Hi Everyone-

I have just bought a trad simple system 6 hole D flute. Could somebody please tell me: when I play just the headjoint by itself to work on embouchure: what pitch should I get or what pitch should I be aiming for? I know with a Boehm keyed flute it should be A440, Is it, or should it be the same on a trad flute headjoint? I'm getting between Bb and B.

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Hi Russell;

my advice is that there is no benefit from practicing with just the head joint. If you do, you will get some kind of no-man's-land note and the embouchure that you develop that way will not be the same as you need for playing the instrument. Also, someone who has not played a flute at all will need to develop their arm muscles for holding the flute properly. (I gather you already play the Boehm flute, though)

It is better, IMO, to practice your embouchure using the whole flute. Start off with a note mid-way up the flute, e.g. lower-register G, as it is easier to get a reasonable sound on G than on D. As your embouchure develops, you will be able to get a more solid sound on the lower notes (assuming your flute has a solid bottom-end sound).

Also, pay attention to the rotational position of the embouchure hole relative to the rest of the flute (and therefore relative to your lips), as that affects the tone a great deal. Look along the flute, with the head joint pointing at your eyes. Rotate the head joint so that the left-hand side of the embouchure hole is lined up with the centre-line of the finger holes. Later, as your embouchure develops (which can take years!), rotate the embouchure hole so that the left-hand edge of the hole lines up with the right-hand edge of the finger holes. The latter position will give a more solid sound, but it requires a much stronger embouchure.

One final tip (and I hope I am not being patronising) is that many people think that you get the upper register by blowing harder. This produces a harsh upper register which is sharp compared to the lower register. What you should do to get the upper register is to tighten your embouchure. As an exercise, try playing the upper register as quietly as you can. You will instinctively tighten your embouchure to do that.

I hope this helps..Mike Meyerstein


That's very helpful thanks Mike. Sorry for the late reply. I hadn't logged in here for a while.

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