Sunday, December 28, 2008

Flute, Alto Flute & Horn

To give the Friday group more treble voices, I started playing the (soprano) flute, which I had never really worked with before, other than as a solo instrument to take a break from piano back in conservatory days. I've had real trouble with intonation halfway up the second octave and on up. Running through things with Andy on cello fooled me into thinking I was OK, but I now realize he must have been compensating for my sharpness high up.

So I got out the alto flute, which I played for a number of years, and discovered there were intonation problems there as well. I adjusted the cork in the head joint on both and that helped a lot. But the real culprit has been the horn. With both flutes and the horn, moving the lower jaw has a lot to do with playing in tune. The problem is that the jaw movements needed for each instrument on each note are different, sometimes subtly and sometimes more obviously. 

Once all that became apparent, things have improved. Playing multiple instruments is a real joy, because each has it's very own way of making music. But there's a price to pay if you don't completely "change channels" when going from one to the other.

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