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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 11:44 am 
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Just wondering what is everyone's opinion concerning weight and balance of a flute...
It seems to me that the best balance point might be at the left thumb location (under C#) or just south of the head. Or is it commonly preferred to be foot-heavy to keep pressure against the lips?
I have several flutes and the balance is different on each. A keyless flute with the screw-adjustable head cork would be head-heavy unless it has an extended foot...
So should keyless flutes have a lightweight head cork solution?
Tuning slides and lined heads really add weight to the top end...so should it be compensated for additional mass on the south end to achieve balance? I see a lot of flutes on the market with a slide, but keyless and no extended foot... this would seem uncomfortable to play.
Has anyone weighed one of these head-cork-screw mechanisms? What is considered acceptable and when is the added weight not worth the convivence of adjustability?
Can a head be too heavy (with mechanism, fully lined, slide) ...or as long as balance is achieved, the weight isnt as important?


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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 1:25 pm 
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I think you would find a suitable balance point on each individual flute.

I tend to hold my Boehm, (with all the keys), & my delrin keyless, pretty much the same way.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 7:21 pm 
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Limited experience here with different flutes, so grain of salt and all that. I compared the balance points of my two flutes today. One is a keyless Windward D in blackwood. The other is an 8-keyed Aebi in cocus, a very close Rudall copy with a fully lined head. Both had the tuning slide pulled out where I normally play for a near-as-dammit A440.

The balance point on the Windward D is just a hair past the B tone hole towards the headjoint. The balance point of the Aebi is about a half inch past the A tone hole towards the headjoint.

Both those balance points are well past my LH thumb location, with the Aebi being a little heavier on the lower side. I would assume a keyed version of the Windward would also be a little more unbalanced. The full lined headjoint of the Aebi probably helps keep it from being worse, although I'm not sure how significant a factor that is.

Anyway, I think that in practice, it doesn't matter that much. I adapted to each flute as I got them, and neither one feels unbalanced when I play them. I can remove my right hand and the flute doesn't fall. What's holding it up is the curve under my lip, and the pressure doesn't feel different with either flute.

I know there is a tendency to aim for mechanical efficiency with musical instrument design. But there are always compromises, and the 19th Century makers were working at balancing the same factors. If the heavier flute I'm playing -- basically a close copy of a Rudall design from maybe the 1840's (with better intonation) -- was difficult to balance and play, they wouldn't have sold so many of them.
:)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 4:26 pm 
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I hate head-heavy flutes! (I'm not keen on heavy flutes either!)

I note on my playing flute (my Rudall Perfected model 6-key), the balance point is just south of the 1st hole, indeed about halfway between the 1st hole and the pad of the c key.

The test for me is to hold the flute in the left hand, supported on the right thumb, then remove that thumb. (Keep the right hand ready to stop it falling!) If it falls head first, it's head heavy. If it falls foot first, that's OK. Your right thumb will prevent that.

The flute I mentioned above drops distinctly foot first. (And weighs 348 gms all up, 12.28 oz)

In my view, your left thumb shouldn't need to stop the flute from falling, upwards or downwards. If you ever want to play Bb on a keyed flute, you're going to need that thumb free. And using your left thumb to control the flute is also hard on that hand.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2018 6:22 pm 
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I have a number of keyed flutes and one keyless. They vary greatly in weight and balance points. I find I adjust to the flute after a couple of days of playing. My least favorite flute was an excellent flute with a heavy head joint. I played it for years like that, but eventually swapped out a lighter headjoint from one of my other flutes, then found someone willing to make me an unlined one for daily play. I particularly like unlined headjoints. But not every maker likes to make them. The flutes I play the most are 8 keys so they are going to have some heft to them. I don't think being foot heavy for pressure against the lips is actually a design feature. There are so many details that go into making a good sounding flute.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 7:48 am 
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Thanks for all the feedback. I have three keyless flutes and all are head-heavy.. and two of them are not lined and have no slide. I guess without the additional weight of key work and/or a long foot, the keyless is at a disadvantage in that regard. I can hold and play them without issue, but I can’t remove my right hand without the embrochure hole wanting to fall away.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 11:15 am 
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Lsu wrote:
Thanks for all the feedback. I have three keyless flutes and all are head-heavy.. and two of them are not lined and have no slide. I guess without the additional weight of key work and/or a long foot, the keyless is at a disadvantage in that regard. I can hold and play them without issue, but I can’t remove my right hand without the embrochure hole wanting to fall away.

That may be due to a difference in the shape of our individual mouths, with some having a deeper "indent" under the lower lip than others? I know the only thing keeping the embouchure hole from falling away when I remove my right hand, is that curve under my lip where the flute rests.

I also have a beard, so maybe the "soul patch" under my lip is providing some cushioning and friction. I seem to remember some older threads here on C&F about the utility of beards for flute players. :D


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2018 6:23 pm 
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I don't find the balance point of the tube of any great significance to flute support. If you have good 3 point support then the L thumb isn't part of the support system anyway. See my Flute Hold document via the Resources link in my signature and also my Flute Support videos on YouTube:

https://youtu.be/lssGAtVBS_8

https://youtu.be/SzzXNTXUzJ8

https://youtu.be/GruFY6ULlpc

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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:23 am 
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thanks Jem. Your videos made me realize I've been using too much thumb (as Terry was alluding to). Not that the flute would sit on the pad of my left thumb, but i was squeezing the flute between the thumb and side of index finger (like really fat chop stick). I will remedy that.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 9:39 pm 
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Well I’ve worked on it a lot and just about to call it impossible for me. The flute sits correctly at the bottom of the left index finger but I have to give at least a little support with the side of the left thumb while playing. I don’t need the thumb if not playing but as soon as my fingers start moving, the flute rolls towards me and falls to the bottom of my chin. It’s even worse on my Derlin flute which has a slick finish. I’ve noticed that my right hand anchor alternates between the right thumb and right pinky, depending on what notes are being played. I cannot anchor with just the right thumb alone.


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PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2018 11:26 pm 
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OK, Lsu, try this.

Turn the head back towards you, or more accurately, turn the body of the flute away from you (i.e. keep the embouchure hole where you like it in relationship to your lip, but have the holes of the flute further round towards the audience. That puts your right thumb further up on your side of the flute, pushing outwards rather than upwards.)

If it still rolls toward you when you play ooo ooo, turn the body further out. The Black Rogue is a good tune to try it on.

d|cAA ~BAB|cAA A...

You might be surprised at how far you need to offset the holes from the embouchure hole. Keep going until the flute stops rolling towards you when you play ooo ooo. Fine tune that level of offset. For me it's about 60º - one third of the way around from front to back of flute!

If it's a flute with separate Left and Right hand sections, you can now fiddle with the right hand to see if you can make it any more comfortable. I haven't come to a conclusion about that, though I sometimes turn the RH back a bit to lower my right arm a little. Too far of course and your thumb is not pushing outward any more. My left arm is down at my chest.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 3:35 am 
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There's no actual harm in the L thumb touching the tube as long as you don't start to pinch the tube between that thumb and one or more of the L fingers. But you *should* be able to sort things out to get even a very heavy flute "floating" stably between the three (light!) pressure points, and without necessarily adopting as extreme twisting round of the joints as Terry suggests - nowt wrong with his suggestions and do try 'em, but most folk don't need to go that far. It's much easier to sort this kind of thing out for the individual with in-the-flesh assessment/instruction.

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Low Bb flute: Xmas Eve & The Providence (audio)
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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 5:37 am 
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I think, theoretically, I agree. There should be no need for "extreme" twisting (whatever that is).

But I find I need an extreme setting (whatever that is) of the embouchure/fingerholes offset. Anything less for me means the flute spirals out of control. The right setting means the flute sits there, as meek as can be, allowing my fingers to dance over the holes, and my left thumb and right hand little finger to wave in the breeze unless called upon. No stress, no pain, no tightness, total flexibility.

My feeling is you need to find out what works for you, and don't be surprised or worried if it goes beyond what's regarded as normal. It's been two hundred years since these flutes were normal, and people back then had few places to lodge their personal findings. We're on a whole new adventure, finding out how to drive these beasts. Go wild!


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 7:50 am 
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Just weighted three flutes I have:
R&R patent head, cocuswood, eight silver keys, silver rings, flute = 1054 grams
RC&Co. standard lined head, cocuswood, eight nickel silver keys, nickel silver rings flute = 890 grams
Olwell, standard silver lined head, blackwood, keyless flute = 752 grams

I have no problem with the weight of these flutes even though there is a difference of 302 grams between the R&R patent head flute and the Olwell keyless.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2018 9:22 am 
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Rolling the head joint in does indeed help, but even at an extreme angle, it feels like if could slip out at any moment (and does eventually). Maybe I just need more practice with it.
I did also note that with my original "grip",my left thumb is free up to about note G... above that is when I need that little bit of extra support (when the right hand holes are open and only have right thumb on that hand in contact with the flute.)

Also, thanks for the info Steampacket.


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