Flute Technique

Flute Technique

Flute Technique

Flute Technique


This book by the former Professor of Flute at the Royal Academy of Music (1945-1985) and Principal Flute of the Philharmonia Orchestra (1949-1972) is designed for professional and amateur alike. It contains detailed instructions for sound production, breath control, intonation, tonguing, and dynamics and offers sound advice on phrasing, tone, vibrato, and orchestral playing. There are annotated fingering charts showing normal fingerings, alternative fingerings, and trill fingerings, and a concise account of the history of the instrument. There is a useful repertory list and an appendix by Sebastian Bell (Principal Flute of the London Sinfonietta and current Professor of Flute at the RAM) describing avant-garde techniques.


The finest flute sound, with a quality which can be greatly varied, both in dynamics and colour, must be built upon the sure foundations of tone, intonation, and purity of production; these qualities can only be acquired after diligent practice, for which a fine sense of pitch and a discerning ear are indispensable. Even these assets are not enough for the complete player, who must be a trained musician, with natural rhythm and a sensitive understanding of the music he hopes to interpret.

In order to prepare himself to be an artist it is therefore necessary for the beginner flautist to devote a great deal of time and patience to the study of the basic technique of controlling the instrument; it is to be his voice, whose sound will indicate the weaknesses which he hopes to eliminate and will release his feelings for the music, and the thoughts he had in preparing his interpretations.

It is unfortunate that many teachers of the flute, however well-meaning and enthusiastic, seem to be incapable of instructing their pupils in the correct way of blowing the instrument, with the result that bad habits accumulate alarmingly and can only be eradicated with great difficulty, and with the willing collaboration of teacher and student.

The object of this book is to place before the flautist the knowledge which will enable him to achieve the technique his natural talents need for the interpretation of music: the advice it contains is not for those who are more interested in the flute than in its repertoire, because its purpose is to help the player to perform in his own personal style, but with the control and discipline that are the essential equipment of the mature artist.

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