Placeholder Image

Subtitles section Play video

  • Hi, I'm Sgt. 1st Class Sarah McIver.

  • I'm Staff Sgt. Sean Owen.

  • I'm Staff Sgt. Gina Sebastian.

  • I'm Staff Sgt. Katayoon Hodjati.

  • and I'm Staff Sgt. Kasumi Leonard.

  • and this is "Flute Fundamentals".

  • [Music]

  • Welcome to "Flute Fundamentals."

  • The flute section of The U.S. Army Field Band

  • has drawn on our many years

  • of performing and teaching experience,

  • added some great advice we've received from our own teachers,

  • and collected it all here for you.

  • The first-year beginner, the serious flute student

  • and the music educator will all find interesting

  • and useful information here.

  • You can also go to armyfieldband.com

  • to find downloadable recordings,

  • printable arrangements,

  • exercises, and books and literature

  • that we reference throughout the program.

  • All of these are great resources for flutists

  • and music educators.

  • Thanks for watching "Flute Fundamentals."

  • [Music]

  • The flute has always been a very popular instrument,

  • dating back over 43,000 years to the Prehistoric Era.

  • Prehistoric bone flutes have been found in Germany

  • and in China, and were end blown like a recorder.

  • Throughout the Middle Ages,

  • flutes and flute-like instruments are shown

  • performing a variety of functions in society.

  • We see flutes playing outdoors,

  • in religious services,

  • and inside for entertainment.

  • By the end of the Middle Ages the flute family split

  • into two groups,

  • the flute that plays outside such as the fife

  • and the flute that plays inside

  • such as the ancestor of our modern flute.

  • In the 1400's, fifes were widely used by militaries

  • as a signaling device and are still used today

  • for parades and ceremonies.

  • Modern fifes now have 10 holes so they can play chromatically,

  • but they still don't have any keys.

  • Renaissance style flutes for indoor use

  • were typically a cylindrical wooden tube with a wide bore,

  • six fairly large tone holes and no keys.

  • Without keys it was difficult to play

  • all of the chromatic pitches we play today.

  • Flutes in the Renaissance were often made

  • in a variety of sizes, called consorts or families.

  • Flute consorts were so popular that many Royal courts

  • in England, Hungary, Madrid, and Stuttgart

  • each owned dozens or even hundreds of transverse flutes.

  • Around the 1680's, instrument makers gave the flute

  • an overhaul and added a key.

  • The key allowed the flute

  • to play all of the chromatic pitches.

  • With this new development,

  • the flute began appearing in the orchestra.

  • One of its earliest appearances

  • was in Jean-Baptiste Lully's opera Le Triomphe de l'Amour.

  • When the flute entered the orchestra,

  • its popularity skyrocketed.

  • Many royal princes such as Louis the 14th of France,

  • and Frederick the Great, King of Prussia,

  • began to learn the flute.

  • With so many royals studying the instrument,

  • the flutists of the day

  • had to write books explaining how to play.

  • The royals could also afford to hire flutists

  • to teach them.

  • Johann Quantz was employed by Frederick the Great

  • for 32 years.

  • Baroque flutes have a cylindrical headjoint

  • and a conical body that tapers towards the far end.

  • The closed Eb key on the footjoint makes the flute

  • fully chromatic over a two-and-a-half-octave range.

  • This great advancement encouraged composers

  • to start writing for the flute as a solo instrument.

  • Works by Blavet, Bach and Telemann

  • are still in our repertoire today.

  • The Baroque flute worked well as a delicate soloist

  • in an orchestral texture, but was not able

  • to play equally strong in all keys.

  • Generally speaking, the sharp keys of G, D, and A

  • are stronger than the flat keys of F, Bb, and Eb.

  • This explains why so much of the beginner flute repertoire

  • from the Baroque era is in a sharp key!

  • Listen to the difference between these two scales.

  • [Music]

  • Now listen to the same scales played on a modern flute.

  • [Music]

  • [Music]

  • In the Classical era, composers such as Mozart and Haydn

  • wrote in a style that was faster, louder,

  • and more dramatic,

  • and the flute needed to keep up.

  • Flutists began altering their instruments in many ways

  • to encourage a louder high register

  • or more facile technique.

  • The great virtuoso players of the 19th century,

  • Franz and Albert Doppler,

  • Charles Nicholson,

  • Joachim Andersen,

  • Anton Furstenau,

  • Jean Tulou, and Theobald Boehm,

  • helped spread the flute's popularity

  • and increased its solo repertoire.

  • Many of these flutists altered their own instruments

  • in an attempt to improve the design.

  • Theobald Boehm, a flutist and inventor in Germany,

  • made many attempts to construct a new 'ring key' mechanism

  • and unveiled a metal instrument in 1847.

  • The new design reversed the inner bore shape of the flute -

  • it is a cylindrical body with a tapered, parabolic headjoint.

  • The reworking of the mechanism meant all new fingerings

  • had to be learned.

  • Boehm's 1847 design is the basis for our flute today.

  • However, there were many rival designs.

  • Some players still preferred wood,

  • and others still preferred the old bore shape.

  • Despite that, the metal flute was accepted

  • at the Paris Conservatory in 1860,

  • earning Boehm and his flute a permanent place

  • in flute history.

  • In the 20th century, some small changes were made

  • to Boehm's original design.

  • In the 1960's Albert Cooper and a group

  • of English players re-scaled the Boehm flute to play at A-440,

  • and in order to achieve even greater tonal projection

  • and clarity, made minor alterations

  • in the method of embouchure hole cutting.

  • Another modern addition to the flute is the C# trill key,

  • which makes trilling from B to C# much easier,

  • and gives a reliable third octave G to A trill.

  • Flutists today can also choose to have their flute made

  • from a variety of metals and even wood.

  • Remember the Renaissance "flute consort"

  • with its many different sized instruments?

  • When the flute was overhauled by Boehm,

  • the rest of the flute family, including the piccolo,

  • Eb flute, flute d'amore, alto flute, bass flute,

  • and contrabass flute were also redesigned.

  • The piccolo is the highest member of the flute family,

  • sounding an octave above the flute.

  • Beethoven first used the piccolo in 1809

  • in his Fifth Symphony,

  • and it's been used in the orchestra ever since.

  • The concerto and recital repertoire has grown

  • dramatically and the piccolo is still gaining popularity

  • as a solo instrument.

  • The alto flute is pitched in G, a fourth below the flute.

  • It's occasionally used

  • in contemporary orchestral repertoire, most notably

  • in Stravinsky's Rite of Spring and Ravel's Daphnis and Chloe.

  • The bass flute sounds an octave below the flute.

  • There are a few orchestral and solo pieces that use the bass,

  • but because of its size and difficulty

  • with projection and response,

  • it's most commonly used as the lowest voice

  • in a flute ensemble.

  • Flute ensembles, often called flute choirs,

  • are a valuable teaching tool.

  • They give multiple flute students the opportunity

  • for chamber music experience,

  • and help with intonation and blending.

  • Many flute clubs offer flute choir reading sessions

  • and competitions for composers,

  • encouraging more literature to be written for the ensemble.

  • Let's bring the rest of the section out to demonstrate

  • how these different instruments sound together.

  • [Music]

  • [Music]

  • [Music]