2. Tuning of the Panflute


Tuning of the panflute in in order
  1. with panflute students starting to play in groups
  2. with panflute students after about half a year of playing, when they're no longer pressing the flute tensely to the lips
  3. when the embouchure has improved and play in higher position begins.
  4. in the case of differences of pitch between panflute and accompaniment (for example an organ having a lower pitch in winter due to the cold temperatures).
Material

- tuning device or a well tuned instrument
- bee wax
- Tuning rods for the relevant flute
- a drill if necessary (in case a lot of wax has to be removed)

Tuning

Basically all Dajoeri Panflutes are properly tuned in our atelier. This particular tuning is adapted to a good panflute player. We call it the basic tuning.

Often a beginner is unable to create the correct pitch. He is missing the correct embouchure,which he achieves after strengthening his lip muscles.

In order to be able to play together in a beginner group or to play with accompaniment, the teacher can tune the panflute after a few lessons by adjusting the pitch according tothe current abilities of the player and his embouchure. That could result in having to revert the adjustment at a later date, once the student has improved his embouchure.

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One would always verify, if the student has the flute:
1. high enough on the lower lip (embouchure),
2. not pressed too much against the lower lip,
3. that his head is not tilted downward too much,
4. that the lower jaw is protruding enough,
5. that the flute is not too much slanted and
6. that the lower lip is not too much bulging, thereby covering the pipe.

If the student's pitch is still too low after half a year, despite improving the embouchure, then the instrument will get tuned higher. The flute should get adjusted on the highest possible position on the lip with the tuning device. Therefore one would always first contro embouchure before tuning an instrument.

As beginners sometimes complain that the flute sticks because of humidity, we recommend to put some talcum powder on the mouthpiece of a pipe. That improves the gliding if one is sweating more.

Tip:

Someone using talcum powder regularly is usually pressing the flute too hard against his lips. Before tuning the instrument one would first improve the above 6 points.

If verifying the embouchure results in having all 6 points above in, but the pitch is still too low, then one would take the following steps:


Tuning a pipe higher:
  1. First one warms up the wax under a lamp. Then one forms small balls with it. If one has already wax pearls, one would keep them in one's hand to soften them. One would also form small soft balls with them.
  2. Now put a half or a full wax ball into one pipe.
  3. While blowing into that pipe one controls the pitch with a tuning device.
  4. One puts as many small wax balls into the pipe until the pitch is correct. It is sensible to control the pitch of one sound by not only playing that note, but by approaching it on playing a scale. That results in a more natural, improved embouchure.
  5. Once the pitch is correct, press the wax ball with the tuning rod flat inside the pipe.
  6. Now control the pitch again using the tuning device.
 

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Exception:

If one isn't currently able to improve embouchure enough to adjust the pitch to a group's, as an emergency measure one could temporarily tune the flute higher and revert it later.
Tuning a pipe lower:
  1. One takes the suitable tuning rod for the size of the pipe,
  2. put the notched end of the rod into the pipe, press it against the wax at the bottom and turn it. That is how one removes wax from the pipe.
  3. put the notched end of the rod into the pipe, press it against the wax at the bottom and turn it. That is how one removes wax from the pipe.
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Purpose:

Certainly it would be better to train a student to achieve a correct pitch on a standardly tuned panflute.

That requires a lot of work, improving embouchure, playing with the tuning device or a well-tuned accompaniment instrument or playback to continuously control one's own pitch.

Cleaning and Care of the Panflute          Individual pipes not sounding nice anymore