Dynamics and Intonation, part 2

In my most recent blog post I addressed Dynamics. Here’s the other half of the equation – Intonation, which is learning to play in tune. This is intended for the flute student that is new to learning about intonation.

Start by getting a tuner or tuner app. Turn it on and calibrate it to A=440. Tune your middle and lower register As and middle D. The goal is to have the needle vertical so the green light is on. Remember to play with a consistent air stream for each note. If your air is different, for example, playing soft for one tuning note and loud for another, you won’t match the intonation with the different octaves.

If you are sharp, meaning it is leaning towards the right, then pull your headjoint out a little. Here’s a way to remember. If you step on a tack – or a pin, it is sharp and you want to pull it out. (Do people even use thumb tacks anymore??) If you are flat, meaning it is leaning towards the left, then it’s the opposite, push your headjoint in slightly.

Next, practice harmonics. Finger a note in the low register, then overblow to get different pitches. You do this by changing the lip opening, air speed, and angle of the air.

Try this exercise. Play low G, middle G, then overblow to get the pitch high D. Then switch to the “true” high D fingering and try to keep the pitch the same. Play the

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