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Microtones & quartertones

All there is to know about Microtones & quartertones

About Microtones & quartertones

Quartertones are a quarter-tone higher or lower. Microtones are even less higher or lower. Most quartertones/microtones need different fingerings. A flute with open holes is an advantage for performing this technique. Also the timbre is different.

Flute Colors: having fun with extended techniques
to help flutists gain better control

Flute Colors: having fun with extended techniques
to help flutists gain better control

Extended techniques for better control

Adding extended techniques like Microtones & quartertones to your every day flute studies improves your overall flute control.

Download sheet music with extended techniques right here from flutecolors.com

sheet music sample with extended techniques

  Drouet – 25 studies – No. 1

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Notation

Quartertones and microtones are mostely indicated by an accidental or beam without notehead. Mostely the alternative fingerings are written below or over the note. Sometimes a composer writes the fingering in the apendix of a piece. Accidentals These accidentals can be used in scores. Composers sometimes mean different things with a symbol. Always check the foreword of a piece.

1/4 higher than a regular sharp
1/4 higher than a regular sharp
regular sharp
1/4 lower than a regular sharp
1/4 lower than a regular sharp
1/4 higher than a regular flat
1/4 higher than a regular flat
normal flat
1/4 lower than a regular flat
double flat
1/4 higher than a regular natural
1/4 lower than a regular natural

 

Practise

Studying quartertones and microtones on the flute is useful for:

– Aural skills
– Flexibility

 

Picc/alto/bass

This technique can be used on all flutes. The fingerings are not the same for piccolo, C-flute, alto flute and bass flute.

Composers

Level:

General:   Becomes more difficult:
This technique is easy to realize as a seperate technique.   In very fast passages.

Notes:

The fingerings that are to be used for playing quartertones and microtones are not very common for most flutists. Therefor please notate the fingering above the note in the score.

Sound example

Here you can listen to a short example of a microtanalic scale. I’m playing Xi by Stockhausen.