JENNIFER CLUFF

This is a great answer to the question of locking pinkies.  We were interested in this and how players with double-jointed fingers can play comfortably.

TERRIE SANCHEZ

Fix your right hand pinkie position on the flute by Terri Sánchez.  Click for a youtube video.

FLUTE THUMBPORT

This is the thumbport we are trying in the studio.  I am curious to see if it helps balancing issues and supports double-jointed fingers.

The Thumbport allows greater balance in holding the flute. It is comprised of a C-shaped shell and a thumb-like extension. The Thumbport helps the player to place the right thumb at an efficient spot and provides additional support.

Analysis

Mechanically, there are three factors associated with balancing a flute:
1. the mass (weight) of the flute,
2. horizontal rotation,
3. axial rotation.
The gravity center of a flute is located slightly to the right of the left index finger (see letter G in Illustration 1 below). When the knuckle of the left index finger takes up most of the weight of a flute at number 2, the small remaining weight is often assumed by the right thumb.
When playing a flute, the player pushes the embouchure plate against the chin (Ill. 1, number 1). With the left index finger both supporting and pushing, the flute might rotate clockwise without a counter force from the right hand.


Additionally, the uneven weight of the flute mechanism contributes to another rolling tendency. This can be seen in Ill. 2. The flute rolls backwards toward the player.


 


Because nine of our fingers are used to operate keys on a flute, only one, the right thumb, is left to decisively balance it. Many flutists knowingly or unknowingly use their right little finger to help. In doing so, it reduces the agility of not only the little finger but also the other right hand fingers.
 

Thumbport Solution
The Thumbport guides one's right thumb to support the flute at an angle (see A in Ill. 3). The force (A) created by this angle can be seen as the sum of two partial vectors: one supports the flute from below and the other counters the horizontal rotation. The extension arm rests on the thumb gently (see B), which easily prevents the flute from rolling backwards.

FLUTE TECHNIQUE AND THE AWKWARD RIGHT THUMB

APRIL 8, 2016 CAROLYN KEYES

As anyone who has ever taught beginning flutists knows, the flute is an awkward instrument to hold. Posture and hand position issues often linger well past the first few years of instruction, and perhaps none are as ubiquitous as the protruding right hand thumb. A protruding right thumb causes shortened tendons in the right hand, which can both restrict a player’s flute technique, and result in future hand problems..

 

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