#fingerings

  • Most of us use the FG3 trill that we first learned where we finger F3 and trill with our thumb. That trill is useful in most situations, but has the disadvantage of yielding a flat G3. What if we needed to play that trill in the orchestra in tune with an oboe? 

    Many flute players have requested this fingering repeatedly in the FLUTELIST forum, which I posted a few years ago (2004-09-22).

  • Sergei Prokofiev (1891-1953) wrote his Symphony No.1 in D major, op. 25, commonly known as Classical in 1916-1917.  Its four movements are 1. Allegro, 2. Larghetto, 3. Gavotte: Non Troppo Allegro and 4. Finale: Molto Vivace.

    Excerpts from this symphony are very often part of the required repertoire for orchestral auditions. In particular, passages from the Finale, due to its fast tempo and technical difficulty. Extracts from the Larghetto are common as well, where rhythmic accuracy, a clear tone and good intonation in the third register are indispensable.

  • Antonín Dvořák's Cello Concerto, op.104 is a favorite among cellists, audiences, and flute players. It features the flute prominently in many solos and dialogues with the soloist.

    At the end of the first movement, in the first flute part, Dvořák writes a high B to high C# trill (B3C#4). Most flutists, including myself, tend to forget how to play that trill since it's seldom used in the flute repertoire. 

  • Jacques Ibert (1890-1962) wrote his Flute Concerto in 1932, which he dedicated to Marcel Moyse. 

    In its third movement, Allegro Scherzando, Ibert wrote a series of challenging tremolos. Here are some fingerings for flutes with and without a C#-trill key. 

  • In the first movement of Pini di Roma, "I pini di Villa Borghese", Ottorino Respighi writes an F#A3 tremolo in the first flute part.

    This tremolo is awkward to play with regular fingerings, and hard to sound with harmonic fingerings (F#1 & A1) without any modifications.

  • Very often I'm asked by band directors, or see posts on flute forums about which Bb (Bb1 & Bb2) fingering is best to teach first. As frequently, I see passionate responses, as if they were dogma, about what one famous teacher or another said about that subject. I'd like to add my own thoughts, and hopefully present a valid argument to why and when we should use one fingering or another.

  • Camille Saint-Saëns (1835-1921) wrote Les Carnaval des Animaux - The Carnival of the Animals, in 1886.

    Of the 14 movements in this piece, 3 require a flute/piccolo: Aquarium, Volière and Final. The 10th movement, Volière (The Aviary), is both beautiful and technically challenging. The quickness of some of the passages call for alternative fingerings, which follow.