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   Forum » General » Joined the Dark Side, have a few questions
Author: Silkweed Date: 2006-06-13 10:42:24
I've been playing clarinet for about nine years now, and I'm studying music at the university of Toronto. I've been wanting to pick up flute for a number of years now, and very recently, I managed to pick up a used Yamahah student model.

Once I figured out how to hold it properly, I've been finding that it's amazingly similar to clarinet in many respects, and I'm starting to discover just how strange my native instrument is by comparison. The most obvious difference is the overtone series in octaves on flute, rather than twelfs as I'm used to, since the clarinet is conical. If you want to have fun with octave studies sometime, you might try picking up the clarinet.

My main question is with respect to the pinky finger on the right hand. The fingering charts I've been reading have indicated that the D# key ought to be held down for pretty much any note in the first octave asided from D, D# and the lowest notes. At first, I wondered if this was a subtle tuning adjustment similar to the clarinet's use of the Eb key to bring up the pitch of anything over the second break, but then I considered that maybe it was quite simply meant as a counterbalance for when fewer keys are held down. I wanted to ask which is the case, because if I'm right about it being only a counterbalance for easier holding of the instrument, it would make things like a C major arpeggio wildly easier on my poor pinky. I'm used to having left/right options!

Also, I was wondering whether or not there were any "right hand down" rules for flute as there are on clarinet for when you're going over the break. If so, could someone please tell me what the general rules are as far as right hand preparation goes, and which notes are affected, or unaffected, by keeping the right hand down.

My last question is tentative, because I don't imagine that I'll get a straight answer. I was wondering what's reasonable for holding a note in one breath. Let's use the C on the third space of the staff as an example. At 60 BPM, and a comfortable dynamic, how many beats ought I to be able to play a sustained note, and does anyone have any tips as far as improving general breath control? As you might imagine, I'm used to a lot of back pressure, and playing flute makes me a little lightheaded sometimes. I usually take this as a sign to take a rest.

Any other general tips would be very welcome as I have only been playing for about a week now. I'm already in love though.


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