There are many reasons a flute can sound ‘off’. Intonation is oftentimes a work in progress for a learning flutist because we create our tone through our air stream. We can’t always blame our instrument for our sound. So “Why is my flute so out of tune?”
So many ways to change pitch!
Are you sharp? Are you flat? Is it a combination of both? Is it you or your flute?
First, it’s important to know that there are many different components to solving tone mysteries, and intonation is part of it. This article will only address one avenue to fixing intonation, and it is the most obvious place to begin. The flute head joint has changed lengths a bit over the past few decades.
Without getting too techy we need to understand that the newer flutes are designed to be played pulled out a bit. This is super helpful because we used to have trouble getting sharp enough to match certain instruments (an off tune piano, for example). This means that when assembling the flute, you’ll NOT push the head joint all the way into the body. Yup.
This subject is best demonstrated, so I hope you’ll come into the membership area here at Learn Flute Online so you can have the flute-feast of a lifetime! I’ll show you exactly what I mean.
By blowing harder we can move our pitches sharper on the scale, and by blowing softer we can make them flat. We can also wave the pitches up and down by rolling our head joint towards and away from our face. So many ways to change pitch!
Also, besides breath speed and head joint length, the cork position plays an important role in what happens organically (without fudging the way we play).
Yes, there’s a cork inside the head joint of a flute. It’s exact position determines how long the air waves are, and if it is moved even slightly then certain notes are just not going to sit where they are supposed to.
There is so much to learn about how to be perfectly on tune on a flute. And, want to remember that it’s not always your flute’s fault… or your fault either!
Let’s talk more about this subject. Leave your thought and questions in the comment section here. See you again soon!