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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:20 am 
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I'm playing an eight-keyed flute and I don't know where
to put my little finger. Putting it on the Eb (which I'm used to
from six keys) puts the interlocking Csharp and especially the C key
out of reach, pretty well.

On the other hand if I roll the foot joint toward me I can rest my pinky
on the interlocked keys, but the Eb key is too close to reach easily.

So if I use the Eb key I have trouble reaching the C keys, and vice versa.
I'm used to venting Eb, which seems to improve the E note and perhaps the Fsharp.
By contrast, pressing the interlocked keys lowers slightly notes I like higher.

How do you folks do it? (This is addressed to those who have figured out such keywork.)
I take it the Boehm was designed to reduce this problem, but orchestral players
on the old eight-keys must have had a solution. Advice/info welcome.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:40 am 
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That's a tough one...

It's my understanding that, just like the Boehm system the simple system and Baroque flutes were designed to have the Eb key vented except on the D.

However if you look at most/many Irish fluters using keyed flutes they've turned the foot joint so far away from them that the keys are totally out of reach. :shock:

I had a Casey Burns 8 keyed blackwood flute and venting the Eb key definitely improved things as you mentioned.

In you case, it sounds like experimenting with the rotational position of the foot joint might help. In a properly designed flute the Eb, C# and C keys should all be (relatively) easy to reach. Boehm made it all easier but it shouldn't be impossible on a simple system flute either.

Maybe your flute's maker, if available, or a good woodwind repairman could modify the touches a bit for you.

You could also try chiropractic on you pinky? :poke:

Piper Joe


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 11:59 am 
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piperjoe wrote:
It's my understanding that, just like the Boehm system the simple system and Baroque flutes were designed to have the Eb key vented except on the D.

Historically, yes on most notes, but modern versions for trad (so-called 'Irish flutes') are typically built to be played unvented. That said, I still normally vent on mine, but not for E.

Quote:
In a properly designed flute the Eb, C# and C keys should all be (relatively) easy to reach.

They can still be awkward with old-style articulated keys, and I didn't get the low C and C# keys on my Copley (which I'd describe as a properly-designed flute) for precisely the reason Jim describes.

Quote:
Boehm made it all easier but it shouldn't be impossible on a simple system flute either.

You can also get simple system flutes with Boehm-style foot keys, which is what I'd have if I needed those notes.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:34 pm 
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Thanks, both of you. Just to say, the flute is a Rudall from the first part of the 19th century, so of course the maker isn't available. It's a superbly made flute, as far as I can tell. I take it the
problem for me is shared by a number of others. I don't need the bottom keys, but I do
want to play them. The idea of a two-octave C scale is very inviting.


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 12:49 pm 
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Well, apparently I was responding to Peter as Jim was typing so my, rather longish, response somehow got lost in the ether.

The short form is that Peter was spot on.

Now that we know who made your flute the possibility of contacting the maker seems out of the question...perhaps a seance? :shock:

Anyway, my serious suggestion would be to post a photo of the offending foot joint and perhaps one of our maker/modifier/repair folks could make a suggestion or two.

I had an eight keyed Casey Burns, one of his very early ones, and while the foot joint wasn't perfect it sure was nice to have those notes when they were called for. To me, not having access to those notes when the keys are there would feel like riding a bike with a triple crankset and removing the inner two chain rings. :swear:

Piper Joe


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 2:49 pm 
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Hey Jim,

Pinky goes on Eb key and Vent it Often! :thumbsup:

Been awhile since I played an 8-key, but the foot-notes are awkward, I never became fluent with them.

But I can recommend "Moon River" as a good exercise for their use! :D Slow song that sounds good on an 8-key.

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 6:32 pm 
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Jim

I'd start by saying you need to hold the flute like they (apparently) did, i.e. the "three point hold" mentioned by numerous late 18th, early 19th century writers. Sometimes (and in my view wrongly) termed the Rockstro Grip. It was going out of favour by Rockstro's time (less necessary with the better ergonomics of the post Boehm flute), although he fought valiantly to retain it. So it certainly wasn't his invention. I haven't been able to ascertain whether it was used by baroque era traverso players. You'll find plenty of references on my site - start at say http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Getting_the ... k_tone.htm and follow the links to others.

The advantage of that sort of hold in this context is that it frees up R4 to the maximum extent.

Then I'd turn the foot joint so you can only just reach and press the low C key touch. Then pressing C# should be easy, and poking Eb, more with the tip of the finger than the pad, not too difficult.

I'd agree that it's not a great layout, which is no doubt why Boehm ditched it. I've had a few goes to revise it too, see http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/c_foot.html

The flutes I find really difficult are the German flutes with an integral RH and foot. Argghhh! Whoever thought that was a good idea?


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 12, 2018 10:01 pm 
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I'm sure Jem will be along to reply, and he has a lot more experience than I do.

My flute is mid-19th Century American, and it seems apparent that it was designed to use Eb venting. I came from whistle and keyless flute rather than classical flute, so it has taken me some re-training to learn how to use the Eb key. My little finger still gets tired, and I'm not super fast. I don't turn the foot out like so many... When you need Eb you need it, and a clean Eb is very satisfying. (Clean G# is also satisfying, but that is another topic.)

In truth I have only a couple tunes that use C, maybe some O'Carolan or Waltzes, not trad. By the time Fiddle players are using their low string, they're more likely to be playing B or A, and I'm folding.

If you want to hit C, I agree that you have to turn the foot in a bit more, let's say "just enough", and that makes the Eb a little harder to press: You're pressing a little out rather than straight down. At first I couldn't hit C at all without losing coverage on my right ring finger.


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 1:36 am 
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One important detail:

19th century flutes were made with the intent of being played with the Eb key on all notes in the first two octaves, except D and E. That's a big difference with Boehm flutes... All methods are very clear about that: no Eb key with E. Also in the third octave, the Eb key is extremely important.

[edit] Well, not all methods actually... I just checked Jem's study of English flutes methods, and they seem to say otherwise... but I play French flutes that are extremely touchy about that: a vented E is way too sharp. (Those flutes also have a major issue with Fs, but that's another story)


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 10:39 am 
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Most English C19th flutes and in fact many modern based-ons need low E vented with the Eb key but middle E not. Generally the Eb key should be depressed most of the time, as for Böhm, but with the proviso already mentioned above that you push it in with R4 in a forward motion rather than with a downwards one. Foot key designs and regulation vary and on some flutes it can be easy enough to move from low C or C# to Eb. Depending on the design of the touches it may be easy or near impossible to go from low C# to C cleanly. It is rare to be able to go smoothly and legato from Eb to low C# or C. How difficult it is depends on the depressed height of the Eb touch relative to the at rest C#/C touches. That may be adjustable. Rule of thumb for regulating them (proper operation of their actual function having been achieved) is that the C# touch depressed should be just slightly higher than the Eb touch at rest, otherwise there is a risk of catching the latter inadvertently and causing a leak which will prevent the target C# or C from sounding. Short of Böhm style foot keys or Terry's innovations or similar, there is simply no way you can cleanly slur from Eb to C# or C. Fortunately, even in classical music, that isn't very often required. When it does crop up, you just have to do the best you can - practice the awkward change and accept there will inevitably be a very slight hiatus (if you stop the air-stream) or a brief intervening D (if you blow through the change).

With reference to baroque traverso, since someone mentioned it up-thread, most models should not in fact have the Eb key constantly held open - it is only to be opened for specific notes, and the use is quite distinct from that on later flutes.

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Last edited by jemtheflute on Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:49 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:02 am 
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jemtheflute wrote:
With reference to baroque traverso, since someone mentioned it up-thread, most models should not in fact have the Eb key constantly held open - it is only to be opened for specific notes, and the use is quite distinct from that on later flutes.

So I thought too before checking the fingering chart supplied for mine (Bernolin Delusse A=415 copy), but mine does require the Eb key for most notes excluding first- and second-octave D, E, F, G#, a few alternatives (first-octave forked F#, second Bb, C and third D) and the top few notes of its range. There are a few more alternatives I haven't checked for other Bernolin models because I redrew his general chart extracting the ones specifically applying to mine.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:47 am 
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This is straying from Jim's core point, of course, but Peter, check this out: https://app.box.com/s/fx6i0p69engi4rjes53fszct9do5a994
Quantz is, of course, already in my fingering chart resources.

This link (http://www.cowderoy.net/neuhaus/chart.html) takes you to a survey of alternative fingerings compiled from the main historical sources. They are rather varied in their use of the key! In the end, I think that, as so often, you have to familiarise yourself and experiment with the possibilities and then make first choices for the instrument in hand.....

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 11:58 am 
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This is pertinent. Deals directly with Jim's issue, at least partially, towards the end.
https://youtu.be/cQYyu42DxfY

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 13, 2018 12:17 pm 
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jemtheflute wrote:
They are rather varied in their use of the key! In the end, I think that, as so often, you have to familiarise yourself and experiment with the possibilities and then make first choices for the instrument in hand.....

Yep, thanks... I have actually experimented with some generic/historical charts and am happy to use viable alternatives not given by my maker. The point I was making (and perhaps I inadvertently over-made it by saying 'mine does require') was merely that the chart he supplies shows mainly Eb-depressed fingerings.

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PostPosted: Sun Apr 15, 2018 2:19 pm 
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Here's another video of mine to do with foot key use, set-up etc. It was made for the new owner of a Rudall Carte 8-keyer I sold after restoration a couple of years ago.
https://youtu.be/JuOmrAVzhDg

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