Overtone flute music

Playing position for a flute with an extra hole

The speciality of the overtone flute is the characteristic scale, harmonic overtone scale. The scale can be played from low to high by growing the hardness of the blowing (like you were blowing “faster”) and alternately closing (closed tones) and opening (open tones) the flute end. With overtone scale it is somewhat difficult to transfer melodies from other instruments. The characteristic scale is the reason why the melodies played with overtone flute may not sound familiar at all in the beginning. It is often easier to make up your own melodies or to improvise, which is quite fluent way to play the overtone flute.

Jonas Simonson, Kirsi Ojala & Kristiina Ilmonen. Photo by Sascha Kajic

It is possible to play any tone between the closed and open note with same kind of airflow by closing the flute end only partly. To close the flute end partly you can use one or more fingers e.g. two fingers whereupon rising of one finger causes e.g. half-closed flute end.

Overtone flute players from the present and the past:
Finland: Martti Pokela, Kurt Lindblad, Hannu Syrjälahti, Kristiina Ilmonen, Rauno Nieminen, Hannu Saha, Heikki Laitinen, Sakari Kukko, Leena Joutsenlahti, Riitta-Liisa Joutsenlahti, Tapani Varis, Veera Voima, Kirsi Ojala, Mimmi Laaksonen, Kirsi Vinkki, Lassi Logrén, Juulia Salonen, Patrik Weckman, Jarmo Romppanen, Nathan Thomson, Maija Karhinen-Ilo, Janne Ojajärvi, Joonas Ojajärvi, Satu Lankinen, Ringa Koskinen, Mikko Vanhasalo, Ilkka Heinonen, Senni Valtonen, etc.
Sweden: Jonas Simonson, Anders Norudde, Ale Möller, Göran Månsson.
Norway: Steinar Ofsdal, Styrbjörn Bergelt, Ånon Egeland, Eivind Groven.
Denmark: Mads Kjøller-Henningsen.
Estonia: Hann-Liis Lao, Sandra Vabarna, Cätling Mägi, Merike Paberits, Säde Tatar, Juhan Suits.
Romania: Silvestru Lungoci, Mihai Lăcătuşu, Constantin Sofian.
France: Max Brumberg.
Siberia/Russia: Vladiswar Nadishana, Svetlana Kondesyuk, Dmitri ”Dima” Demin.
South-Africa: Pedro Espi-Sanchis.
Chile: Nano Stern.

© Janne Ojajärvi