I’ve given many lessons and lectured several times about the subject of the impossible low C and C# on the flute, but today will take a new twist and look at a habit that is possibly and probably making your effort to play these notes even more futile.
There are hundreds of thousands of learning flute-players in this world. They are all trying very hard to be able to sound the way they imagine the flute should. But sometimes it just doesn’t work, and it’s frustrating to figure out why. The lowest notes on the flute are among the most discouraging at times.
This grip on the keys of the foot joint is such a problem.
These two notes (and the low B if you own an intermediate flute) are different than the other notes on the flute because they are part of the foot joint instead of the body.
Not only does our air stream have to travel allllll the way down to the bottom of the flute in order to get the pitches out, they require special embouchure and the perfect direction of split air stream.
But, one thing that gets overlooked is that fact that a very large percentage of learning flutists don’t know that every single day they are doing something that is actually making those notes impossible. And that’s the grip on their flute as they assemble it.
Look at the image on this page. This person is grasping their flute in a manner that will allow them to quickly force the foot joint on and off. I’m not sure why we all feel like we are in such a hurry that we have to put the grip on our instrument, but it seems to happen more often than not.
This grip on the keys of the foot joint is such a problem. The keys are made of precious metals that are not indestructible, and within time and repetitious gripping, they bend and shift a little.
This bending and shifting creates leaks in the keys where the pads should lay perfectly flat. So no matter how well your technique is, there will most definitely be an issue playing the low C and C#.
This isn’t the only issue with forcing the foot joint on and off, but it is one of the top three for sure.
Lesson learned today: hold the flute foot joint on the end where there are no keys or mechanism as you twist it onto the body. This could possibly make your flute life so much easier by making the impossible low C and C# on the flute possible again. (after your instrument has seen a good repair technician)
Cheers today! I hope to see you in a lesson here at Learn Flute Online soon. Let me know if you have any experience with this subject by leaving a comment or question in the section below.