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Extended Flute Techniques

The immediate effects practicing four extended flute techniques have on your sound.

By Jaume Darbra - Flute Teacher at MusicTutorOnline

The fear we have for the extended techniques in our instrument is not a secret. However, practicing extended techniques as part of your daily routine can make you a more flexible and secure performer. In this article, I will explain the benefits of practicing four specific extended flute techniques, which will positively affect your sound and performance.


Harmonics are produced by overblowing regular fingerings from low B (or low C, depending on the flute). The consequent pitches produced follow the overtone series.

For instance, if Low C is overblown, the following harmonics are emitted:

Note: A residual tone and/or pitched noise is often heard along with the desired pitch of the harmonic.



  • Control of the diaphragm

  • The flexibility of the embouchure

  • Clean sound

  • Strength of the muscles from the em


Frullato is generally produced by the rolling of the tongue, as in pronouncing “rrrr”.

The two parameters involved in flutter tonguing are the speed and the intensity of pulsations.

Note: A residual pitched noise is often heard along with the desired pitch

EXERCISE 2: Play with frullato, then play as written and compare.


  • Fast warm-up of the diaphragm

  • Big, projected, relaxed sound

Air Sounds

Air sounds are produced by blowing the flute without the regular embouchure tension or with loose/relaxed lips.

EXERCISE 3: Play with lots of air sound, then play as written and compare.


  • Relaxed embouchure

  • Natural Breathing

  • Big and clean sound

Singing and Playing

Singing and playing might be difficult sometimes because you have to balance the volume of singing and playing. The airflow needed to support the singing is less than the air needed to play the flute; that is why it is essential and fundamental to balance the volume between the two.

EXERCISE 4: Play as written, then transpose. Remember to keep the same interval while transposing.


  • Relaxed throat

  • Precise embouchure

  • Accurate intonation

Recommended bibliography

Ine Vanoeveren – Tomorrow’s Music in Practice Today: a practical guide towards performing contemporary music

Alessandro Baticci –The Hyperflute Vol. 1

Robert Dick – The Other Flute

Peter Lukas Graf – Check-up. 20 Basic Studies for Flutists

Author: Jaume Darbra - Flute Teacher at MusicTutorOnline


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