Playing Tips - How to Play in Tune - High Spirits Flutes

Playing Tips - How To Be In Tune With The Flute

Posted on February 26, 2020 by Odell Borg

Playing music with others is 70% listening and 30% playing.
The tuning of a wind instrument is a product of two components: 1) the instrument and (2) the actions taken by you, the player . Below is a brief discussion on these topics followed by a video. 

In wind instruments tuning is affected by:

1. The physical makeup of the flute:
Each HS flute is hand tuned, this includes fine-tuning the fetish gapping and each of the holes to achieve a tuning that is within 10 cent (a cent is a measure of tuning) of the true note.
2. The temperature and humidity of the environment:
Our tuning room is kept at 70 degrees Fahrenheit with 30% humidity. When the environment in which a flute is being played drastically deviates from those specs the tuning will be affected.
3. The amount of air pressure that is blown into the flute:
The more air pressure that is blown into a flute the sharper the note will be, the softer the air pressure the flatter the note. We tune our flutes using what we consider to be an average amount of air pressure so that the flute will be in tune for the average person’s breath pressure.
4. What you can do to play in tune:
 Playing music with others is 70% listening and 30% playing.
One of the most important aspects of playing with others is to listen to what the other people are playing while you are playing with them. With your ears open to the surrounding music you can use your breath pressure to adjust your tuning to match what you are hearing. This is a skill that often requires practice so be patient with yourself.
Use a tuner to understand the interaction between your flute and your breath pressure.
While doing this remember that being in tune is a relative experience. What I mean by that is when you are playing with other people what matters is that you are in tune with each other, not that you are in tune with what a tuner says is correct.
Use an embouchure to reduce the amount of moisture going into the flute. Moisture buildup under the fetish will affect the tuning. More information can be found here.
Warm up your flute.
You can warm the flute using a heater (just be careful not to burn the flute). You can also close all the holes on the flute and blow your warm breath into the bottom of the flute to help warm up the sound chamber. More information can be found here.