Euphoria Photography - Isle of Skye Wedding Photography, in the Highlands and Islands and throughout Scotland

Flute Blues Go Upbeat
29 April 2015

I know quite a few people have been following my ongoing saga of flute blues and how to overcome the handicap of a tear drop lip, when playing the flute. (The tear drop lip is a small bulge in the upper part of the lip aperture as one blows the instrument. It prevents clear high notes because it forms a double air stream.)

As you may know, I designed my own taped “lip lift” to overcome the tear drop. It does work well although there is a little loss of volume in the upper register. I have found, however, that in time, it's possible to play without the tape and still hit those upper notes clearly, purely. This is so much easier in certain instruments and not in others.

I had played an Andrew Oxley silver C flute pretty well with the tape and later without but, after trying a Louis Lot, it is possible to play much more successfully in the upper registers even with a tear drop lip. In fact, it still delights me that this is possible unaided after so many, many years never managing high notes and always “cheating” by dropping an octave. It's a huge achievement to hear beautiful notes after so much anguish and a relief to leave behind flute blues!

So, on a journey to play despite a tear drop upper lip, there may be many curves and a few dead ends but, it really can be done. Possibly the best advice I would give (after trying the tape method) is to try a multitude of instruments from as many different manufacturers as possible – and don't give up until you find one that works with your physiology. If this is really difficult, Mike Allen's silver head would by worth trying.

Happy flute-playing!





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