Since the flute is based on the natural harmonic series, and the intervals of the harmonics series become wider as they ascend, the top register of the flute will push sharp if you do nothing about it.

Using your tuning machine, play the top register notes and notice how sharp they are if you don’t deliberately lower the pitch.

In order to lower the pitch of these upper notes there are a few things you can do. (Some of these ideas have been discussed in earlier posts. Look for the tag intonation)

  • Lower the flute slightly on the bottom lip, allowing the lips to cover more of the sound hole
  • Lengthen the neck and drop the chin slightly, which allows the lips to come over the sound hole.
  • Relax the jaw. Allow it to hang more freely, creating space between your upper and lower teeth, releasing excess tightness in the embouchure.
  • Think of a round ‘0’ vowel shape to create a bigger, rounder shape inside your mouth. This slows down the speed of the air a smidge and will lower the pitch.
  • Think of your airstream coming up from your body, around the palate and down into the flute; playing over the left foreman rather than aiming upwards towards the ceiling.

A combination of all these ideas should help to lower the top register pitch. Remember to check your intonation with a tuning machine as it is very easy to get used to being sharp and thinking it is ok.

And finally, check the tuning of the top Bb and B natural. Are they actually sharp or perhaps a tad flat? The right hand little finger is the way to get these in tune.