RANGES FOR LOW FLUTES
(prepared by Peter Sheridan)
All pitches for the LOW FLUTES are written
in Treble Clef (within same range as C Flute)
Alto flute: C4-C7 (or D7) written pitches
(*actual pitches sound P 4th below)
Tonal quality changes around A6
(these upper tones are slightly thin in
quality and somewhat strident. Excellent
to cut through larger sound mass)
- Articulation is excellent from G4-A6 (112-120= four Sixteenths: for clean crisp clarity)
- Low passages could be pushed out at forte levels, though quality may suffer
Bass flute: B3-C7 (D7poss.) written pitches (in treble clef)
(*actual pitches sound ONE octave below)
Tonal quality changes around G6- bit strident/ control issues
(some models do not have B3 key/ C4 written, is standard for most basses)
- Articulations range from excellent-good-fair
- The quality of tone does suffer a bit, and one should not expect the clarity
of a clear crisp articulated sound such as in Mozart’s music. The sound is a bit rounder and fuller, though can be controlled and shaped by the level of performer (100-112/ 116=four sixteenths: for clean crisp clarity)
Contrabass flute: B3-C7 written pitches
(*actual pitches sound TWO octaves below written)
Tonal quality changes around G6- bit airy and bright or strident
This said, the upper register can sing like an Irish Tenor if so desired
(some models do not have B3 key/ C4 written is standard for basic contras)
-Articulations on the contrabass flute are somewhat a small nightmare (if I may say so myself). The pipe being so long, with several bends in its length, the instrument tends to crack tones (especially around D5, Eb 5 and F5).*
For tongued passages, best to stay around 96-112 to sixteenths. After this the clarity goes, and there is a slight blur (which could be rather effective).
Sub-Contrabass flute (Hogenhuis model): C4-E6 written pitches
(*actual pitches sound THREE octaves below written)
Tonal quality changes around E5-becomes very airy and vague in pitch centre
Instrument has quite a limited range, best for harmonic support
or occasional solo
Excellent low partials, penetrating and sonically full
(Kotato Double Contra Model may have wider range)
- A clear crisp articulation is vague at best on these types of flutes
-A unique kind of TONGUE RAM (notated with x note heads) can be achieved quite easily and sound almost electronic in their quality and fall-off patterns.
-Over tones can be most interesting on this instrument as can a strong singing voice combined with tone.
Hyperbass flute: C4-B5 written pitches-(Best pitches are G4-E5)
(*actual pitches sound FOUR octaves below written)
Tonal quality is odd, from G4 down to C4, not quite clear or even audible
This instrument is still in experimental stages though the fundamentals
Are quite good, and could supply great harmonic support for an ensemble
(limited in traveling abilities due to instruments size)
-Articulation patterns are still being fully explored on this monster flute.
-The pipe is so large (32 feet), that a double effect can be produced, as the first tongued note is fading a second one can be laid over the top, and of course this can be wildly explored with electronics.
Overtones can achieved quite easily on all these instruments. My personel favourites for quality and sustainabilty are the bass and contrabass. Alto is fine, just not as resonant. Subcontra and below, otich becomes vague and a bit wild.
The charactertistics of these instruments (as with any family of instruments), is wide and far. From sweet and lyrical to diabolic and raucous. The Subcontrabass can even growl like a grizzly bear, as can the hyperbass. This effect is a physical matter with the PVC type piping, which allows the partials to slow down and resonate at a slower rate as they travel within the pipe. Hence the player can move more air through the pipe, creating a distorted sort of growl tone.
Sound files of these unique tones will be posted in a few months.