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Aeolian/Air Sounds


Aeolian sounds are colored air sounds  with no normal flute tone. This Air stream across the embouchure produces an airy pitch resonance in the first octave only, low B- middle D# (up to middle F# by using the trill keys). The sound color can be changed by changing the shape of the inside of the mouth—distance between the teeth and/or by using different vowel shapes. 


Production Tips

To produce Aeolian Sounds use a "duck-face" embouchure, allowing the air to flow over the top of the embouchure hole. In order to avoid normal flute tone, you can bite your teeth together. 


Extended Variations

  • The flute is particularly suited to adding more or less tone to the colored air sound with seamless transitions between pure air and normal flute tone. 

  • Despite the fact that Aeolian Sounds are only possible in the lowest octave, higher registers can be played with a similar color, mixing the normal flute tone resonance with an unfocused air stream. However, this is not true Aeolian Sound.

  • Aeolian Sounds can be colored with different vowels or phonemes. You can choose one that would enhance the gesture's effectiveness, such as an [sh] phoneme in a wind-like gesture. 

Notation Examples

Video Examples

Flute 1

Aeolian melody (see below)

Flute 2

High register Aeolian

Audio Examples
Aeolian on Alto Flute - FluteXpansions
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Alto flute

Aeolian melody

Aeolian on Bass Flute - FluteXpansions
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Bass flute

Aeolian melody