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In my quest to learn the flute, there is one problem that I have had a difficult time overcoming; the absence of a side Bb key. Do flute players not see a need for it? If so, what do they use instead, the thumb Bb?
 

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1+1 or thumb.
 

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i play flute and sure having the top bflat key is handy its like just using the left side thumb key- but also if a song requires bflat u just leave ur thumb on the left hand side of the 2, i never use the side bflat becuase i think its pointless imo, i could just use the top bflat and trill with my second finger
 

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Try using the side Bb "trill key" the same way you would the side Bb on sax. It makes more sense to me to use it for Bb rather than 1-1 when I am playing a Gb major scale or a similar thing. I guess using it came from my own stupidity not knowing it was meant for a trill key (if that is what it was meant for). Coming from playing sax and clarinet it seemed like a logical fingering to use.
 

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Coming from clarinet and sax using the 1+1 is 'natural'. Thumb Bb comes in handy, and I've never really felt the need to use the trill key.
I seem to manage ok, but I'm not quite normal....
 

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I really don't see the need for the side Bb fingering as you would on sax. IMO, flute's facility is much more fluid than that of the sax. I do commonly use the Bb "trill" key, especially on piccolo, where the 1-1 fingering causes the picc to play the Bb really flat. I use it a lot during the Debussy Syrinx and Prelude to an afternoon of a faun solos (along with C# trill key for a better sounding C#).
 

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Isn't the Bb trill key a bit far away for regular use? Why move your finger over there when you can simply press it down (1+1 fingering)? I am confused.
 

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Guys, ths Bb lever is the best thing since sliced bread, much better than that clumsy thing on the sax. It is perfectly placed for the bottom of the RH index finger. And who needs a bid with the thumb Bb? What the flute really needs is an alternate F#. The 1867 System flue from Rudall Carte solved the problem, but it never caught on widely.
 

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man that bis Bb key is a GREAT idea. flute players will scoff and say they don't need it but I for one would love to have a flute with bis Bb haha.
You do!!
The thumb Bb does exactly what the bis key does. In most flat keys the thumb Bb is usually kept down to play recurring Bb's
just as the bis key is used on sax.
 

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Guys, ths Bb lever is the best thing since sliced bread, much better than that clumsy thing on the sax. It is perfectly placed for the bottom of the RH index finger. And who needs a bid with the thumb Bb? What the flute really needs is an alternate F#. The 1867 System flue from Rudall Carte solved the problem, but it never caught on widely.
There is Also an alternate F# = The middle finger of the right hand. Like any alternate fingering it must be used in the proper context. It's usually slightly flat and teachers won't tell beginning students or saxophone players in particular about it because they want you to get used to the standard f# fingering which is usually sharp in the 3rd register.
 

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The only reason I put the bis on was to ease playing for sax players. I use the bis so much on sax that I don't want to smack down a fingering on flute that is absent. I think the Fork F# is a great key and I have been trying to figure out a simple set-up for flute. The basic idea is to make F>F# a one key movement whereas the common flute fingerings require 2 key movements. Certainly a fast passage F>F# can be done by fingering the correct F# (D key) and closing the F but that 1+3 will make the F pretty bad.
 

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I've just started learning flute (8 weeks now).
I find myself slipping into the sax fingerings if I don't
think about it.
One of these was a sort of bis key type thing by having my 1st
finger LH, straddle the key next to the small one (the Bb key that
is not usually fingered directly). I try to avoid doing this but now
and then I do it inadvertently and it actually works okay.

On sax I often use LH 1st finger and RH 3rd finger for slurring Bb to
B natural, but of course this does not work on flute. So my Bb's
then come out as B natural.

One problem I found with the thumb Bb is that it messes up the high F#
even if you are not closing it all the way.

I think Jennifer Cluff prefers the trill key for B to Bb because there
are less pads closed and the sound matches the B natural more closely.
I think it comes back to this philosophy of having an open tube below
the note you are playing. In one of her videos she also opens the G#
key when playing Bb.
Because I haven't developed a decent sound yet, I can't really hear
much difference.

This open tube business is why the 3rd finger RH for F# is clearer
than the sax fingering.

Strange I don't hear a lot of difference (yet), whether or not I lift
1st finger LH, when playing Eb. However, if I put ear plugs in
(which I sometimes do), then I can hear a difference.

I really appreciate now what an advance the sax was when Adolphe
invented it. All the finger swapping on flute gets very confusing.
The whole LH thumb drama takes a bit of getting used to. While
doing some exercises, I play the right note (in this case C natural),
but my brain thinks I'm playing a B, and then I mess up what should
have been a C arpeggio.

I've been doing a lot of chromatic things using the Dominant Bebop
scale just to get used to this.
 

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yeah but the thumb is way less dextrous than the index finger which is why the sax bis key is much easier to use IMO
Tell that to a bassoon player. They have very dextrous thumbs.
 
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