Friday, October 10, 2014

How To Play The Second Octave E On The Flute

So you have been playing pieces on the flute using the first octave notes and are ready to move on to the second octave sounds. Firstly, I will label all first octave notes with a 1 after, all second octave notes with a 2 after and all third octave notes with a 3 after. Eg G1 and E2 and C3
To begin with the second octave notes from E2 to C#3 are fingered exactly the same as the first octave notes from E1 to C#2. All D’s and D#’s have different fingering throughout the flute register.
To produce those second octave sounds you need to increase the speed of the air that you are blowing by making the size of your embouchure smaller. Imagine a hose with water flowing out. If you squeeze the hose to make a smaller diameter where the water can flow out, what happens?  Yes, the water comes out faster.
You need to do the same with your lips so that the air comes out faster.
How Do You Do This?
All you need to do is move your jaw forward to direct the air more outwards and squeeze the sides of your lips together to get a smaller lip hole.
Let’s do a little exercise to get the feel of your jaw moving forward.
Jaw Exercise:
1. Place your hand about 5 cm away from your lips such that when you blow straight across then the air is in the middle of your palm.
2. Now blow onto your palm as if you were playing lower octave sounds.
The air should be felt below the middle of your palm.
3. Now move your jaw or lower lip forward and blow onto the palm of your hand.
 Where does the air land on your hand?
To get second octave sounds the air needs to be directed higher on the far side of the flute embouchure hole. If you can feel the air on your hand above the middle then you are on the right track.
The distance between the middle of the palm and the point at where you produced the lower octave sounds is the same as the distance between the middle of the palm and the point where you get the second octave sounds.
So the movement of moving the jaw forward and squeezing the lips together is what you need to produce the second octave sounds. As you move up the octave from E2, then you will need to make the lips smaller. Producing E2, F2 are fairly similar. Then from G2 upwards just do subtle movements to produce the sound.
Now that you know what to do, it is a matter taking action with the three P’s.
It is a good idea to play some exercises slowly to get the feel of your new note.
Firstly play 2 note exercises, like D2 to E2. You can make it like a siren sound where you repeat the pairs of notes. D2 E2 D2 E2 etc.
Then you can play notes around and on D. Just make up your own tunes.
Secondly you will want to play pieces with your new note E.  You can pull out the note before the E2 in the piece and do siren sounds with that note and E2. And you can pull out the note after the E2 and do siren sounds with that note and E2. And then this makes it relevant.
You can move on to higher notes as each second octave sound gets easier to produce.Here is a Flute Book which has pieces using notes spanning 2 octaves.
Here is one tune from the book.

Just remember to keep on PLAYING on different days of the week and you will be racing towards the third octave sounds in no time.

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