Tuning the Indian Love Flute

The Native American design flute is a musical instrument of elegant simplicity. Because of the simplicity the Native American design flutes are simple to play. This makes it an perfect instrument for the casual player. But with simplicity come certain limitations.

When I state tuning I am referring to delivering the many notes of the Love flute into a standardized relationship with each additional. Tuning the Love flute wasn’t a technical matter for the Native American player. He was interested just in producing sounds that felt proper to him. When he tuned his flute he didn’t measure the tonality of the instrument by any exterior standard. He was pleased with what was pleasing to his own ear. It was virtually a matter of anything goes because lengthy because I like the sound of it. In the late twentieth century Native American flutes started to gain acceptance beyond the confines of the Native community. In the hands of Native and non-Native flute makers and players the Indian Love flute started a period of very fast development.

The many fundamental change was to bring the Indian flute into conformity with Western guidelines of tuning. Various makers adopted the mode 1 minor pentatonic scale. They felt that this somewhat melancholy scale was appropriate for what was being expressed through the Indian love flute. The resulting instrument had five tone holes and might play a five-note (pentatonic) scale and the initial note of the 2nd octave (six notes total). When a sixth hole was introduced it became possible to conveniently provide 2 different pentatonic scales found on the same flute – mode 1 and mode 4. Love flute makers started to tune their flutes to the contemporary concert standard of 440Hz for the note of A above center C found on the piano.

The upcoming challenge that Love flute makers took up was to craft a flute that might play a full chromatic scale. A chromatic scale divides the octave into twelve semi tones (notes) of 1 half step each. There is an equal interval between each note. A pentatonic scale utilizes just five of these twelve notes. In between those five notes are the alternative 7 notes. You are able to think of them as hidden notes. You are able to see this illustrated in detail on my url www.atflutes.com found on the Playing the Flute page. You are able to moreover see the pentatonic notes and hidden notes when you consider a piano keyboard. The piano keyboard has a sequence of twelve notes that are repeated over and over. Five of the notes in the sequence are the black keys. Think of these five black keys as a pentatonic scale (which truth be told they are). You are able to visualize the white keys as the hidden notes between your notes in the pentatonic scale. These hidden notes is played on some Native American fashion flutes utilizing the techniques called cross fingering and half holing.

With a full chromatic (twelve note) range at a player’s disposal it really is possible to play music in diatonic (seven note) plus pentatonic (five note) scales. You are able to also play music in main in addition to minor keys.

To create playing a chromatic scale found on the Indian flute possible the flute machine should tune the flute thus that the hidden notes are playable and in tune. These notes should be tuned thus that there are 100 cents between each adjacent note. This challenge has been met with all the exception of the 2 notes that lie amongst the fundamental and the initially open hole note. Half holing (instead of cross fingering) should be employed to provide these 2 notes. It is not effortless (or in my case possible) to sound both of these notes distinctly. So in practice we have an virtually complete chromatic scale accessible on a contemporary, well-tuned, Native American design flute.

The Native American design flute has another limitation. It is standard practice for flute makers to tune their flutes at an ambient temperature of 72 degree Fahrenheit. A limitation of the Love flute is the fact that when the flute is produced it’s tuning cannot be modified. If the flute is in tune at 72 levels this signifies that it is from tune if the air temperature is higher or lower than 72. Warmer air temperatures may create the Indian flute play sharp. Cooler temperatures might create the flute play flat. A change in temperature of 10 levels high or lower than 72 can create a flute play about 15 cents from tune 1 technique or the different.

The length of the barrel of the Love flute determines the fundamental note of the flute. The longer the barrel of the flute the lower the tone. A smaller barrel raises the tone. As a matter of ease we are going to state that the barrel length is calculated within the splitting edge at the front of the true sound hole to the foot end of the flute. The standard metal concert flute has a telescoping slip joint found on the barrel of the flute. This joint enables the musician to lengthen or shorten the total length of the barrel. This changing barrel length enables the consumer to change the flute to compensate for variations in temperature. The Indian Love flute refuses to have this capability. It is strong lumber from 1 end to the alternative without telescoping joint.

Another element effecting the tuning of the Native American design flute is the fact that the tone of the flute is sensitive to the breathing stress entering the flute. When the Love flute machine tunes a flute at a certain breathing stress it is in tune just when played at that stress. If the flute player utilizes a high breathing stress the flute might play sharp (it might moreover be louder). When the player utilizes less breathing stress the flute can play flat. How sharp or flat depends found on the amount of deviation in stress from that at which the Indian flute was initially tuned.

Does it matter if the flute is sharp or flat? Not in the event you are playing solo. Remember the flute is in tune with itself. The different notes of the Love flute are in a harmonic relationship with each different. So if the flute is sharp all notes are sharp to the same degree. If flat all of the notes are equally flat. Because of the there is not any dissonance amongst the individual notes. Few recreational musicians are capable to identify minor variation from 440 Hz.

The tuning of the Love flute is significant when it really is played ensemble with alternative instruments. If you are from tune relative to your guitarist friend to the extent of 15 cents there is a noticeable cacophony amongst the 2 instruments. A guitar is tuned. Because the guitar is tuned it may be tuned to your flute. This solves the issue on 1 level. Then you may be both either sharp or flat to the same degree. The 2 instruments are in harmony with each different.

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