A Taste of the Beautiful Sea in 'OCEANA'


Australian composer Carolyn Morris, has arranged her recent orchestral work 'Oceana' for large Flute Ensemble.


Dorff Writes New Work For Bass Flute


I have commissioned a new work from the versatile and creative composer, Daniel Dorff of Theodore Presser, for the 2018 NFA Flute Convention in Florida. The piece will be for bass flute and piano, and is sure to enrich our growing low flutes repertoire and challenge the capabilities of this instruments.


'Underwater Flowers': A vibrant view of unique water creatures


'Underwater Flowers' by Gary Schocker




Flute Tutor Australia has posted a new page on their growing web-site dedicated to the LOW FLUTES. This page will feature music, artists and accessories about the Low Flutes both in Australia and throughout the International Global flute community. We welcome any information you may wish to post (concerts, new music, models of instruments, recordings, etc.) that pertain to the Low Flutes.


Concerto for Two Flutes ( C and Alto flutes)


'Crimson Carousel'- Concerto for Two Flutes (C and Alto Flute)


Albisiphone Sonata


An Albisiphone Sonata by Jonathan Cohen


Subtriplication (Trio for Low Flutes)


'Subtriplication' a real hit at Low Flutes Concert....


Why Should I Buy An Alto/ Bass Flute?


Some possible reasoning behind the purchase of alternate instruments....


Brahms Trilogy/ op. 118


Exciting Arrangements for Low Flutes ensemble


Monash University Flute Ensemble Receives Travel Grant


The Monash University Flute Ensemble has been awarded a travel grant from the 'Creative Young Stars" program.....


Peter Senchuk: A Man with Vision


Los Angeles based composer, Peter Senchuk is clearly redefining what is possible from the sounds of multiple flutes. With more than sixty works composed for various sized flute ensembles, this composer is reshaping the sound and style of the modern flute choir.


'Forest Over Sea'- Trio for Alto and Bass Flutes with Piano


Melbourne based composer Carolyn Morris has composed a work for low flutes duo and piano. The composition has been commissioned by Peter Sheridan and is titled, 'Forest Over Sea," which will feature the alto and bass flutes with piano. The composition will be featured at the Australian Flute Festival in Canberra during early October, and recorded for the Independent record label MOVE.



'The Big Picture': Alto Flute Etudes


Etudes for young players by Emma Rogers


Oustanding Artist: Janet McKay




In A Winter Landscape


Short Excerpt of Dress Rehearsal: view


'Sleep's Borderland': Diana McIntosh explores the low flutes


The established and well performed Canadian composer Diana McIntosh has created a new work for a small ensemble of low flutes titled, 'Sleep's Borderland.' In the composers words, "The work consists of two movements titled, Fugitive Worlds and Mind Parties respectively. These contrasting movements will explore the strange, mysterious,  and disturbing,  worlds between sleeping and waking.   Constantly fluctuating moods  roam through half- remembered , half imagined  spaces,    seeking a sense of  peace." The work will be scored for alto , bass, contra bass, sub contra bass flutes and piccolo.

The composition will receive it's World premiere at the 2013 Toronto Flute Convention.
Read More about Diana McIntosh.

Morceau de Concours (for solo Alto Flute and low flutes ensemble)


It is a pleasure to announce the beautiful and sensitive slow ballade by Gabriel Faure has been recently arranged for SOLO ALTO FLUTE and a small collection of low flutes. Robert Rainford (from Forton Music), fine low flute player and enthusiast was so kind to make the arrangement for my 2012 trip to Los Angeles to perfrom and record with the Los Angeles Flute Orchestra. The beauty of the simple yet lyrical line is only enhanced by the colour of the alto flute, and the soft hue of the tender chords played by alto, bass, contra and subcontrabass (or double contra). A recording of the arrangement should appear in late 2012. I thank Robert for his work and kind consideration of this most memorable tune.

Please visit, FORTON MUSIC for other music for low flutes and flute ensemble.


Rhonda Berry composes new Low Flutes Trios/Duets


Australian composer Rhonda Berry has composed new chamber music minatures for the low flutes.


Taran Carter- Owl sfutel


Melbourne based composer Taran Carter has spun his creative twist on a new work for bass flute and piano....


Contra-alto flute in G: the bass alto flute


Contra-alto flute: a bass alto flute


Kotato and Fukushima new Low Flutes


These makers of fine low flutes make brilliant improvements to their low instruments.......


Rosiak Bass Flute Concerto


Australian based composer Michal Rosiak has announced a new concerto project for the bass flute......


Nuestro Pueblo- Low Flutes Concerto


Talented Los Angeles composer Peter Senchuk, has created a work for low flute soloist and flute ensemble..... Available from: PeterSenchuk.com


Alto Flute Concerto receives piano reduction


American composer David Ott has completed a piano reduction of his stunning alto flute concerto. The work is set in three movements and is a masterpiece of composition and virtuosic writing.......


'Impuls' - Recording featuring low flutes


The flutist, artist and composer Stephan Keller has once again given the low flute community something to talk about......... 


Dunleavy Bass Flute Concerto


 Preliminary plans and sketches are underway for an exciting work featuring amplified bass flute, computer symmetry and strings by Sydney based composer Houston Dunleavy....


"Creation of the Chromatic Hyperbass flute"


A new member of low flutes family is born...


New Glissando Headjoint!



The legendary ROBERT DICK does it once again with his incredible artistic vision for sound...  


Jonathan Cohen: Interchangeable Duos


A collection of 7 original duos for interchangeable low flutes has provided new opportunities for the low flute family....




Kotato and Fukushima Sub-contrabass flute


The Kotato and Fukushima Sub-contrabass flute  in F is clearly one of of the most amazing low flutes......


Monash Flute Ensemble performs Australian Premieres



Flute Ensembles gives a shine to new premieres...


The Deepest Voice...Explorations into the Hyperbass


A new reality for the low end of the pipe....


Noisy Oyster: Concert Pieces



Concert Etudes for Low Flutes (2010)

Hilary Taggart (UK) has completed a set of seven etude-concert pieces designed specifically for the Alto flute.....


"Three for Two"- New Duets for Low Flutes



Award-winning composer Adrienne Albert created a fantastic set of most expressive duos....


Successful Trip




Playing on the Curved Headjoints


The Curved Alto Head Joint

Over the years I have been asked about the 'correct' positioning for the curved headjoints on the alto and bass flutes. My response is simple and quite clear, "the correct position, is the position that works best for one's sound, finger technique and balance of the instrument." First out, I do not endorse the use of the curved alto head joints. It is my humble opinion that these curved alto flute head joints may play out of tune and distort the lower partials of the overall quality of sound. This said though, many flutist need to work on the curved head, as their arms may not stretch efficiently to the lower end of the instrument, and the straight heads can cause back, neck and hand pain. So the curve in the head does provide a closer hand set up, and provides a relaxation of shoulder and neck tension.

I have seen all types of curved head set ups, from in-line with flute body, to the head positioned over the the top of the body, and played in a downward blowing position. I find that placement of the headjoint halfway between these two extreme positions, so another words, just above the thumb plate, yet not over the keys, is a somewhat optimal setup. This position is roughly over the rods. There are two mechanical reasons for this placement.

1) the flute can now be supported from underneath, and the LH can provide a slight upward force to counter balance the weight of the larger body and tube, ' gently'  pushing the headjoint into a solid and stable embouchure position.  

2) This angled position allows for 'pitch manuvering' which is a realistic truth on the low flutes.  

What is often the problem with this position, is that flutist then counteract themselves by turning the position of the head joint in (towards the lips), which can negate their efforts made to get the air source through the longer, larger pipe. A more open position tone hole set up, will provide deeper, richer  low partials , creating a clearer, cleaner, projecting tone.

To recap, the position of the curved head has to work for the weight-balance, freedom of fingers and best tone production on the instrument. With aware self-observations in the mirror, one can solve numerous problems and create new methods of self expression through this unique relationship of the curved headjoint. This curved type of headjoint has many more choices that the normal straight headjoint and can be a wonder to explore. The best advice I can give is: make the darn thing work for you. There are some many positions, yet the 'correct' one is the one that works best for your sound, and comfort.


Low Flutes Recordings



Low Flutes Recordings

There are several recordings featuring a few tracks of Low Flutes.            It is a real treat to sit quietly and turn up your speakers on some of these amazingly low sounds. These are not listed in any particular order. Enjoy the sounds, feel the vibes!

  • Wild New Music for Flute(1998) Sheridon Stokes and Jared Ferguson-Alto/Bass - Works of incantaions, fearturing composers performing on Alto, Bass and C Flutes (Sheridon Stokes Music)   

  • Glaciers in Extinction (2005) Roberto Fabbriciani-Hyperbass flute and tape  - A World premiere recording of the Hyperbass flute. Six evocative, soundscapes exploring the enigmatic tones of the World's largest flute (Col Legno)

  • Spinning: Geoffrey Collins-Flutes (1995) - Featuring the incredible Alto flute solo composition by Andrew Ford, writing for Helen Tara O'Connor (Tall Poppies)

  • JEUX: Mikael Helasvuo-Alto Flute (2001) - A fantastic work by Finnish Esa Pekka Salonen, featuring exciting and wild extended techniques. Outstanding performance!


New Depths of Tone: Sub-Contra Bass Flute


Depths of Sound: The Sub-Contra Bass Flute

The Sub-Contra Bass Flute, a monster of double tubing, with an embouchure hole large enough to fit a piccolo through, is a warm welcome to my collection of Low Flutes. The instrument is capable of sounding a C, three octaves, yes, three octaves below middle C! Made by the remarkable maker from the Nederlands, Jelle Hogenhuis, he produces this instrument at a fraction of the cost of a silver model, and I mean fraction. The flute takes a bit of time to readjust, though if you are a fluid bass or contra player, you will not have much trouble transferring. Once you find the air capacity and deep support, the full rich partials create a wonderful raucous sound. Jelle began designing these instruments in the 1980's and has never stopped. He also makes other low flutes, though I have not had the pleasure of testing these instruments out. The Sub-Contra's massive body tubing is made completely out of PVC piping (a small feat of engineering), and is set beautifully with silver plated keys (with key pins as long as a flute head joint). The instrument is played seated in a hugging position with the hands in a slight reverse order (left hand below right hand). Its core sound reminds me of a growling bear (I mean this with the up most endearment) and the possibilities for tone colours are bountiful. Jelle provides a finger chart that spans three octaves, though I can only find about two octaves that sound correctly in tune with a good quality, right now. I will keep practicing those high notes on my Low Flute! The heart of the instrument is obviously its lowest register, which can sing, groan, growl or buzz a tone; physically moving the substance of air in its path. Read more: SCB PDF


Practice Tips (AMEB Exams)


Practice Tips for Music Exams  (AMEB examinations)

Read more: Practice (AMEB)


The Orchestral Alto Flute


Orchestral Alto Flute

I have presented classes on the Orchestral literature for Alto Flute. The class is just over an hour, and we play, discuss and problem solve the three large orchestral works that include the Alto Flute: "Rite of Spring," "Planets," and "Daphnis and Chole." All of these compositions explore the instruments unique and distinct color, as well as its sensitive yet vibrant tone and projection. Also dicussed are the symphonic and operatic works of Benjamin Britten that involve this instrument. In his "Sinfonia da Requiem" we find an extraordinary understanding of orchestral blend and balance, as Britten uses the Alto flute as a low support for the floating flute lines above it, in the Aeternam Requiem (III mv't.) This simple yet sonic and emotional colour gives Britten his distinct and vivid orchestrations. In my opinion, this excerpt, is an excellent warm-up for tone, quality, and over-all 'loose' control of the delicate alto embouchure. Good supply of air, will allow the alto to produce a big hollow-like tone, which is excellent for blending. Orchestral Alto


VCA Flute Ensemble Wins Competition

The newly reformed Victorian College of the Arts Flute Ensemble won the "Large Ensembles" section of the 16th Annual Victorian Flute Guild Competition. With a short program of Jindrich Feld's "Cassation" (for two piccs, 6 C Flutes and Alto), and a 'hot flashy' version of Tico, Tico (arr. by Trevor Wye) the VCA Flutes performed to their top abilities. With a wide and sensitive range of dynamics in the Feld, the ensemble used a refine awareness of intonation and timbral blend throughout the simple yet changing simple melody. The highpoint was the unison melody that Feld so cleverly uses towards the end of his composition to bring a heightened tension and unique flute colour to the piece. The Ensemble then turned their attention to light hearted speed, as they 'blazed' their way through the famous South American tune Tico, with great msuicianship and a high level of pure FUN! As their director for the last year, I felt honoured to stand in front of these most impressive young musicians, and thoughly enjoyed the look on their faces when the audience roared with enjoyment and encouragment at the end of their performance. I sincerely thank my colleague, Derek Jones, Head of Winds of the VCA College, Melbourne for the fine opportunity and motivation to work with such gifted and dedicated students. Look for the VCA Flutes at the Australian Flute Festival in Adelaide in October 2009, where they will premiere two new Australian compositions for Flute Ensemble. Of course, these works will feature the Low Flutes for sure. Works by: Dunleavy, Gilmour, Neville and Selleck.

Playing Multiple Flutes (The Great Juggling Act)





As a dedicated member of a professional flute quartet for many years, it would usually take me double the time to set up my end of the ensemble compared to the others. I can remember on one particular concert playing five different flutes. Now for some this may seem like no big sweat, set up the flutes, toot on them and away you go. Well I am writing this short article to state it differently. Performing on multiple flutes (or any multi-instrumentals) is an art and an absolute artistic comittment. The Contrabass flute alone stands some five feet off the ground, and could take three times the breath capacity to perform the same phrases as on the C flute (I am in no way complaining, by the way....) The uniqueness of the Low Flutes is their clear and present differences of tone quality and agaility. Try playing the opening of the Mozart G on all four Low Flutes, one soons understands how different they truly are. Playing all these flutes well, is not some unknown truth, it is just really hard work!

As I stated above,  assembly alone can take ten minutes. Never mind warming them all up! The logic is understanding and connecting with the embouchure and the tube. The embouchure is an amazing set of muscle groups working together (not against) to form the opening for the airstream from the lips to leave. On the Sub-Contra bass flute, the embouchure opening is roughly three to four times larger and wider than the C Flute (yes, that is why one runs out of air so quickly on these instruments). The point is, to SLOW down the air stream and allow the air to leave the embouhure at a much slower rate. The Sub-Contrabass Contrabass flutes are upright instruments and take a new attention to balance and stability. Your hands placement is different (and even slightly backwards on some sub-contrabass models) and the technique needs to be modified. I find my hands a bit more locked in on this instruments, as the tone holes are larger and need a precise covering when played at speed.


New Concerto for the Contrabass flute


Lyric Concerto for Contrabass flute

With only a handful of concertos for this large up-right flute, this new work comes as a landmark. Bruce Lawrence, who sadly passed away suddenly this year, completed a beautiful lyrical concerto for the Contrabass flute and strings. Scored for string quartet with an optional double bass, the concerto, set in three movements (Allegro-Andante-Presto) is a fine piece of solo writing with a sensitive attention to the voicing of the Contrabass flute line. Bruce composed a good portion of the solo line in the flutes third octave, which explores the instrument's distinct and memorable timbre. The lyricism of the well crafted melodies, especially in the second movement, are a testiment to the musicianship of Bruce's work and sensitivity. I believe this is one of only about four Concertos for the Contrabass flute. A commercial recording should be released later this year. A must for fans of the lower sounding flutes! Sounds like a cello, but you know its a flute.


Andrew Downes: Sonata for Contrabass flute


The well known and respected British composer, Andrew Downes has composed a fine Contrabass flute sonata.....


Mission: Commission


First Published in Flute Focus Article July 2008 www.flutefocus.com Click here to read the article (PDF).


Embouchure Emissions

The flutist embouchure is truly a miraculous mechanism. With numerous muscle groups controlling size, and motion, it is no wonder there are so many variations of embouchures. There are two main functions of the embouchure: 1) guide the airstream 2) control airflow. Of course there is a fine balance which needs to take place between the lips. Too tight and the tone suffers harmonic richness, too loose and the tone is diffused and unfocused. Here are a few tips that work for me, when I am focusing awareness on my Embouchure Emissions: -Allow teeth to remain open. This creates more space in your mouth and allows a full stream of air to flow into your flute. -Think about applying a bit of tension to the corners of your mouth. If applied correctly, you should have a rounded opening in the center, with relaxed lips to control airflow efficiently. -The more air you supply the flute, the embouchure will work less. Control not only comes from the lips, but can be monitored by the diaphragm. -Use your ears to shape your embouchure, not just your eyes. Yes, we have all been told to study our embouchure in the mirror, but inspire yourself to also use the aural sense as well. I have seen CRAZY embouchure formations, that produce stunningly beautiful sounds. I have also noticed perfect embouchure formations that produce dull, uninteresting sounds. It is all relative, as Einstein taught us! -Experiment with your embouchure, it is fun. You can find some pretty cool sounds it you allow yourself to explore the possibilities. Try it, you may find a position you were not aware of. For a closer look at the mechanics of the embouchure, read the: "Illustrated Method for Flute," by Sheridon Stokes. "

A Lyrical Hybrid: The Pinschofon


I had often read about a mysterious T-shaped flute named the Pinschofon.....




"Good Reads"


....Some are more technical than others, and some are just down right "Good Reads." Another words, inspire the muses within us....


Compositions for Bass and Contrabass Flutes

BASS FLUTE Vivienne Olive: "..Is The Flower Of The Heart Of Man..."(1972) A solo work that is proportionally based on the time and date of the Hiroshima Attack 815681945. Many dynamic and melodic colors. Furore Editions (Kassel) Frank Michael Beyer: Echo (1985) Solo work set in four movements, with outer movements based around chorale like quarter tone chants. Good for a spacial setting. Third movement set in a duo score for great dramatic and dynamic effect of compund like melodic material. Challenging to pull-off in performance. Bote & Bock (Berlin) Daniel Kessner: Priere et Scherzo (2000) A challenging and exciting six minute composition for Bass Flute and Piano. Includes some air/breath sounds and fluid scale passages. Perfect on any recital program, and has some of those familiar French overtones, with of course, an American twist. Published by Theodore Front Musical Literature http://www.csun.edu/~vcoao04c/daniel.html Daniel Kessner: Seven Studies In Melodic Expression (1991) A fantastic set of melodic explorations for the Low Flutes, that expand the concepts and control of musical expressions. All etudes are excellent individual performance pieces. Publisher: Theodore Front Music Dominik Karski: Glimmer (Duo for Alto and Bass Flute) A sonic treat, with pages of quarter tone clashes, pitch glissandi, timbral trills and rich harmonic overtone patterns. A neat well written manuscript, but a challenge to play accurrate. http://www.amcoz.com.au/opac/name.aspx?id=4374 CONTRABASS FLUTE Felix Werder: Opening! (1987) Solo composition for Contrabass flute (in G), but a virtuosic challenge for C Contrabass flute. Some demanding rhythmic passages with wide intervalic leaps. Exciting to play and fun to listen to. Published through Australian Music Center.

Resources for the Bass Flute

C. POTTER: Alto and Bass Resource Book (Falls House Press) A short pamphlet containing reliable alternate fingerings, helpful playing tips, intonation issuses and repertoire (mostly transcriptions). A good source for trouble shooting problems. C. LEVINE: The Techniques of Flute Playing II (Picc., Alf, and Bfl) Strong resource for a serious approach to contemporary musical techniques. List of Bass flute timbral trills and multiphonic fingerings. (Barenreiter)

"HEARING" the Lower Flutes

Playing the Low Flutes can truly be a challenge! These instruments have the same fingerings, and even look similar (for the most part) to the C Flute, but they are certainly tubes of a different nature. Players need to slightly reshape the embouchure (relax the opening of the lips, and allow a bit of the upper lip to hang over the tone hole), allowing a more open volume of air to pass through the lips, yet remain slow in air speed. Another technique is to allow the lower lip to be placed partly in the tone hole itself, of course this will assist with changing the angle of the air stream, and may help with bringing a bit of edge to the low tones. In my opinion, the greatest challenge is not the physical aspect of playing, yet this can be most demanding for some, but rather aural (hearing). One needs to reshape their hearing when playing the larger flutes, and understand that the richest pitches are from another world, the 'bass clef!' A low C on the Bass flute, only one octave lower than the C Flute, is in actuality, quite a different quality and tone color, just by basic laws of physics- it resonates at a slower rate, it has a wider frequency band and is clearly filled with all sorts of harmonic partials! Embrace that sound and amplify it as much as you can. Just look at the tubing of the bass or Contrabass flutes, your tiny airstream from your pursed lips, has a long (and wide) way to travel. Sometimes I hear doublers on the lower instruments, playing with a closed off, hollow sound. They may even struggle to find those low pearls on the alto or bass. Allowing the ears to realize that these lower instruments are transposing, and only with the use of the ears and acknowledgement of pitch placemnet, will one find the core sound of the lower flutes. This of course takes time, and I myself, am still learning this, after years of playing bass flute in a professional flute quartet. Playing the cello part of a Mozart string quartet is no simple feat, trust me! So a good concept to formulate is: Train the ears to accept and work in these lower frequencies. Practice singing in bass clef. Even ladies can do this, as I can sing a soprano high C, as it is my ear that allows the sound to come out, not my brilliant vocal technique. One will find that this key concept of aural understanding will lead to a sound and color that is most desireable on any of the low flutes (Alto, Bass, or Contra Bass).

'On The Far Side of Mars' - New Composition for Bass Flute and Piano


The well-known and versatile Canadian composer Diana McIntosh has composed an exciting new work for Bass Flute and Piano (interior) to be premiered at the Ground swell concert series on Thursday April 9th in Winnipeg, CAN. The substantial work explores the both the lyrical and avant-garde from both instruments and is sure to captivate the listeners attention and vivid imagination. The piece plays with sonic and movement tension with perfromers freely moving withon the performance space to create and capture unique and 'other-worldly' sounds. More to come about this most fascinating addition to the low flutes repertoire soon.




Low Flutes: Quantity, Speed and Angle


The Low Flutes (Alto, Bass and Contrabass) are unique in the issues to air quantity, air speed, and embouchure angle. These instruments all require much more air to excite their wider longer body tubing, a slower air speed and possibly a closer angle to the back wall of the embouchure tone hole. AIR QUANTITY The quantity of the air used to play the contrabass flute well, sompared to the flute is almost double. Really! You need to fill up the lungs, drop the diaphragm and extend the intercoastal muscles of the rib cage. This manner of breathing and inhalation will allow your low flute to sing like a cello with a fine bow. Also do not neglect the chest cavity. As a fine Opera Tenor once stated, Älways leave the chest up and open....ready to do it's job." Well there are varying degrees of this technique, but please use in moderation, as an overuse can cause problems with your back and neck. The basic concept: fill your body with so much air, then top it up with even more. Overtime your can here some dramtic tonal changes in the quality of your sound and musical phrasing. SPEED QUALITY The air speed on the low flutes will be slower and the embouchure will be a bit wider in shape. I set my blowing in a reverse psychology and convince myself that as I blow out my air in coming in. A great method to slow down and control the air speed of your embouchure.


Reading Ahead of the Sound

As Music Teachers, we have all experienced new students, who are reluctant readers of music notation. Some students truly believe they are not able to read the notes on the page fast enough. Musical notation is only a graphic representation of sound. Music reading is not difficult or even impossible, it only takes work and discipline. Here is a little tick to work with: Always and forever, read one, two, or even three notes ahead of where you are playing. Practice, by having a friend or fellow musician cover the notes you are playing, hence motivating the eye to look ahead. The note that is sounding is NOT important, as far as reading, it is the note or series of notes that follow. Look ahead, and read like a PRO. let me know if it works for you. "Reading is Everything in a Musical Education..." P. Sheridan