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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Odd question! I am an active sax player since age 13, and did a little doubling on flute in high school. Now in my 40's, I am trying to pick up fife for a period fife & drum corps ensemble.

This is hard! It's not the open holes, or even the different fingering system, but the embouchure. It seems more difficult than flute, in part, because there is no lip plate on the instrument. Any suggestions? I may need to invest in a teacher again, at least to get me going.

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Fife is more like piccolo, a small well controlled airstream and don't push as hard as you think. Like piccolo, you can easily overblow it. C flute can take a lot harder blowing than piccolo without breaking up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·

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playing on any flute without a lipplate (or something that does this) is very difficutl, some people never get the hang of it.

The “ smile” playing position certainly doesn’t work (for me) , I had some better results with the upper lip out .

Same problems are for a number of folk flutes (Bansuri, Dizi)
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
playing on any flute without a lipplate (or something that does this) is very difficutl, some people never get the hang of it.

The “ smile” playing position certainly doesn’t work (for me) , I had some better results with the upper lip out .

Same problems are for a number of folk flutes (Bansuri, Dizi)
Milandro, I assume you can't add a lip plate to an instrument that originally did not have one? It seems there is a riser or something that connects the plate to the horn to effectively create the sound.
 

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The “ smile” playing position certainly doesn’t work (for me) , I had some better results with the upper lip out .
This (the "smile" embouchure) is poor technique on flute anyway. It's pretty limiting even on a modern concert flute with a lip plate.
 

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The solution is simple. Yamaha and other companies make fifes with lip plates.
 

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If it helps, I've seen many drum and fife reenactors at the forts up here in Michigan.
The majority use period correct instruments.
Some of the fife players had applied leather 'lip plates'. I asked one player about this.
He said that it helped with instrument placement, comfort, and sweat absorption. They perspire a lot wearing wool uniforms during hot/humid Michigan summers.
 
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I am now able to get to middle D without using the fipple/mouthpiece. I really like this simple instrument.
well done, I was watching the news and saw the Irish Orange marchers (no political remark here, I am not anywhere near their vision of the world!) and was thinking of this thread, they had a very positive lip out on fife embouchure and their sound was very robust
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
If it helps, I've seen many drum and fife reenactors at the forts up here in Michigan.
The majority use period correct instruments.
Some of the fife players had applied leather 'lip plates'. I asked one player about this.
He said that it helped with instrument placement, comfort, and sweat absorption. They perspire a lot wearing wool uniforms during hot/humid Michigan summers.
The fife world is very interesting, but I am in North Carolina and we have just a few groups across the state (the closest one to me has waning participation since COVID but I hope to join them). In the Northeast US and some upper Midwest, there a lot more ensembles. Most of them are community fife & drum groups. I wish there was a forum like SOTW for fife in the US, but the closest thing to that is a FB page. I am still learning this little beast!
 
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