup, pencils, receipts, etc. I think that it is suitable for both men and women.

It shifts the weight off my shoulder and onto my back and holds my flute. In other words, it's good for people with back problems. You feel like you are carrying less of a load and are not sore at the end of the convention day.

100. How can one remember interval tuning adjustments?
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(by Laurie Sokoloff)

As a guideline only, I keep this taped to my practice music stand:

    Major 2nd - 3.9 cents sharp
    minor 3rd - 15.6 cents sharp
    Major 3rd - 13.7 cents flat
    Perfect 4th - 2.0 cents flat
    Perfect 5th - 2.0 cents sharp
    Major 6th - 15.6 cents flat
    minor 7th - 17.6 cents sharp
    Major 7th - 11.6 cents flat
In my philosophy (not held by everyone) these are not exact, but are a very helpful guide when your ear doesn't know where to go. For example, if you are playing the Major 3rd of a chord, and the chord is out of tune, then you should probably try placing your note lower.

101. Where Can I find information about making flute CD's?
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(from Don Bailey)

My website at has three articles about this - one by me, one by Marco Granados, and another by Rie Schmidt of Flute Force.

102. Suggested Treatment for Chapped Lips?
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(from many list members)

  • Eight Hour Lip Protectant Stick SPF 15
  • Carmex
  • Burt's Bees Beeswax Lip Balm
  • Wear lipstick
  • Vaseline
  • Drink plenty of water
  • Borofax Ointment
  • Mary Kay's lip balm
  • Blistex DCT (daily conditioning treatment) with spf 20
  • Blistex Herbal
  • Curel or Lubriderm
  • Natural Vitamin E
  • Aquafor healing ointment
  • Take a supplement of essential fatty oils. They don't taste good at all, but if I just take 1-2 Tbs. of Flax seed oil a day, my skin and lips are completely different. I think you can get the same results with Cod liver oil
  • APAISAC from Laboratoires Biorga
  • Labello Lip Treatment - Regular
  • 50/50 olive oil and beeswax
  • Borofax Ointment
  • Aquaphor by Eucerin
  • Bag Balm
  • Lansinoh Brand Lanolin
  • Desitin
  • Chop Saver
103. What about a microphone for amplification of the flute?
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(from Karla Harby)

I use a MicroVox mic that I just love. About $120 including power supply (preamp). I learned about it from this list and have been singing its praises ever since.

The mic comes from the U.K. and was designed originally for delicate wooden flutes. Works great on any kind of flute, including alto flute. Can be quickly moved from flute to flute as needed.

It's a condenser mic attached to a soft velcro strip and a preamp that atttaches to your waist. From the preamp you run an instrument cable (guitar cable) to an amp or the house p.a. (Digression: If you have your choice of amps, a keyboard amp will give you much better sound than a small guitar amp.)

Most important, the preamp (a little control box) allows the flutist to control the volume. This is vital ! I set mine at the mid range during sound check so I can move it either up or down during performance.

This mic makes the flute "just like an electric guitar," which is what you want to keep telling the sound tech, who will have never seen such a thing before but will nonetheless try to tell you how to use it!

By the way I refuse to perform with a vocal mic on a stand -- that's how strongly I feel about this. With those mics I can't move at all and I hate that. Also I'm not convinced most vocal mics are adequate for picking up the frequencies we produce on our flutes.

(from Ben Gribaudo)

You didn't say if your student wants a close micing solution or if she is looking for a miniature microphone that attaches directly to the flute, so this reply will cover both.

For close micing of the flute, I've used an Audio-Technica AT3031 ($160, flat response, 30Hz-20klHz, small diaphragm cardioid condenser w/switch able low-cut filter and 10 dB pad). I think it sounds OK, although I've not had the opportunity to compare it. Just be sure to check with your sound technician first, as this microphone requires phantom power to be supplied to it via the mic cable.

For miniature microphones, here are a few links:

I've never used any of these miniature microphones, so I can't comment on their quality. I'm sure other list members could. Keep in mind, that depending on the quality of sound desired and the length of mic cable, the use of a direct injector (DI) box (good one-$80) may be required with the miniature mics.

(from Micah Schweizer)

The Radio Shack lapel mic has served me quite well, and at around $30, is extremely affordable (and much cheaper than any deidicated flute mic on the market). I attach the mic between the crown and the lip-plate on my headjoint with a velcro cable tie, and can then adjust it for the best sound. I'm much happier with this set-up than with either the SM-57 or SM-58 stand-mounted microphones. I can move around, the sound is good, and very little (if any) wind noise is picked up. Using electrical tape, I provided some stress relief for the wires and attatched the 1/8" to 1/4" adapter to the little belt-clip on/off switch.

(from Sandy Currin)

I play every Sunday with a contemporary praise band at our church ((keyboard acoustic guitar w/pickups, electric guitar, electric bass, full drum set behind drum shield, and me). I stand between the electric guitar and the bass, and in front of the drum set. I use an Aungles microphone, which attaches by unscrewing the crown, and screwing the mic base in its place. There is a little "gooseneck" arm with the actual microphone that extends from the crown to a place in front of the lip plate, you can move it around to find the best spot. The wire runs from the crown down to a piece the size of my index finger's fingertip joint, with an on-off switch, containing a watch-type battery, and having a clip that you can clip onto your pocket or sash. I have a music stand pencil tray that is fairly thin, and I clip it to the lip of that, so I can leave the flute on stage during the non-music parts of the service. From there, the wire extends down to the connector that plugs into your box, which is in turn attached to the sound system. You turn off the watch-battery after each session, it will run down if left on even if the sound system is turned off. During the Sunday services when I'm not playing, I set my flute on a very stable flute peg, the wires are long enough that it's not a problem.

For my band purposes, this is a good microphone. I don't know if it's recording quality, but for my praise band situation it works well. I have had it about 4 years. I think it was around $120 when I bought it, on-line from Flute World if I'm remembering correctly.

(from Chris Leck)

The Chris Norman Ensemble played here in Portland, Oregon, recently. Chris was using a CountryMan vocal mic that fit over his left ear, then attached to a wireless transmitter in his back pocket.

Overall, Chris's sound was excellent. The mic did a wonderful job of capturing the sounds of Chris's wooden flutes. This surprised me a bit because of the mic's location relative to the airstream. The mic was small, out of the way, and not too visible (see The wireless setup gave Chris extreme freedom of movement. The mic also was handy for the times that Chris spoke with the audience (see Finally, the ear-mounted mic allowed Chris to switch instruments as easily as he could pick one up.

If I needed amplification, I would start by trying to emulate Chris Norman's setup. I have some experience with stand-mounted mics and Barcus-Berry pick-ups and don't care much for either. Unfortunately, I didn't get details as to the model, pick-up pattern, wireless link, amp, etc. that Chris used. Maybe someone could write to Chris at and ask.

(from Bill McBirnie)


Over the years, I have tried a number of microphones and pickups to attempt the difficult task of making my flute audible above the sound levels generated by a rock band.

I began, when I first took up the instrument, by playing into the same mic as I used for vocals - the Shure model 57. This is one of the most commonly used dynamic mics for a variety of purposes, including micing drums, guitar and vocals where a relatively flat response between 100 hz and 10 Khz is desired.

The close and slightly preferable cousin to this mic is the Shure model 58 which has a slight peak response of around 8 - 10 Khz as opposed to the 6 Khz peak of the 57. This, combined with the greater rejection of the familiar "golf ball" pop shield makes, in my opinion, the 58 the mic of choice to play into for stage use. The two mics are similarly priced and widely available for around $160 if you shop around a little.

I still use my vocal mic (Shure Beta 58) for about a third of the time where I have to make quick changes from voice to flute or am otherwise encumbered with an acoustic guitar or mandolin. The trick is to get close to the mic (almost touching, say half an inch from actual contact) to reject, relatively speaking, as much noise from the other musicians - particularly drums - on the stage. You would normally get this close with vocals as well for the same reason. The penalties paid are twofold: firstly, you have a greater tendency to "pop" on explosive consonants and to greatly exaggerate wind and breath noise. Secondly there is the "proximity effect" of added bass response which leads the unwary sound engineer to add much more treble or "top end" to compensate. WRONG! This problem should be corrected by putting in the high pass filter on the mixing console (removing progressively the frequencies below, say, 80 hz.) Instead, or in addition, it will be necessary to take out further frequencies from around 120 hz. and below. A little top at about 10 -12 Khz may, however, help articulation.

A peak limiter can be inserted in the signal path to control the loudest notes or better still, a compressor working at about a ratio of 6-1 with a gain reduction of around 6 - 8 dB will smooth out the volume peaks in performance and give a little more apparent volume response in the lower register of the flute (or vocal).

The alternative to the separate mic on a stand (which limits severely the mobility of the performer) is to use a clip-on mic attached to the head joint of the flute just to the left, or above, the lip plate. The make which I use, after much experimentation, is the Countryman Isomax hypercardioid wireless model made by Countryman Associates Inc., 417 Stanford Avenue, Redwood City, CA 94063. They can be reached by telephone at 800 669 1422 or 650 364 9988. Fax at 650 364 2794. It can be supplied with the manufacturer's own flute clip which snaps over the head joint with almost no wear or tear to the silver or silver-plated surface. It is also available from specialised retailers whose names may be obtained from the manufacturer.

Again, with this microphone, the bass proximity effect applies and is coped with in the same way. I position my mic so the active surface of the mic is facing down the length of the flute, in line with the embouchure hole. The face of the mic is only about an inch from the hole itself and is rather susceptible to wind noise exhaled from the nose of the player.

The Countryman mic is an electret mic and requires power from some source to operate. In my case, the lead from the mic goes to a Shure UHF radio transmitter belt pack, which also acts as the power supply to the mic. The signal then goes to a nearby rack-mounted receiver which feeds into a small mixer (I use a Mackie 12 channel) along with the signals from my vocal mic and acoustic guitar.

I add at this stage some echo and reverb to the sound from a rack-mounted multi-effects unit, controlled by a midi foot pedal. I switch off the effects between songs for verbal introductions, or for dry vocals. The flute always sounds sweeter with some degree of reverb or a short (250 ms) stereo repeating delay, or a mixture of both. I use a number of pre-programmed effects on both flute and vocals but, I hope, subtly. Don't overdo it because the varying acoustic ambience of almost any venue will add further reverberations and make for a watery quality to everything you play.

The output from my little mixer, which is positioned a few feet from me on the stage, goes to the main mixer out front in the audience. There, the stereo mix of effects plus flute mic and vocal mic is added to the separate feed from my acoustic guitar as well as all the other musicians' instruments. A further discrete mix from my little on-stage mixer, which includes the acoustic guitar, is fed to a rack-mounted Shure transmitter which sends the combined signals to my belt receiver pack leading to the tiny in-ear monitors which I wear to hear myself play and sing as well as to cut down the apparent volume of drums guitar and bass etc. on stage. You could send this mix to conventional monitor "wedges" instead.

So, really, there is no great mystery attached to amplification of the flute. Just a powerful mic positioned close to the instrument. Various other types of mic can be used, If you are not playing with a loud group of musicians around you, you might prefer a mic positioned a little further away, say four or five inches, and with omni-directional, rather than cardioid, characteristics. This should give a slightly more open and natural sound but, of course, will pick up more of the other musicians and, to an extent, the audience. It will be more prone to feedback when you try to crank up the sound. But in an orchestral or acoustic band context, it will sound nicer and more natural. There are a number of small powered mics available, but you will still have to pay around $200 - $300 for good quality.

There have been some attempts to manufacture contact mics for the flute, but they suffer from the bugbear of transmitting the considerable mechanical noise of the key mechanism and unevenly "hearing" the different notes in the three octaves of the instrument.

The only way to accurately mic a flute is from about six feet away, with an omnidirectional mic or more than one directional, or cardioid, mic. This is, however, clearly impractical for all but the entirely unaccompanied flute performance.

(from Jane Rigler on behalf of Jody Elf)

Jane: How much money do you have or want to spend on a good flute mic? How do you want to use your mic? What kind of music do you usually play? Where do you usually play (large or small venues?) Do you want to be able to use the mic as an expressive tool? or be constantly amplified? These are only some questions you need to be able to answer. For stand mounted mic, for live performances, I love the Neuman KMS 105. It's pretty expensive (boy, is it worth it), about $500, perhaps. You can check ebay too. For a head set mic, the DPA 4088 is wonderful.


DPA4088 headset mic
About US$600.00, plus the required adapter for output, about another $50.00
Go to: Products/Headband/4088-F

The 4088 is an amazing microphone - headworn, it stays out of the way of your blowing, so you stand no chance of wind-noise interference. It is a virtually flat-response microphone, so you hear no unwanted coloration of your flute sound.

Neumann KMS105
About US$500.00.

The KMS015 is an excellent mic for live, loud, amplified applications, due to it's supercardioid pattern. It is a wonderful sounding, very responsive mic that very effectively rejects surrounding on-stage noise - perfect for a quiet flute in a loud environment. It can also handle sudden changes in SPL - like a loud attack transient from an overblown note - without distorting. Because of it's stand-mounted nature, it stays in one position (unlike a headset mic which will move with the player), so if you're playing in a situation with monitor speakers, you will be able to more carefully fine-tune the environment to get more gain before feedback.

Shure SM58
About US$100.00

A good beginner mic for anyone in a live reinforcement environment. It's durable, reasonable sounding, and not too expensive.

With any stand-mounted mic for flute, it is a good idea to pick up a foam windscreed - about US$1.50 at any music store or Radio Shack.

When considering microphones, there are some basic things to consider:

Type of microphone: Condenser vs. Dynamic

This refers to the functional mechanics of the microphones. (Making some broad generalizations here), one could say that Condenser mics are more "responsive" than dynamic mics. Many engineers will tell you that condenser mics sound "better," Although there are still many, many dynamic mics in use every day. Both types of mics are used in both recording and live reinforcement situations, although one encounters dynamic mics more frequently than condensers in live environments.

Condenser mics require power to operate. This is called "Phantom Power", and travels along the same wire that carries the sound output from the microphone. Phantom power is usually supplied by the mixing console, but you can also purchase a battery-powered portable phantom power supply to carry with you.

Dynamic microphones require no phantom power to operate.

Typically (another generalization here), dynamic mics are less expensive and more durable than condenser mics. They are often a good starting point for people new to working with microphones.

Pickup Patterns: Omnidirectional, Cardioid, Hyper- (or Super-) Cardioid

The "Pickup Pattern" of a microphone refers to the area around the capsule of the microphone within which sound is captured.

An Omnidirectional microphone picks up sound in all directions around the mic. A Cardioid microphone picks up sound only in front of the mic, while "rejecting" sound from the sides and rear of the mic. A good choice if you're trying to isolate your sound from the surrounding environment. A Hypercardioid (or Supercardioid) microphone is - as you guessed - an even more aggressive version of a Cardioid mic, and picks up only the sound DIRECTLY in front of the mic. Sometimes this is helpful, but it can also be unforgiving; if you move too far off-axis of the microphone, you will move right out of the pickup pattern and not be heard.

Frequency Response

This refers to the tonal characteristics of a microphone. The human ear can hear sounds from roughly 20 Hz - 20,000 Hz (Hz or Hertz = vibrations per second). A "flat" microphone would pick up sounds evenly across this entire spectrum. There is no microphone that is absolutely, perfectly flat, although some high-end measurement microphones (used for test purposes) come very very close. Many practical microphones do a very good job though, and those are the mics that sound the most "natural". In fact, some people choose mics because they sound less flat, and the particular characteristics of the mic enhance certain aspects of their sound that they find desirable. This is why there are hundreds of different kinds of microphones that appeal to many different people for different situations. If you have the opportunity, you should listen to your instrument through the mic you're considering and make your own decision.

104. Does a Crown and Stopper make a difference?
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(from Robert Bigio)

Robin Jakeways writes:
"There seems to be a subtle interaction between the vibrating air in the cavity to the left of the embouchure hole and the the stopper itself which I do not understand."

I'm pleased to learn that Robin doesn't understand it either. I'm the one who makes the things, and I remain bewildered.

A brief history of all this might be interesting. For ten or twelve years I made stoppers out of Delrin (a hard plastic) and crowns out of African Blackwood. People liked them, and I sold lots without, at first, even advertising them. A couple of years ago a most interesting gentleman who had a set of my stoppers and crowns, David Symington, asked me to make a stopper out of silver rather than Delrin. I made one. It sounded different. I didn't know why. David then asked me to make stoppers out of different materials. After a year or two I began to think we had gone right round the periodic table. I made stoppers out of everything from aluminium to zirconium, including a few '-iums' I hadn't before heard of. I frankly thought the whole affair was really rather strange, but as I made them it was undeniable that stoppers made of different materials made the flute sound different. I haven't a clue why this should be.

An interesting observation is that the value of the material did not affect my opinion of the results, or that of many other people. I made one stopper out of gold, at outrageous expense, and didn't like it. David didn't like it, either, and he was the one who had had to pay for it.

Of all the metals I tried the one people liked the best was zirconium. I haven't the faintest clue why this stuff should produce better results than any other, but it does. I really rather wish it hadn't, because it's expensive and it's horrible to work with.

After all the experiments with different materials for stoppers, David asked me to make him a crown out of zirconium. It would seem daft to believe that changing the crown should affect the sound and response of the flute, but it does, and the proof of this is that some very, very fine players have bought zirconium crowns from me after trying them. I must admit to some embarrassment selling these gadgets because it seems so ridiculous that they should make any difference at all, but they do. I don't know why. After a couple of years of pondering why it should make a difference I have come to the conclusion that It Just Does.

Any better explanation would be most welcome.

105. What digital recorders are good for recording flutes?
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(from Katherine Kemler)

I just love my Edirol 24 bit Digital recorder. It is compact, lightweight, can be used with batteries or plug in, with internal or external microphone, and records with CD quality for about 3 hours or on MP3 quality for much longer. You can listen back with headphones or dump it all on a computer and burn a CD. It costs about $400.

(from Elizabeth Gaston)

In addition to ibook...there is a new recording device that attaches to the bottom of ipods, called the Belkin Tune/Talk Stereo. It is so simple to use...plug it into the ipod, and press the center button, and start recording. It boasts "cd quality" recordings...then move your recordings to itunes and burn away! $69.00 at all Apple stores. (You can add an additional microphone to the ipod for even better recordings!). You can use it to record lessons, students, master classes, lectures, too. This wonderful tool was just released in August. Highly recommended!

(from Andra Bohnet)

If you have an iPod you can use the Belkin Tunetalk, about $50-60, which records in stereo at CD quality. It dumps directly to your computer through iTunes and can then be edited if you choose to do so in another program like Garage Band or Audacity. I have had this gizmo for about 3 months now and have recorded everything from concert I attended to concerts I played through a PA system. You can control the volume level through a switch on the bottom and I've done everything through the "no gain" setting and it hasn't clipped, even when it was directly under a PA speaker. To keep this flute related. It handles the high pitches of the piccolo and penny whistle just fine and I can't tell any sound difference between this and my minidisc recorder which has a pretty cheap mic.

(from Mike Clements)

I know of three high quality digital recorders: the M-Audio Microtrack, the Edirol R-09 and the Zoom H4. The latest of the 3 is the H4 and that is what I use. It has built-in stereo microphones and does everything - mics, preamps, recording, even multitracking and mixing - in one battery powered unit. It's easy to use and records to the same SD cards that cameras use. It has very good sound quality even with the built-in mics.

Two things I like about the H4 that the Edirol & M-Audio don't have, is that the H4 has XLR inputs (as well as 1/4" inputs) for external mics. And the H4 supplies true 48V phantom power for condenser mics. The H4 can also run 24V phantom if you have a mic that doesn't need the full 48V and you want to have the batteries last longer. I've used it with the built-in mics and with high quality condenser mics and have been very pleased with the results.

The other nice thing about the H4 is that it's less expensive than the M-Audio or the Edirol - about $300.

(from Pauline Mancuso)

I took the big bite - I bought a Marantz recorder for almost $700. I use it in school to record my classes (whose performances I post on my website - General Music kids LOVE this - some of them NEVER get anyone to notice or praise them) and for me to record parts for choral rehearsals, and accompaniments. It records to flash cards - I did NOT want one that records direct to CD, because I wanted to edit. I then download the files easy as downloading pictures from my camera - edit, label, post, or send to whatever format and media I want. It has a teeny mike built-in, but I schlep two Shures, or use my AKG mikes at home. Yup - two mike stands, yadayada. Not exactly the most convenient - but the capabilities are great, and the sound quality can be adjusted in a million ways.

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