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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 12:37 pm 
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I have a flute key related dilemma. Well, several really.

Due to an injury some years back, and related ongoing issues, I had to change the way I hold the flute. I now use what is essentially the piper’s grip - left hand on the side of the flute, more or less opposite my chin. Not super uncommon. I also rotate the left hand section away from the embouchure and right hand sections, in order to keep from having to hold my left elbow way up in the air.

Problems:

1. Obviously I have no thumb access to the standard Bb key.
2. With a standard key lever placement rotating the left and right hand sections significantly out of line the way I need to have them causes issues with keys not being where I can reach them or interfering with one another.


I’m going to need custom keywork, including an alternate Bb key. There’s the usual option of a RH Bb that runs more or less parallel to the Cnat key, but Maurice Reviol does a LH clarinet style Bb lever which is interesting. Photos can be seen here : viewtopic.php?f=36&t=110703

Question, anyone have experience with this sort of set-up that they can share? Pro’s and cons to the RH set-up vs. the LH set-up? I can imagine it’s sort of like the Long F/Short F situation where it depends on what note one is transition to/from, but perhaps there are other considerations I am not thinking of?

I should mention that while I’d expect to play mostly ITM on a keyed flute, I do have other musical interests outside trad, so facility beyond the usual ITM keys and modes is a consideration for me.

With regards to my second problem, I’d be interested in the key mounting and touch locations of those who significantly rotate the LH section away from the RH section - for me this would be having the LH section nearly at the 10 o’clock position relative to the RH section being at 12 o’clock.

Any experiences you can share regarding either of these issues would be greatly appreciated, thanks!


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 1:17 pm 
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While I can't comment on the precise set-up you're considering, perhaps my experiences with planning and using truly custom keywork through necessity may still be useful here? In which case, I'd simply encourage you to try whatever you think you need with confidence. It's not about pros and cons, but bespoke solutions where regular ones simply don't work (so all likely pros), and I think we both have the experience to make these calls. As you probably know, my keyed flute departs significantly from any standard layout with one-piece body incorporating holes out of line in both directions and unique entirely right-hand keywork thoughtfully shoehorned into place (thanks, Dave Copley!) between these. And it's perfect... for me! If standard layouts are similarly useless to you, so yours can be perfect for you, and like you I want keys for more than just trad repertoire.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:42 pm 
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Loren wrote:
Pro’s and cons to the RH set-up vs. the LH set-up?

How about a double touch? Piper's grip player, here. I didn't even know double-touch Bb key setups existed until I'd already gotten my last flute, and boy, did I regret not getting one, because my right thumb could have activated it with ease (the right touch is usually longer). Sure, I got around the problem with crossfingering, but the result wasn't joyful to the ear for a picky git such as yours truly.

I only recommend the double touch Bb for purposes of considering other players after you: resale, inheritance, swapping at a session, etc. Whatever one's grip, everyone wins. :)

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 2:55 pm 
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Maybe only useful as a temporal solution (until a new keywork) but -- would cross-fingering work? It does work on some flutes (if the holes are not too large), like this: xox xxx. It does work on my David Angus flute for example, which has very small holes. Would probably not work on a pratten style flute but worth a try. I play anything -- even classical music -- on a keyless flute but I designed it to fit my hands and with a very large E-hole to facilitate half-holing the Eb. Works for me but probably not everyone's cup of tea. I'm still considering getting a baroque flute for all the classical stuff but I fear the Eb-key might interfere with my usual pinky-position on the flute.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:08 pm 
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Sedi wrote:
Maybe only useful as a temporal solution (until a new keywork) but -- would cross-fingering work? It does work on some flutes (if the holes are not too large), like this: xox xxx.


That doesn't come close to working for my flute...

How about half-holing? If you are using piper's grip, then shading the B-hole with the second finger might be pretty easy.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 3:56 pm 
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I feared that cross-fingering would only work with rather small holes. The holes on my David Angus flute are almost as small as on a baroque flute, therefore almost all those cross-fingerings work pretty well.


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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:10 pm 
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Hi Loren,

I'm happy share my own experience since I was the owner of the flute you mentioned, and my first instrument was the clarinet, which I played for about 10 years (a long time ago...).

Overall, I find that it works better on the clarinet than it does on the flute. I think the main reason is because the angle of the left hand is not the same: fingers are really perpendicular to the instrument on the clarinet, whereas the angle is sharper on the flute while the key itself is still more or less perpendicular to the body of the flute. As a result, I felt the action of the key wasn't as agile.

In addition, for ITM this key can sometimes get in the way of cuts and taps: this wasn't really a problem for because at the time I didn't play much ITM (mostly classical and baroque music), but it's something to consider.

Finally, it has more or less the same limitations as the short Fnat, as you pointed out, and personally I wouldn't want to rely solely on this key for Bb. (On the clarinet, it's mostly used for fast chromatic passages as there are several other, more convenient fingerings for Bb.)

I sold this flute to another member of this board last year. If he reads this post he might want to share his own experience with the flute.

Edit: Besides that, I found Maurice's keywork excellent, the best I've tried so far on a flute. He's also a super nice guy and I'm sure he'd be happy to discuss how to address your needs.

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PostPosted: Wed Mar 03, 2021 4:53 pm 
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My idea may seem sort of wonky depending on where you live. I live near Chicago which has a rich landscape of experienced woodwind repairers. When I had a similar problem with the too short Cnat on a M&E keyed flute I went to one of those guys, showed him my issue and he soldered an actual clarinet key to the too short and too bent for me Cnat. It looks a little different if you are looking close but never bothered me.

Now you may not want to go that route if you have a lovely historical flute. And it certainly depends on access to an expert in woodwind repair. My guy had been in the business for 35+ years and had done all sorts for work for instruments from kids band level to pro.

Years before I had to have something done on a Rudall Rose and brought it in. The whole shop was quite excited. They had never seen one in person before. We forget how unusual we and our instruments are sometimes.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 05, 2021 8:18 pm 
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Thanks for the replies folks, much appreciated. I’ll reply at length when I have a bit more time.


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