The Flute Scale Book: A Path to Artistry by Patricia George and Phyllis Avidan Louke
The Flute Scale Book is a comprehensive book of scales, arpeggios, vibrato, and ornamental devices, in the vein of Taffanel and Gaubert and taken a little further. There are a number of practice patterns and practice plans for varying levels of technique. It starts with one-octave scales and arpeggios in the range of F1-E3 in all key signatures (major and minor). It then progressively transitions to exercises in the range of B0-D4. Throughout the book are explanations describing the “how’s” and “why’s” of the methods being used in the book, such as movement while playing and “chunking.” There are also links to the Fabulous Flute website for video guidance and more information. In the late chapters of the book the technique work progresses to add more interval work, and ornament-like work with scales featuring neighbor tones and resembling grupettos. At the very end of the book are appendices to be used with the latter half of the book using a wide variety of rhythms and articulations in 8- and 6-note settings.
From the Author:
The Flute Scale Book: A Path to Artistry by Patricia George and Phyllis Avidan Louke Published by Presser. Available in digital download.
In the early 2000’s I began traveling teaching my Flute Spa masterclasses. I wanted my materials to be in one bound book, so I copied everything off that I used in my daily practice and had it bound at Kinkos. Wherever I went, flutists would say “I want a book like that!”
A few years later Phyllis was on a cruise around Alaska and would call me or email when in port. She said one day, “I think we should write a scale book.” I replied, “If we do, it should be The Best Scale Book Ever!”
So, my traveling Flute Spa scale book evolved into The Flute Scale Book: A Path to Artistry.
What is unique about this book is that it is written to be used by flutists of all levels—from one-year beginners through a flutist’s professional life. The other aspect of the book is that it shows you what to do or how to play the scales. Many of the exercises will be used by both elementary and advanced students.
The inside cover has a fingering chart for easy reference. And, the inside back cover has some wonderful comments from our flutist colleagues.
In the preface there are ideas about developing good basic flute playing habits such as where to put your feet, a circle of fifths (in the newer editions with instructions for teaching scales by tetrachords), and a picture of a piano keyboard to teach enharmonics.
Chapter 1 begins with a practice plan (most chapters have a practice plan to help the flutist organize their practice) and three pages of ideas to use in playing whole note scales, arpeggios, thirds, and other
intervals. The scales are laid out so the major scale is one the left page and the relative minor is on the right page. I love playing these with the tuner making sure each note is perfectly in tune. These are written in whole notes, but can be played in cut time or with added rhythms such as the eight most common rhythms in simple meter and compound meter. (Page 14).
Chapter 2 focuses on 9-note scales (used in many band programs) but focusing on the two-phrasing gestures in music—down/up and forward flow. There are six exercises in each of the major keys to practice the phrasing gestures. Check out my video of the execution of the phrasing gestures on www.fabulousflute.com under resources. Many professional flutists have shared that they practice one key a day of the phrasing gestures to keep in shape musically. (For reference: down/up is an idea used in early music that is based on dancing. Forward flow is based on the idea of singing and is used predominately in the music of the 1800s.)
Chapter 3 is a prep chapter for going into two-octave scales. This chapter focuses on things to work on so that playing in the top octave is accomplished with ease rather than fear. There are exercises using left-handed scales, harmonics, octave variations, short scales, Wiggles (using the chunking technique) and 5-note patterns played at the third harmonic partial, and a unique fingering chart with suggested top octave fingerings.
Chapter 4 is designed for what every high school flutist should know by memory in order to audition well. The chapter begins with a template of 16 ways to play a two-octave scale. This template should be used on each of the major and melodic minor scales on pages 52 and 53. In this book we have put more emphasis on the melodic minor scales than the harmonic and pure forms because that is the common practice in violin curriculum. After the scales are my favorite scales in thirds pattern. I love slurring the two lines in one blow of air, slurred—thinking about creating a beautiful line and having the tone color of each note being the same. Page 61 teaches students to play Roman numeral chord progressions using the arpeggios on pages 62-65. I wanted this exercise to be in our book because flutists often struggle in the first weeks of college theory classes and I thought if they had been doing these chord progressions all would go better—and it does.
This is followed by scales with upper neighboring tones and then lower neighboring tones. Then when you put it together you have gruppetto scales. I think this is the first time I have ever seen gruppetto scales in a book. Several flutists have commented— “Why didn’t I think of that?”
The last two exercises in this chapter are RIPS (does not mean to Rest in Peace). These are to be played fast on one blow of air. Printed in F major—they should be practiced in all major keys.
Chapter 5 is for professionals. It begins with the 5-note scale patterns continuing up through D4 in major and minor. We also suggested starting the pattern at the top of the flute and working your way down to open the sound. Amazing. Try it. Page 80.
Page 84 is the famous scale pattern of the T & G No. 4. When researching this, I found this pattern was actually by Popp in his Complete School for the Flute. When I saw his score, I realized that the melodic minor form had been intended rather than the hodge podge of notes in the T & G. I strongly believe that the T & G has engraving errors because all the minor scales are not identical in execution. I find that staying in melodic minor throughout is much more calming. I renamed these scale Tone Color Scales because that is what they are about—keeping the same tone color on each note. In the Appendices in the last two pages of TFSB are many ways to play these scales with the phrasing and articulation gestures. This is based on my dear colleague Michel Debost’s Scale Game.
Page 92 features the way my teacher William Kincaid taught the thirds and sixths. He only has us go from low to high, but for years I have practiced high to low with great results. These are followed by pedal point arpeggios, broken pedal point arpeggios, Kuhlau bass (from the legendary Marcel Tabuteau), Seventh chords, broken seventh chords, dominant seventh chords and chromatic diminished triads and seventh chords. All these exercises may be practiced with the Scale Game ideas found in the last two pages of the book.
Chapter 6 is called a Bouquet of Scales---a collection of scales and patterns that are the building blocks of contemporary music. Included are modal scales, chromatic scales and prep, chromatic neighboring tone scales, octatonic scales, blues scales, major seventh chords, and major/minor pentatonic scales.
One of the loveliest things about TFSC is the wonderful layout that Phyllis designed. It is so nice to play the scales and to not have to turn a page in the middle of a key. Also in Chapter 5, the individual chords are named to help music theory students learn their craft better.
We hope you will take a look at the best scale book ever---I mean The Flute Scale Book---it is the path to artistry. –Patricia George, Appleton,
WI, June 22, 2022. email@example.com
The Flute 101.5: Enrichment Workshop will be offered twice this summer: on July 10th and again on August 7th from noon-2:00pm Pacific Time. Registration is $15.
Information on the workshops and registration can be found at https://fabulousflute.com/workshops/ Information on Flute 101.5: Enrichment can be found at https://fabulousflute.com/flute-101-5-enrichment/
Range of notes: B0-D4
Rhythms: whole notes/rest; quarter note/rests; eighth note/rest; sixteenth note/rest; triplet note/rest; triplets; thirty-seconds; -tuplets up to 9 per beat
Time Signatures: 4/4, 3/4, 2/4, 6/8, 8/4
Key Signatures: no flats/sharps, one flat, two flats, three flats, four flats,five flats, six flats one sharp, two sharps, three sharps, four sharps, five sharps
Other: ties, slurs, transposition, vibrato, harmonics, moving and playing
Nod to Taffanel and Gaubert (Popp)
Practice plans for a variety of levels
Appendices featuringrhythm/articulation patterns for 8- and 6-note patterns
Starts with one-octave scales/arpeggios F1-E3
Exercises written out in all keys
Explanations on why’s and how’s of ideas in book
Later chapters more advanced with intervals and ornament-resemblant patterns