Directions and explanations
First, if you have been experiencing any difficulty playing the .wav files
within this lesson, go
for a better understanding of the process required to play these files.
Look at the graphic below and notice that the displayed
image is the same first bar as shown in "lesson-1a".
I'll show a new technique in this lesson and introduce you to the symbol and
terminology that I'll be using in the remainder of this lesson. The new
terminology is "ripple" and the symbol is a slanted line between the notes that
are to be effected by the ripple.
Along with the discussion of the ripple, I'm also going to introduce you to
a technique used by many players of the Native American style flute. The
term is "vibrato", and it is easily recognized by a slight quivering of the
sound produced by any particular note.
here to hear an example of vibrato. Before proceeding with
the ripple, let me explain a little about vibrato. Anyone can learn it with
practice. Vibrato is produced by forcing pulses of breath through the instrument.
It's very similiar to the panting that females are taught to do during child-birth.
It is also very similiar to couphing, except without the closing of the throat
that produces the sound of the cough. Try couphing 5 times in a row. Now try
it again without creating the restriction within the throat that creates the
sound. Try it again, and this time hold your hand on your belly. You should
feel it tense and relax with each pulse of forced breath you create. That's
all there is to it. It's quite simple when done very slowly and with lots of
practice, it becomes just as simple at higher speeds. Practice that whenever
you can. No need to have a flute to your mouth to do it. One of the ways to
test to see if the air is coming from the correct place and that you're using
your lower muscles correctly, is to hold the backside of your hand in front
of you mouth as you do it. The air coming out should be warm, not cold. If it
is cold it is coming from your lungs which isn't correct. Okay, that's enough
of that for now. I'll discuss it at a greater length later in the lessons.
The ripple is used by practically all players of the NAF. It's probably the
single most recognizable feature that sets this instrument and method of playing
it apart from any other.
The fingering for the ripple can be a little difficult for the beginner, but
is quickly learned. I'll discuss the ripple shown in the graphic below. Start
by covering all of the holes on your flute. Blow into the flute with all of
the holes covered and hold it for one beat. That note is known as "E" if your
flute is in the key of "E". The next step is a little tricky. The ripple requires
that you quickly remove each finger sequentially, starting from the bottom and
all the way up to and including the finger covering the 2nd hole from the top.
As soon as the second finger from the top is lifted, place it back down just
as quickly. When the 2nd finger comes down to cover the hole, keep it there
for one beat (keep blowing) and then continue onto the next note and play it
and the note that follows just as you learned it in the first lesson.
In the example sound file, I've added vibrato to the last note slightly which
you too can do as you progress in the lessons. I've also shortened the length
of the beat (the duration) of the second note to help compensate for length of
ripple. I'll explain more about this later.
Okay, that's a lot to learn so practice it as often as you can. In the next
portion of this lesson, I'll show you how to add even more to the first bar
to give it yet a little more character. It's really quite amazing what can be
done with a very short melody concisting of just 3 notes. Imagine how the entire
piece will sound by the time we are finished. It shouldn't be long
until you too are able to take a very simple melody that you've heard, or that
has been nested in your heart, and reproduce it with your instrument in a way
you never thought possible.
First measure of Largo (from Symphony No. 9) arrangement
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Hear it - with ripple
File size: 0.25 meg
Hear it - no ripple
File size: 0.25 meg
Playing a .wav file
Please note that whenever you click on the link to play a .wav file within
this lesson, that it will take a while for the file to be transferred to your
computer. If using certain browsers, a separate little window will open that
will just sit there for a while looking like nothing is happening. However
the data is actually being transferred to your computer in the background
and will eventually start to play. Patience is required, especially for the
larger files which could take 5 minutes or longer to transfer. The smaller
ones usually do so in a couple of minutes depending on the speed of your modem.
Other browsers will ask you if you want to save the file to your computer. If
you answer yes, it will be transferred, and then you can click on the file and
it will play in your computer's media player.
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