"Jerrold E. Pritchard" <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
>In the interim, I have been trying out some no-keyed flutes of various
>makers. One I am vacillating on has a great response, tone, and pitch
>most notes but has a much weaker, les focused E and an all but hopeless
>cross-fingered F natural. It appears that, in order to strenghen and
>the F# and get a strong low D, the E has been compromised.
>Is this typical of most simple wooden Irish flutes without keys, which
>sometimes designed to play strongly only in the key of D?
The E hole is smaller than the rest on most flutes, but sometimes it's a
bit too small. There are two general rules of thumb in laying out the
fingerholes on a wind instrument: 1) the bigger the hole, the louder
and fuller the sound; 2) a small hole that closer to the embouchure will
give the same pitch as a larger hole further down the tube. So the
location and size of the E hole is a compromise between making the note
as loud as the D and F#, or making it so that you can actually reach the
hole. The conical bore helps with this a bit, I think. You may have
noticed that instruments with large cylindrical bores either have
noticably smaller E holes or a lot of space between the E and F# holes.
But even so, E can be a badly veiled note on some large-holed cone-bored
flutes. It doesn't seem to be a problem on smaller instruments like
baroque flutes. My advice would be to work on hitting the note hard and
precisely. You embouchure has to be pretty near perfect to get the full
potential out of the note. Also, I'd agree that flutemakers' waiting
lists don't get any shorter until you're actualy on them -- it sounds
like you're going to need another flute.
As to the F natural, yes, cross-fingering just won't work on the
big-holed flutes -- you're going to be better off halfholing. It's not
that much more difficult than using the short F key, once you get the
hang of it.
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