Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

Hey everyone,

I’m new to the site and new to Irish music though I’ve loved it for years. I’m experienced playing the modern (boehm, metal/silver) flute, but am sick of trying to keep all the pads, springs, etc. working properly in order to get a “hard” D.

I’ve been looking into the entry-level simple flutes available via the internet and have just tried Doug Tipple’s pvc D flute full loaded with lip plate, wedge; and Billy Miller’s Winwood D bamboo flute. Both are well made, but I have a serious problem and will probably be returning both for this reason: the embouchure holes in both flutes are cut straight straight down into the flute. Because of this, I have to drastically roll the hole away from me so the air cuts more across the hole than down in the hole which I believe makes it so I can not make a very loud sound with either flute. On my silver flutes, I notice there is a pronounced front edge due to the hole being cut at a significant angle down into the flute ( I think this is what flute makers call “undercut”).

Does anyone know if this a normal difference between the modern flute and the folk flute? Does your flute have a significant “undercut”?

Also, I am curious to know what basic flutes people recommend.

thanks.
sfbasoif

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

Undercutting is quite common. Embouchure hole design is hotly debated. The simple system flute (keyed or otherwise) does have a different shape from a Boehm - it can take a *long* time to get used to it. The time you need is very unpredictable - whether you find a reasonable tone quickly or slowly seems to be a different question from whether or not you ultimately get a really good tone.

Posted by .

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

SFGASOIF - You’re trying to play the irish flute like it was a Boehm flute…and that won’t cut it if you want a good tone. Both flutes you have are actually very well made and should be very playable. In ITM, you often roll the embouchure hole IN towards you - you don’t blow across the hole but rather into the hole.

Find your local session and go listen and talk with the flute players…we tend to be a friendly lot and I’ve sat down with the odd Boehm player or two myself to help them see the proper way to blow into an Irish flute.

Eric

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

Check Skip Healy’s web site (I think it is as easy as skiphealy.com, but google will find him if that fails) . His Irish flutes are designed somewhat differently than others (no vestigial two holes at the bottom end, for example). And he does some sort of embrochure cut-away on some of his instruments. There are some descriptions of how and why he does this that might be illuminating!

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

My Doyle flute would not have much of an undercut, but the chimney slopes slightly away from the leading edge. The way that I hold the flute and the angle of my embouchure results in my blowing hard and deep INTO the hole, rather than off the far edge, just as Jayhawk agrees.

This gets me a great loud and steady hard D with power, tone and lots of volume.

I also agree that the Tipple and Billy Miller flutes are great instruments for the money and should give you a grand hard D when you get the embouchure sorted. I think that that is all, you just need to develop a new embouchure for this style of flute.

Wish you the best of luck with that!

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

The boehm flute normally has all the holes lined up when you put it together. Try turning the head of your Irish flute toward you so that the far edge of the embouchure is lined up with the tone holes.

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

Thanks to everyone. I appreciate the feedback. It’s already helping me get a better tone (just mentally approaching the instrument and having confidence it will do something probably makes as big a difference as anything). Will check in if in further need.

Cheers!

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

That’s good to hear! Silver flute playing will help you out in the long run…once you adjust to the different approach.

Eric

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

sf bay-- i plan on making videos for irish flute tone production. it seems that a lot of beginners have the same issues. pm me if you’re interested--the videos will be posted for free on youtube. after i do the videos for irish flute, i will do some for playing the irish style on the silver flute.

when you play both flutes in the irish style, there are three things you must consider: tone, flexibility of embouchure, and the physical, tactile resonance of the flute.

it sounds like you’re stuck at the first one, which lucky you is the first video i plan to make!

Posted by .

Re: Cut angle of the front edge of an Irish Flute embouchure hole?

As another long-time Boehm player switched to Irish Flute, I’ll second what has been said. The technique is different, but I’m sure it will come as you work on it. It is possible to get quite a range of tones out of a simple system flute! Good luck, and enjoy the process!

Best Regards,

Jason