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Multiphonics

All there is to know about Multiphonics

About Multiphonics

A multiphonic is a combination of different tones that sound at the same time. It is possible to play two, three, four or more tones at the same time. Most of the time alternative fingerings are used.

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 Multiphonics 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

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Multiphonic Finder

 

With this tool you can look for multiphonics, dynamics and the fingerings. It is possible to copy the fingering so composers can use it in the score.

Multiphonic Finder >

 

Notation

Notation

In this example you can see how multiphonics are written in the score. The notes that should be played together at the same time are notated over each other.

 
Most of the time the fingering you should use is written over the notes or in the index of a piece.

 

Accidentals

These accidentals can be used in scores. I will skip the technical part for now and just note what the accidental means approximately:

sounds higher than a normal sharp
sounds higher than a normal sharp
normal sharp
sounds lower than a normal sharp
sounds lower than a normal sharp
sounds higher than a normal flat
sounds higher than a normal flat
 normal flat
 sounds lower than a normal flat
 double flat
 sounds higher than a normal natural
 sounds lower than a norman natural

 

Dynamics

Dynamics are very important. It gives you an idea of the amount of air and airpressure you should use. Not every multiphonic can be played (easily) in every dynamic.

Practise

Studying multiphonics on the flute is useful for:
– Embouchure control
– Air control and support control
– Improving aural skills

Picc/alto/bass

This technique can be used on all flutes. Some fingerings are different from the flute.

Composers

Level:

General:   Becomes more difficult:
This technique is quite easy to realize as a seperate technique, especially when the interval is large. Depending on the stability and fingering of the multiphonic.  
  • multiphonics achieved with regular fingerings
  • multiphonics based on harmonics
  • three or more tones at the same time.
  • complex fingerings

Notes:

  • Dynamics are very important. Not every multiphonic can be played in every dynamic.
  • The fingerings that are to be used by playing multiphonics are not very common for most flutists. Therefore please notate the fingering above the note in the score.
  • This technique can be combined with other techniques.

Repertoire

Composer: Title: Album: Publisher: Other techniques used:
Berio, Luciano 1925-2003 Sequenza I 1 Flute solo Universal Edition
(EU 19957)
Whistletones, Harmonics, Keyclick, Flatterzunge
Denissow, Edison 1929-1996 Solo für Flöte 3 Flute solo Deutscher Verlag für Musik (DvfM 8044) Harmonics, Keyclick, Flatterzunge, Glissando/tonebending, Quartertones
Dick, Robert *1950 Dorset Street A very
easy 20th century album
2 Flute solo Novello (Nov 12-682)
Dick, Robert *1950 Flying lessons 1 3 Flute solo Multiple Breath Music Company Harmonics, Sing & play, Keyclick, Glissando/tonebending, Quartertones, Residutonen
Dick, Robert *1950 Lookout 3 Flute solo Multiple Breath Music Company Harmonics, Sing & play, Keyclick, Quartertones
Dick, Robert *1950 Sunshower A very
easy 20th century album
2 Flute solo Novello (NOV 12-682)
Gergely, Ittzés *1969 ‘Mr. Dick is thinking in terms of a blues-pattern’ 3 Flute solo www.ittzesgergely.hu Harmonics, Sing & play, Slap tongue, Trumpet embouchure
Holliger, Heinz *1939 Sonate (in)solit(air)e 3 Flute solo Schott (FTR 175) Whistletones, Harmonics, Sing & play, Glissando/tonebending, Slap tongue, Quartertones, Trumpet embouchure
Offermans, Wil *1957 Drigo’s Dream 3 Flute, piano Zimmermann
(ZM 34510)
Bamboetones, Harmonics, Windtones, Sing & play, Keyclick, Glissando/tonebending
Offermans, Wil *1957 Honami 3 Flute solo Zimmermann
(ZM 30730)
Whistletones, Bamboetones, Windtones, Sing & play, Flatterzunge
Offermans, Wil *1957 Just a short version 3 2 flutes, piccolo, altoflute Zimmerman
(ZM 2988)
Bamboetones, Harmonics, Windtones, Flatterzunge, Glissando/tonebending
Offermans, Wil *1957 Tsuru-no-Sugomori 3 Flute solo Zimmermann
(ZM 33720)
Harmonics, Flatterzunge, Glissando/tonebending
Takemitsu, Toru *1930 Voice 3 Flute solo Salabert Editions Windtones, Sing & play, Keyclick, Quartertones
Wagendristel, Alexander *1965 Three Dances Flute Update 3 Flute solo Walter Wretschitsch & Universität für Musik und darstellende Kunst Wien Harmonics, Windtones, Jetwistle, Keyclick, Flatterzunge, Slap tongue

Books:

Author: Title: Publisher: Techniques:
Dick, Robert Tone Development Through Extended Techniques Multiple Breath Music Company Whistletones, Bamboetones, Harmonics, Sing & play
Levine, Carin / Mitropoulos-Bott, Christina The techniques of flute playing Bärenreiter Whistletones, Harmonics, Windtones, Sing & play, Jetwistle, Keyclick, Flatterzunge, Glissando/tonebending, Slap tongue, Quartertone, Trumpet embouchure
Pellerite, James J. A modern guide to fingerings for the flute Zalo Publications Harmonics, Quartertones

Sound example

Here you can listen to a short example of multiphonics. I’m playing Zoom Tube – by Ian Clark. You also will hear flatterzunge.