Harmonic Overtones Flutes

Harmonic overtones flutes are made as sideblown whistles (not a flute mouth hole) in keys low G, Ab, A, Bb and B using 18mm bore aluminium tubing. The mouth hole is on the opposite side of the window. The side position for the mouth makes it possible to stretch to the end of longer tubes, than you would be able if it was a normal whistle mouth piece. Available as plain overtones flute or walking stick overtones flute.

harmonic overtones flute 135 GBP
plain overtones flute using 18mm bore aluminium tubing.
walking stick harmonic overtones flute 170 GBP
flute with additional walnut hand knob and rubber walking stick foot ferrule.

An overtones flute is designed to play the upper harmonics of the base note. One series of harmonics is achieved by overblowing with the end of the tube open and another is achieved with the end closed. My overtones flutes have an additional finger hole a semi tone up from the base note, thereby another (a semi tone higher) series of harmonics can be played. Combining all these notes one can play in a mode close to the Middle Eastern scale of Hijaz (Phrygian Dominant), as well as in two "normal" overtones scale modes.(scale example)

Listen to low G improvisation
Listen to low Ab improvisation
Listen to low A improvisation on low Ab
Listen to low B improvisation

The walking stick overtone flute has a walnut hand knob and a rubber foot ferrule. The foot can be removed to convert the overtone flute into one with an extra semi-tone finger hole. Length can be made to measure.

head with walnut knob (ca. 45mm)

foot with rubber ferrule on Delrin rod insert


keylengthstandard length as walking stick
low G89cm / 35"99cm / 39"
low Ab84cm / 33"94cm / 37"
low A79cm / 31"89cm / 35"
low Bb75cm / 29.5"85cm / 33.5"
low B71cm / 28"81cm / 32"

I can customise the length of the walking stick. Using a longer tube and a longer whistle head the standard length can be increased.

As a general rule a comfortable stick length is about half of the person's height plus 13mm / half an inch. But it is better to check the length of a walking stick you use and are comfortable with. Alternatively you could measure the height from floor to your wrist bone, with the arm dangling at your side, and wearing your normal walking shoes.

See also Walking-Stick-Whistles, available in low G and low F.

Scale example for an overtones flute in G:

harmonics:                   1     2    3    4   5   6   7   8   9   10  11  12
open finger hole series:      G#,,, G#,, D#,  G#, C   D#  F#  G#  A#  C'  D'  D#'
closed finger hole series:   G,,,  G,,  D,   G,  B,  D   F   G   A   B   C#' D'
all holes closed series:    G,,,, D,,  B,,  F,  A,  C# 

Move up the scale in a zigzag fashion, all holes closed, end open, end and finger hole open, for all harmonics. The first harmonics is rather difficult to play and results in a very quiet soft sound.

See also Harmonic Series (wikipedia)

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