Singing & Playing


The combination of Singing and Playing can be done in unison or octaves, contrary motion, and harmony with the flute pitch, always depending on the vocal range of the flutist. Some intervals between the voice and flute are more stable than others, such as the octave, third, fourth, and fifth above or below the flute pitch. Other intervals can create a lot of beating tones and be difficult to sustain.  


Production Tips

Start by humming any pitch in your vocal range and then simultaneously blow air through the lips. Form an embouchure to produce a flute tone while continuously singing.

Options for Singing and Playing include:

1) Sing in unison with the flute pitch

2) Sing a steady pitch, while the flute notes change with fingerings or Glissando techniques

3) Glissando the voice up or down while holding a steady flute pitch. This creates an opposing glissando of difference tones. 

4) Sing a specific notated melody. The voice and fingers can be doing something completely different. 


In Singing and Playing, the voice is perceived as louder by the player than the audience because the sound is coming from within your own head. Therefore, generally your voice needs to be louder than you think. Typically, it is easier and preferred to have the voice as a leading element in the gesture with the flute tone in a supporting role. 


The intonation between your voice and flute pitch needs to be perfect. Otherwise it weakens the result overall. The vowels you sing change timbre of the sound and can affect the intonation. 


Extended Variations

  • Singing unison can create fantastic harmonic cascades in the sound.

Notation Examples
Video Examples

Flute 1a

Singing in octaves and unison

Flute 2

Voice glissando creating difference tones

Flute 1b

Singing in unisons


Singing and Playing independent voice and flute lines

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