Intonation    16:33 on Tuesday, July 24, 2007          

(218 points)
Posted by Penny

I hate to bring up a question thats been asked a billion times but... My third octave is very out of tune. I've searched this topic lots of times and read all the threads dealing with this problem on 8notes, but im still having problems. I don't play in front of my tuner all the time because its very frustrating. When I do use a tuner, my first and second octaves are almost perfect. When I hit D3 it goes very sharp. My E3 is so sharp its almost an F. And My Ab3 sounds like its only slightly higher than G3.

I've angled my airstream down as far as a can, and I've tried adjusting the size of the airstream but this doesn't do much. I don't think it's my breath support either because my tone is fairly descent in that octave.

I pulled the headjoint out a bit and 'reset my embouchure' so that the lower octaves were in tune. This helped a little but I'm about at that +20 mark on my tuner.

I play on a JFL-611R.

Re: Intonation    21:00 on Tuesday, July 31, 2007          

Account Closed
(394 points)
Posted by Account Closed

You have to adjust your embouchure from note to note tightening and loosening it. I have the curse of near perfect pitch, and I hate the 3rd register or octave. I play sharp too much because I typically over-blow and to correct this I blow less and tighten the lips and embouchure.

There is the joke how do you get 2 flutists to play in tune...yeah, well, it doesn't have to be that bad, because there are such things as flute trios out there. 35 years now, and I have to be always aware where my tuning on this octave is. My very nice but sometimes evil flute teacher would have a tuner day...I used to train on a strobo-tuner...You might learn to befriend your tuner...shake hands, bury the hatchet, and give that tuner another chance.

Just say to yourself, I like my tuner...the tuner is my friend...I will not break my tuner or throw it down...

Good Luck!!!

Re: Intonation    14:08 on Wednesday, August 01, 2007          

(15 points)
Posted by akniering

My flute teacher recommended the following exercise to me for other reasons, but it will definitely help with intonation--

Play a low C#, and get it in tune. Then play the octave harmonic and tune it to your low C#. Once these two notes are in tune, play the same C#(octave harmonic) with the regular fingering and tune it to the harmonic. If you need to make adjustments, be sure to begin with low C# again, and work your way through the excercise until all 3 notes are in tune. Once the harmonic and the true note are in tune, you are playing with the correct angle, and all other notes should be in tune as long as you don't change anything.

The reasoning behind this has to do with the physics of the flute, but your low c# is naturally more in tune than the octave, as the octave is almost completely open, and the other is almost completely closed. If you can tune it to the closed harmonic, the angle of your flute/airstream is in an optimal position to play in tune, and to be able to make minor embouchure adjustments as necessary.

Hope this helps!

Re: Intonation    14:56 on Wednesday, August 01, 2007          

(208 points)
Posted by ekdavies

To play notes "in tune" the first and most important pre-requisite is that you develop a sense of "correct" pitch. Most beginners have difficulty with this and when you have a group of flute players there is a tendency to listen to each other rather than the chord being played by other instruments. This can results in the flutes being in tune with each other but out of tune with other players - which prompts adjustment and the group not being in tune! A tuner can tell you its wrong but your ear can do that as well!

The only real solution is to develop an ability to bend the pitch - and this is surprizingly easy in the third octave. If you have difficulty doing this enough even after practice then you should review alternative fingering (especially for F). You probably shouldn't leave your teacher as the last resort as in most cases a lesson with a good teacher can save you hours of experimentation. A good teacher should also be able to remind you of the limitation of an instrument - unless they sold you it or recommended it!


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