Flute for Beginners – Putting Together a Flute
You’ve joined band, now what?
In the prior article, we discussed things such as seating charts, categorizations of instrument families , and chair placement. Being a beginning flute player, you may be a little nervous at your first practice. I hope you find some peace in knowing that we’ve all been there, and your class likely is full of beginners. After you figure out where you are supposed to set, upon instruction by the director, it is suitable to take your instrument out of the case and put it together. Putting together a flute is very easy. To do this, it is helpful to know the anatomy of the flute.
An anatomy of the flute
The flute is not one continuous piece of metal, but three. These three pieces are categorized as joints. These parts include the head joint, the middle joint, and the foot joint. Once you become accustomed to putting the flute together, it will come quickly to you and you will not need any help to make sure the pieces are aligned optimally.For a very detailed anatomy of a flute, see the post https://flutetastic.com/flute-for-beginners-a-detailed-anatomy-of-the-flute/
Assembling your flute – Putting together a flute
Putting together a flute is very straight forward. On most beginner flutes, the middle joint has a hash line at the very far left end (while facing you). The purpose of this hash line is to guide the flute player in proper placement of the head joint. You will insert the open end of the head joint into the far left side of the middle joint.
The tone hole on the head joint is properly aligned when lined up with the hash line on the middle joint. Imagine an invisible straight line, going from the actual line of the middle joint to the end of the head joint. When the invisible line cuts directly through the middle of the tone hole, the head joint and middle joint are properly aligned.
Finally, you will attach the foot joint to the other end of the middle joint. The bottom of the trill key on the foot joint should be in alignment with the key bar of the middle joint. It should be situated so that when using the trill key, the pinky must be extended downward from the other fingers by a half of an inch.
The joints of the flute
So, you have assembled your flute for optimal performance. Let’s take a better look at the individual joints of the flute and what their roles are. Remember that the three joints are simply named the head joint, the middle joint, and the foot joint.
The Head Joint
The head joint is the first of the three sections of the flute.
The head joint is where the sound of the flute originates as the player blows air into the flute through the embouchure hole (also known as the blow hole or mouth hole). The embouchure hole is in the center of the lip plate (or embouchure plate) that anchors the lips to the flute. One end of the head joint is covered with the crown end, which can be screwed off to facilitate cleaning. The other is open to accept the tenon on the middle joint.
Inside the head joint is found a small apparatus made of a piece of cork with silver discs or rubber o-rings on either end. This head joint cork is used to tune the instrument and is generally positioned 17.3 millimeters from the center of the embouchure hole. It should stay in place at all times, though over time it may begin to shift or even come loose depending on the age of the cork and atmospheric conditions. If you notice your head joint cork appears to be loose, or if you detect a muffling of the tone, then you should take it to be serviced right away. The flute cannot be used properly if air leakage is occurring around the cork and your tuning will suffer greatly.
The Middle Joint
The middle joint is the second of the three sections of the flute.
The middle joint or body of the flute is in the center of the assembled instrument. On the head side, it has the barrel, a small decorative fluting area that usually carries the engraved logo of the flute maker. On the foot side, it is open to accept the connection with the foot joint. Most of the keys on the flute are found on the body joint, along with the tuning slide and tenons.
The Foot Joint
The foot joint is the last of the three sections of the flute.
The foot joint is where sound emits from the flute. It is a short section that has a small number of keys, depending on the type of flute. You can count the keys on this joint to see if it is a B foot (3 keys) or C foot (2 keys) instrument. B foots have one extra key that allows the player to play one step lower than a C foot. Generally, flutes with a B foot joint are intermediate level and above while flutes with a C foot joint are student level. B foots are heavier than C foots.
The tenons of your flute are designed to fit precisely into the adjoining joint and should not be lubricated. Make sure the parts of the flute are aligned exactly as designed when reassembling the instrument.
We’ve discussed the assembly of the flute and the parts of the flute and the purposes of each. Now you can wow your friends and peers with you knowledge of the parts of the flute. Please feel free to drop me a line anytime with any questions you have. firstname.lastname@example.org