Wednesday, March 17, 2010

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Prokofiev Flute Sonata fingerings for high D triplets

Note: click on pictures to make them bigger, then use back button to return to text.

Dear Flutists,
Here is a set of fingerings that many might find useful for the triplets going up to high D4 in the Prokofiev Sonata first movement.
The passage in question looks like the above (and wow, does that 8va marking ever make the flutist's job just that much more taxing, doh!
And the alternate fingerings I suggest are here:

Note: click on pictures to make them bigger, then use back button to return to text.

As usual, the overblowing of B-natural for high Gb3 is typical and easy. No one will hear the dubious quality of the harmonic at these high speeds and it frees the pinky of the right hand to begin its movements to the low C keys. Reminder, you cannot have the left thumb on the Bb thumb key from earlier in the run.

A very simple way to play high Bb is without trill keys or even right hand pinky. This fingering often appears in alternate fingering charts as a simplification for use in awkward situations. This situation is PERFECT for its use.

And finally:

This is the standard super high D fingering, with the pinky holding down both low C keys. I find the gizmo doesn't really assist this note on my flute (does it help anyone else?) and that because of the previous notes having no pinky down, there has been more time to move the pinky in advance of the D4 sounding. You can also sound the D4 with no pinky down, but it is wilder and sharper in pitch. Suit yourself.

The best way to practice it is to practice the penultimate Bb3 and D4
as half notes slowly and easily, keeping fingers low and relaxed. As this becomes easier, then speed the two notes up gradually, using quarters, then eighths.
Next day, gradually practice the last three notes: Gb (overblow B), Bb3, D4 in the same slow way, gradually increasing speed and smoothness as the pinky
begins its motion to the low C keys. Finally add one note at
a time to the front of the grouping.

There are more Prokofiev flute works, and Ibert Concerto fingerings here on my alternate fingering page. Best of luck.

Darn that Serge, he should have had to actually play his parts on flute!

Hope this helps.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Spanish Music for Flute, Harp & Strings

Question: I'm searching for Spanish chamber music for a combination of harp, flute and strings. Any suggestions? Something similar to Piece en forme de Habanera by Ravel would be great. Thanks.

Jen's research:
Overview of Spanish Composers
Spanish Composers Public Domain (free) sheetmusic in pdf

Possible Spanish flute-harp-strings works found:

Manuel Moreno Buendía
Suite popular española (flute, harp, viola)

14- I Divertimento (1:33)
15 - II Fantasy /Fantasía (2:09)
16 - III Dance / Danza (2:20)
17 - IV Nocturne / Nocturno (1:56)
18 - V Rondo / Rondó (2:33)

Listen to this work.


Prelude, marine et chansons by Joseph Guy Ropartz for flute, violin, viola and cello

Sheetmusic for this work.

European PD free sheetmusic

Flute and harp:
Granados: Andaluza

Sheetmusic for this work.
3 Spanish Watercolours, Composer: Maj Sonstevold
Listen to this work online here.

3 Spanske akvareller (Spanish Water Colours)
I. Gualdal Quivir
II. Guadiana
III. Tajo

Available from:
Music Information Centre Norway
P.O. Box 2674 Solli
Tel: +47 2327 6300
Fax: +47 2327 6301

Jacques Ibert: Entracte for flute and harp

Sheetmusic for this work

Flute and strings

Composer : CALIENDO
Title : Sincerita
Publisher : Caliendo World Music Publishing Inc
Grade : 2+
Sheetmusic for this work.
The passionate influence of the Flamenco school combines with American classical
jazz in a rhythmically complex and dynamic composition.


Moszkowski Five Spanish Dances
(not my personal fave says Jen)
Sheetmusic for this work.

Piazzolla - Oblivion for flute, cello and piano
Sheetmusic for this South American/American work.

Spanish composers: transcription possibilities

Granados (free sheetmusic) mostly piano works:,_Enrique

Arriaga (free sheetmusic) String quartet:,_Juan_Cris%C3%B3stomo_de)

Breton (free sheetmusic) String quartet & piano trio:,_Tom%C3%A1s),_Tom%C3%A1s)

Sound samples of Thomas Breton's string quartet.

De Falla: (free sheetmusic):,_Manuel_de

Good luck with your search.
This is a groovy sounding chamber combination, and I'm looking forward to finding other similar works myself for flute, cello and piano for my own concerts next season.
So comments with more pieces of Spanish music very welcome!
Best, Jen

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Galway's high register embouchure video

Dear Flutists,

Just dropping in quickly to let you know that there's a new James Galway "how to" video up on his website.

When you arrive at the above site, choose the video that's called:

Upper Register Embouchure" & "Reflections on Marcel Moyse

The question from the Weggis audience was:
How do you form the embouchure for the upper register?

The embouchure change is also shown in previous blog posts here.

Hope all my readers feel free to comment and give opinions and observations.

I've been mass practicing myself.
Hope to hear from you,

Jen :>)

Friday, February 19, 2010

Plugs in open-hole flutes

Dear Flutists,

There was a debate this week on one of the flute groups about whether plugging an open-hole flute, (especially with cylindrical acrylic plugs) adversely affects tone and tuning.
I recorded my tests and put some graphics with it. Hopefully the youtube sound is acceptable. Here's my test completed:

If the sound is unclear due to youtube compression, then you can listen to the same mp3 here at the sharing-files site.

And may I state that there was no sound-quality or clip editing done on this full, live living-room recording other than the last back-to-back comparisions at the very end. The whole thing was done in one take, no pauses.

I'm using an Altus flute with Bennett scale.
The flute is A-442, and the headjoint is set to play at A-440.
The plugs I used are about 1/4 inch tall and wide, are cylindrical, and do not hang below the pad on the underside of the keys.
My A and G keys are permanently plugged as I have wooden extensions on those keys.

Please comment using the comment button below. Thanks.


I am fully convinced that there is no harm in plugging an open-holed flute for ergonommic reasons, as long as the plugs are air-tight.

On my flute with its scale and key-height, the diffence in pitch is less than 1% on the most difficult-to-bend note, E2, played pianissimo. Also when played brightly for maximum resonance both plugged and unplugged, I hear no difference in resonance of tone.

If it is no more effort to sharpen a soft E2, and if I can play equally bright and ringingly with and without plugs on this dullest of notes, then why is it not a good idea to plug the open-holes for ergonomic needs of individual players?

Just last week I received a blog comment from a flute teacher who was concerned about an adult student whose bent or arthritic fingers could not reach the holes on the student's new open-hole flute. I suggested that plugging open-holes was absolutely the best way to go.

It made me think that there must be hundreds of teachers out there who are insisting that their students remove their hole plugs?
Based on what scientificly researched tests?

For me and my students, comfort and speed of technique are much more important than contorting your hands to a "one size does NOT fit all" flute keywork.

And for the past 18 years I have played with all the open-holes on my flutes plugged, except for the F-natural which I can reach easily and without effort.

After this week's further flute-group discussion I find that there seem to be numerous flute teachers who, for some un-tested reason, think it is less professional or less desireable to play a plugged open-hole flute, and I really can't see why.
Perhaps old scale flutes, or flutes with incorrect key rise perform worse than newer scaled flutes. I'd like to hear more about which brands plugs affect, and whether a good flute technician cannot double-check their key rise if plugs adversely affect the tone or tuning.

Additionally, I've written up all the historically available information I could find, about the development of the open-hole flute, and am surprised to find a lack of scientifically gathered measurements or experiments that have been done on the flute.
All the pertinent references I could find are now here, on my webpage.
So I hope that more pro-flutists and teachers will try the same tests, and come up with a more scientific approach to testing the effects of plugs on flute tone and tuning.

I hope this helps dispel myths that are not USEFUL myths. :>)

Open to comments, and sorry for the low excitement graphics.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Duets for Flutes

Dear Flutists, Are you performing any weddings this spring?
Do you need flute duet wedding sheet music?
If so please help yourself to this lovely folio of
flute duets for weddings.($15)

You can print it out as a booklet, and place it in your gig binder for beautiful flute music for wedding ceremonies.

You can buy using paypal or you can be truly fun-filled and donate a gift certificate.

The wedding music included in this sheetmusic folio are arranged for flute duet, and have been tested over ten years of playing many weddings of all kinds.

The works included are:

Pachelbel's Canon in D
Bridal Chorus from Wagner's Lohengrin
Handel's Bouree
The Flower Song from Lakme
Si Beag Si Mor
Clarke's Trumpet Voluntary
Love my love in the morning
Presto from W.F.Bach
Down by the Salley Garden

To make the duets easy to rehearse and read, I have added breath marks, rehearsal marks, and all articulation markings. These splendid works would suit novice, intermediate and advanced players alike.

Here are some open page samples (click to enlarge and use back button to return here)
Open book display pages:


Pachelbel's Canon

There are 18 pages of music in all that print both sides with good readability and page turns. If you print all odd pages first, then place them back in the printer, the even pages will print on the reverse to create the page turns that work best.

Just contact me to order at and I'll get back to you quickly with your pdf to print. Price is $15.

Thank you and enjoy this lovely music!

And for those who need flute trios for your students overlapping lessons, or for flute ensembles, please have a look and listen to the celtic trios I also have for sale.



Friday, February 12, 2010

Flute Concerti with orchestra, parts, score, piano all-in-one

Dear Flutists,
The advantage of having good flutist-arrangers alive at the same time as we all are, is that every now and then they come up with a brilliant, super, simple idea, such as publishing flute concerti with full orchestral parts, score PLUS a printed piano reduction, all in one volume.

Huge thanks to Vieri Bottrazzini for this great sheet music!
Best, and see below, Jen

Vieri writes:
Dear Friends,
Last year, after the release of my first batch of scores published by the italian editor Carisch (Paganini Caprices, Vivaldi 4 Seasons for solo flute & flute orchestra, the first volume of Virtuoso), I started to think about what to do next besides the planned Vol. II & III of Virtuoso.

Carisch wanted me to cover the standard repertoire for flute & orchestra and flute & piano first, and - while of course a fantastic opportunity - I was wondering what I could do to make these new editions interesting to own, play and basically worth buying against all that is offered out there already.

I then considered that today someone wanting to perform, say, one of the Mozart concertos has to buy a flute & piano reduction of it, to get the flute part & to be able to practice it with a pianist; then one has to find & buy the score; and then again, to perform it with an orchestra, rent or buy the orchestral parts as well. So I thought, why don't I create a new edition where all these elements could be found together? Carisch immediately liked this idea, and so I started working on a new series of edition composed by:

- a printed book containing the piano reduction followed by the complete orchestral score;
- a solo flute part;
- a CD, containing all the orchestral parts in pdf format ready to be printed.

This is something that, to my knowledge, has never been seen yet: I thought it will be great to just have to buy one score and find in it piano reduction, orchestral score, orchestral parts; one can practice the solo part, rehearse it with a pianist for lessons and so on, study the score to get acquainted with all the orchestra parts and such, and eventually finally perform the piece with a real orchestra, all out of the same score! Well, I am very excited about the possibilities of it, and I am very much looking forward to all your comments on this.

The first batch of this series is now out and available, and includes:

- W.A. Mozart, Concerto in G K313;
- W.A. Mozart, Concerto in D K314;
- W.A. Mozart, Andante in C K315;

- A. Vivaldi, Concertos Op. X vol. I (nr. 1-3);
- A. Vivaldi, Concertos Op. X vol. II (nr. 4-6);

- F. Devienne, Concerto nr. 7 in E minor.

Ready but not available yet (I am told it's coming soon, though) are:

- Mozart, Concerto for flute, harp & orchestra K299;
- Mozart, Quartets for flute & strings
(piano reduction & string parts)
Plus of course, still edited by myself and already printed:
- Virtuoso, vol. I & II (vol. III is going to be released very soon)
- Paganini, Caprices;
-Vivaldi, 4 Seasons (solo flute & flute orchestra).

All the scores should be available from your favorite dealer, or from

Ok, this is about it for now... Looking forward to hearing from you on this! All the best,


Vieri Bottazzini, flutist