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How-To Videos

Tips on Playing Coda

Even though you learn to play Coda more quickly than most other instruments, realize that
your sound will improve dramatically over time, growing richer, fuller, and more beautiful as
you master the nuances of proper technique.
If you don’t yet read music, we want to help! It’s probably easier than you think, and it can
open up a world of musical possibilities. Please see CodaEDC.com/SMC.
Covering the Toneholes
Whenever you need to know which toneholes to cover to play a certain note, consult the
fingering chart.
If a certain note sounds strangely out of tune, it may be because your finger pads are not in
position to completely cover the toneholes. This is to be expected in the beginning and will
quickly improve with practice.
Play Coda with fairly flat fingers rather than highly curved fingers. This allows your finger pads
to lay flat on the surface of Coda so that you can fully cover the paired sets of toneholes.
(Please see video at CodaEDC.com/Tips.)
Also, it is best to play Coda with your elbows at your sides rather than sticking out from your
body.
Two Chambers, One Set of Toneholes
In order to pack a larger tonal range into such a small frame, Coda has two sound chambers.
One chamber sounds an octave higher in pitch than the other.
Blow into the left windway to play the lower chamber notes. Blow into the right windway to
play the upper chamber notes. Switching octaves by sliding your mouth right or left feels odd
in the beginning, but with time it comes to feel quite natural and fluid.
How to Support Coda
With Your Right Little Finger
To play the highest notes on either the upper or
the lower sound chamber, you must lift most or
all of your fingers off of their corresponding
toneholes.
However, when you lift most of your fingers off
of the toneholes, holding Coda begins to feel
awkward and unstable.
How, then, do you support Coda securely on
those high notes? There are many ways to do
this, which may work fine at first. But be aware
that they may limit your virtuosity in the long
run.
Here is what we teach as best practice. As
shown in the drawing on the right, support
Coda by slipping your right little finger onto the
end of Coda when (and only when) you play the
highest notes on either sound chamber.
Moving your right little finger back and forth like
this feels strange at first, but it will become
automatic with practice. This method is
suggested because it allows your other fingers to
hover close to their corresponding toneholes so
that you can play challenging music more
efficiently.
What sets Coda apart is that the TWO chambers are controlled by only ONE paired set of
toneholes, greatly increasing ease-of-play.
This means that you can play a C major scale on either chamber using the same simple linear
fingering pattern. In other words, you cover the same toneholes to play a low C scale as
you do to play a C scale that’s an octave higher.
A Few Words if You’ve Never Played a Wind Instrument Before
Cradle Coda’s mouthpiece gently between your lips (not between your teeth) without
putting too much in your mouth.
On wind instruments, you commonly use a technique called tonguing to start or stop the
airflow with your tongue.
To start a note cleanly or to separate one note from another, whisper the word TOO (instead
of WHO) as you blow into the mouthpiece. For a softer attack, you can whisper DOO.
To start and end a note cleanly, try whispering TOOT.
Eventually, you’ll learn more advanced tonguing techniques, but this will get you started.
Overlapping Notes
Coda is designed so that you can play middle B, C, C /D , and D on either chamber.
These overlapping notes are extraordinarily helpful. In fact, it would be difficult or
impossible to perform many challenging passages up to speed without the aid of these
overlapping notes.
Still, they initially present a challenge of their own because you have to decide which
chamber to play them on.
Be patient. With time and practice, your decisions will become increasingly automatic.
One method for clearing a windway is to blow sharply into the windway entrance. Before
blowing, cover the D-shaped window on the bottom of Coda with your thumb to
avoid making a loud noise.
Another method is to suck briefly and sharply on the windway entrance a few times.
Alternate Fingerings
The following is a link to alternate fingerings for some notes: CodaEDC.com/Tips. These
are optional, so just ignore them until you are very confident playing Coda.
At some point, after mastering the basics, you might find that an alternate fingering
improves the tuning of a particular note or makes a challenging passage easier to play.
How Do I Clean and Care for Coda?
Coda is about as carefree an instrument as you can get, so you don’t have to clean it very
often!
For more information on how to care for your Coda, please go to CodaEDC.com/tips.
At Times, You’ll Need to Clear Condensed Moisture From Windways
Generally speaking, beginners need to clear their windways much more often than experienced
players. Also, condensation can be more of a problem in certain atmospheric conditions.
Try clearing your windway if any notes sound ragged or if upper chamber high notes are not
clear.

______________________

One method for clearing a windway is to blow sharply into the windway entrance. Before
blowing, cover the D-shaped window on the bottom of Coda with your thumb to
avoid making a loud noise.
Another method is to suck briefly and sharply on the windway entrance a few times.
Alternate Fingerings
The following is a link to alternate fingerings for some notes: CodaEDC.com/Tips. These
are optional, so just ignore them until you are very confident playing Coda.
At some point, after mastering the basics, you might find that an alternate fingering
improves the tuning of a particular note or makes a challenging passage easier to play.
How Do I Clean and Care for Coda?
Coda is about as carefree an instrument as you can get, so you don’t have to clean it very
often!
For more information on how to care for your Coda, please go to CodaEDC.com/tips.

 

 

How to Support Coda
With Your Right Little Finger
To play the highest notes on either the upper or
the lower sound chamber, you must lift most or
all of your fingers off of their corresponding
toneholes.
However, when you lift most of your fingers off
of the toneholes, holding Coda begins to feel
awkward and unstable.
How, then, do you support Coda securely on
those high notes? There are many ways to do
this, which may work fine at first. But be aware
that they may limit your virtuosity in the long
run.
Here is what we teach as best practice. As
shown in the drawing on the right, support
Coda by slipping your right little finger onto the
end of Coda when (and only when) you play the
highest notes on either sound chamber.
Moving your right little finger back and forth like
this feels strange at first, but it will become
automatic with practice. This method is
suggested because it allows your other fingers to
hover close to their corresponding toneholes so
that you can play challenging music more
efficiently.

Finger Positioning

Fingering Chart

Explanation of Extra Lower Notes

  • Don’t worry about this at first, but Coda’s design supports an extra low note not mentioned in the fingering chart.
  • To play Low B (Si), place your fingers as if to play low C (Do).  Then, either tip Coda down or move your lower lip down as you blow into the left windway.  Doing so will shade the larger D-shaped window on the bottom of Coda.  With practice and a bit of experimentation, this will cause the pitch to drop a half-step from a C (Do) to a B (Si).
  • Actually, with practice, you can also reach down to low A♯/B♭ (La♯/Si♭) or even low A (La) with this same shading technique.

Alternative Fingering Charts

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