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Help with beginner's practice.

Basics of Flute Playing, Tone Production and Fingerings, Using Metronomes, Scales, Tone, Studies, etc.

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BurnEmDown
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Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 2:28 am

Help with beginner's practice.

Postby BurnEmDown » Thu May 21, 2015 3:18 am

Hello everyone. I have started to play the flute about two months ago, while I was on a trip in India. I took a few private lessons while I was in there, in a city called Dharamshala (they have a lot of people who give lessons for music instruments there). I was taught the very basics, like how to hold the flute, blow correctly, how to play each note, and when I mastered those, my teacher taught me a few really basic Nepali folk songs (he was from Nepal). I'm fairly good at those now, and I want to start learning more songs, however, I've encountered a few problems:
First, most songs I find online are written with the classical note symbols on scales, which I don't know how to read, such as this one:
Image

And when I tried to find a guide to help me read those, they were all for the professional, concert-type flute, like this one:
http://trevorjamesflutes.com/PDFs/TJ%20 ... 0chart.jpg (link because it's a big picture)

While my flute is very simple, it only has 6 holes for the fingers and another one for blowing, basically this one:
Image

So basically, I'm asking if there's any chance that I could learn to play songs from scales on my simple-style flute. I only know to play these notes:
Image

So, sorry for the long post, and warm thanks to anyone who can help me! :D
Last edited by BurnEmDown on Sat May 23, 2015 6:24 am, edited 1 time in total.

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pied_piper
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Location: Virginia

Re: Help with beginner's practice.

Postby pied_piper » Fri May 22, 2015 2:43 pm

Welcome! Your bamboo flute is also called a Bansuri. There are a number of fingering charts online for the Bansuri which can be found with a Google search. Here is one that shows the full range of the Bansuri:

http://www.world-flutes.com/Bansuri-Fin ... harts.html

Authentic Bansuri players do not use traditional Western style notation.
For reading Western notation like the example you posted, there are a couple of things that will make it easier to read. Starting from the bottom of the staff (the five lines) the lines are named EGBDF. Some people use a sentence to help them remember: Every Good Boy Does Fine. The spaces between the lines are named FACE like the word face. In your example, the note are: B D and F. The note below the staff us a low D.

The Bansuri can play all of the notes on the staff. The lowest notes are played as noted in your fingering chart. To play the upper octave notes, you must use a slightly faster air stream and cake a slightly smaller opening in your lips. Experiment and you will hear what I mean. The upper D on the fourth line of the staff is fingered the same as the lower D. The same for the upper E and F#.

Also note that your Bansuri is in the key of E as engraved on your instrument. It doesn't matter if you are playing alone, but if you wish to play with other instruments, you will have to learn the different fingerings for the E Bansuri or transpose the music.

That should help you get started, but feel free to ask more questions.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

BurnEmDown
Posts: 2
Joined: Thu May 21, 2015 2:28 am

Re: Help with beginner's practice.

Postby BurnEmDown » Sat May 23, 2015 6:24 am

Thank you very much :) I have a few follow-up questions:

First, my flute isn't 100% like the one in the picture I posted, it says D instead of E, so that means my flute is in the key of D? And that I should be reading the notes from the link you provided accordingly? (A - 6 covered, B - 5 covered, C# - 4 covered, D - 3, E - 2, F# - 1, G# - 0)
So, if this is correct, I would play the notes on the staff (B, D, and F) as - 5 holes covered, then 3 holes covered, and then 1 hole covered?
What would you say is the difference between notes like F and F#, G and G#, etc.? Does it have to do anything with the fact that there are F and E notes both on the lines and between them, I mean, do I play F differently when I see it on the line or between two lines?
And I guess that's it for now, thanks again for the help :)

Edit: After playing just a little while according to the "key of D" fingering, I couldn't get it to sound reasonable, it just sounds totally out of balance, not how it's supposed to sound like. However, if I play according to the "key of G" fingering (same as the last image in my first post), it makes a lot more sense, and sounds much more like how it's supposed to, even though my flute clearly has a "D" written on it. Do you have any idea why is that? Perhaps it's really in 'G' but it just says 'D' for whatever reason?

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pied_piper
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Re: Help with beginner's practice.

Postby pied_piper » Tue May 26, 2015 9:19 pm

With your edit, you've discovered part of the answer to part of your question about the difference between F / F# and G / G#. They are different notes and they are a half-step apart. The bansuri is not a fully chromatic flute. There are 12 notes to the chromatic scale, but the bansuri cannot play all 12 notes unless some holes are only covered halfway. That's why they are made in 12 different keys. If yours is marked as a D bansuri, that should be correct.

However, I would probably ignore the key and play yours using the fingering as if it were a G bansuri. This won't matter when your are the only one playing.
"Never give a flute player a screwdriver."
--anonymous--

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JButky
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Location: Mt. Juliet

Re: Help with beginner's practice.

Postby JButky » Wed May 27, 2015 12:37 pm

It's far simpler to think of each note as Do, Re Mi, Fa Sol, La, Ti. By using the LH fingering of closing 2 or 2/3, you can get the flat seventh. (C natural)
This basically allows you to play easily in two major diatonic keys and their relative minors (E or A minor, D dorian mode also)

Transpose your music to either D major or G Major depending on the song's range. As long as it's diatonic you can play most things in either of those major key fingerings. That is pretty standard for all flutes with this type of basic fingering system. (Penny Whistle or any other six hole flute)
Joe B


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