Waking Spirit Productions
Vance Pennington - Flute Maker
Koko Waking Spirit Flutes

Frequently Asked Questions
Playing Upper Octave Notes


How is it that by covering certain fingering holes I can make my flute play in the upper octave?


When a flute is played, air passes down the length of the sound chamber and Mother Nature responds by pushing air back up the sound chamber. This might be considered as Her way of keeping everything in 'balance'! Somewhere around the middle of the sound chamber, the column of air you are creating when you blow meets the column of air Mother Nature is pushing back at you. The point where the two columns of air meet creates a point where nothing is moving either up nor down the sound chamber. This point is known at a  musical 'node'. The sum of these columns of air is known as the containment. When all the fingering holes of a flute are covered (playing the fundamental note of the instrument) the node will settle midway in the sound chamber. When the first fingering hole is lifted the containment shortens slightly and so the node moves up the sound chamber, creating a higher note. Lifting a certain finger off a certain (or series of) fingering hole(s) will force the node to form close to the area of the bridge (where TSH/embouchure is) and this creates sufficient pressure within the flute to break the node into two. It is another natural occurrence courtesy of Mother Nature. Having two nodes basically creates pressures that are found in flutes created in the higher or upper octave so the flute will respond by playing notes in the same way.