Mr. Fred J. Allen

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Intonation Tendencies of Wind Instruments

Flute  | Oboe  | Bassoon  | Clarinet  | Saxophone  | Brass & Percussion 

Quick-reference Guide to Flute Intonation Problems: Flat Tendencies

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Quick-reference Guide to Flute Intonation Problems: Sharp Tendencies

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  • Head joint pulled out = flatter, pushed in = sharper
  • Temperature:  cold = flat, hot = sharp
  • Extreme range:  GENERALLY high = sharp, low = flat
  • Dynamic level:  loud = sharp, soft = flat (big danger on releases)
  • More than any other factor, air direction affects intonation.  A raised air stream will raise pitch, and a lowered air stream will lower pitch.  Jaw movement (embouchure manipulation) should be used to control pitch, but it can be done by raising or lowering the head.

Never teach "roll in/roll out."  The contact point of the flute to the lip should not be disturbed, nor should the hands be encumbered with unnecessary movement. The crown assembly in the head joint of the flute must be set at the proper place for good intonation.  Cleaning/tuning rods have a mark on them which should appear in the center of the blow hole when the rod is inserted into the head joint.  Students should be warned against moving the crown of the flute.


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