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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 1:16 am 
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paddler wrote:
This makes me curious about whether short foot flutes (6 key or 4 key or 1 key) with only one foot key have the flat foot syndrome to the same degree as the long foot flutes? The ones I've looked at seem to have fairly aggressive back reaming at the foot which might have been a simple way to try to address foot tuning problems (that together with simply shortening the foot from the end of the flute rather than the socket, and enlarging the Eb hole under the key).

No, generally the short-footed flutes I've experienced don't seem to suffer flat foot. And the aggressive back-reaming seems to be a very early feature and is certainly a way of keeping low D in tune with middle D.

This might be another clue... In the early days of the C foot, many makers and players expressed their displeasure, using expressions like "ruining the flute". Unfortunately, they never seem to go into any details about what they didn't like. It's possible that tuning was one of these, and probably the low D that used to jump out (because of its "perfect" venting) was now muted (due to the taper having to taper downwards, not upwards, and the rather imperfect venting of having its own hole and the one below it overshadowed with normally-open pads.

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I find it interesting that flutes from other countries, for example USA, do not tend to have this flat foot syndrome. Or at least it is nowhere near as common as it is in British flutes. I think this can be explained by the fact that they were targeting a narrower range of pitch standards which was centered slightly higher (say A=442, for example) and the demand for band instruments at higher pitch standards didn't have so much influence on orchestral flute production.


It certainly seems as if development in the US wasn't ruled by what was happening in Britain. Possibly because of input from other European countries like France and Germany? Research into US flute making isn't as far advanced as it should be! (Nudge, nudge....)

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I think that even if there had existed a single pitch standard, the flutes would have still exhibited some tuning anomalies, due to targeting a particular blowing style or temperament to favor playing in certain keys, but that these anomalies would have been much smaller than we observe with flat foot syndrome.


Indeed.

I wonder if there was just too much going on - C feet/D feet, small holes/Improved era/Perfected era, conical/cylindrical, Nicholson/Boehm/Siccama/Clinton, old low pitch/430Hz/high pitch/Society of Arts Pitch, plus fakes, all while you're trying to scratch out a living and trying to foresee what disruption is coming up next!


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 2:09 am 
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Now, while we've all had a good time chatting about our favourite hobbyhorses, I'm aware that wee_celt has fallen silent.

Making any progress there, wee_celt? If not, get back to us and we'll see if we can make any useful suggestions.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 8:37 pm 
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Terry thanks for the link on how to get the dark tone. I found it very useful, I did see an improvement to my tone.
However, I did not clearly explain my issue in the original post. The problem is the overall tuning of the flute is too low even with the slide all the way in. I used the low D note as an example however the same is true with the A, I cannot get the A to be 440 , the best I can get is A =420 even with embouchure effort & the slide all the way in.
My flute (Copley & Boegli Delrin) has the tuning cork at 21 mm (all the way in) from center of embouchure . The cork is further back than I expected, but I cannot reduce the distance since the “cork” is the original Delrin end plug with an O’ring. This may have nothing to do with the problem.
As I mentioned in the original post, this issue is present with my others flutes which suggests the problem is me.
Thoughts ?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 9:15 pm 
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Okay, backing up to your original post:

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I am having problems with flute tuning. I have several Irish style wood & Delrin flutes all are behaving the same way.

What are your other Irish style wood flutes? It may be an embouchure issue, but it would help to know the range of flutes you're dealing with. Also, what are the environmental conditions in your home or session? Hot, cold, dry, wet?


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 05, 2018 10:59 pm 
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wee_celt wrote:
Terry thanks for the link on how to get the dark tone. I found it very useful, I did see an improvement to my tone.
However, I did not clearly explain my issue in the original post. The problem is the overall tuning of the flute is too low even with the slide all the way in. I used the low D note as an example however the same is true with the A, I cannot get the A to be 440 , the best I can get is A =420 even with embouchure effort & the slide all the way in.
My flute (Copley & Boegli Delrin) has the tuning cork at 21 mm (all the way in) from center of embouchure . The cork is further back than I expected, but I cannot reduce the distance since the “cork” is the original Delrin end plug with an O’ring. This may have nothing to do with the problem.
As I mentioned in the original post, this issue is present with my others flutes which suggests the problem is me.
Thoughts ?


Ah, sorry, wee_celt, I clearly misunderstood the question.

It does sound like "it's you", but it's something we makers come across quite often - a player who plays a good deal flatter than most. I have often made flutes sharper than normal for such players, and maybe that's what you'll end up needing to do. But let's see.

I think we can safely forget the stopper for now, as it doesn't have much tuning effect in the bottom octave.

But I am puzzled by your not getting above A 420 with the slide in. My playing flute has a 9mm gap at A 440, and a 25mm gap at A 420. That's a difference of 16mm or 5/8". I find it hard to believe that you would need 16mm more slide to get to 440Hz. Is it possible that something in your measurement technology is fooling you? Can you download another tuner for a phone, or computer and see what it says?

Do you have access to another flute player, preferably a well seasoned one? Local session perhaps?

The usual cause of distinctly flat playing is covering the embouchure hole too much. You could try turning the flute out as far as possible to see what pitch you can achieve.

Come back to us on those questions and let's see where it leads.


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PostPosted: Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:28 am 
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I think the others have pretty much covered it. I can just add that I have a Copley delrin flute, and if anything I would say that it is tuned a little high of A=440 hz with the slide all the way in. I tend to blow a little flatter than average and even I need to extend the slide a few mm to get it playing at A=440 hz. Aside from that, it is very well in tune and easy to play. In my experience Dave is also very consistent in his flute making. So this makes me suspect that the problem you have is most likely either (a) something to do with the tuner you are using to take the measurement, (b) an extremely low temperature in the environment you are in when you are measuring, perhaps also combined with a cold flute, or (c) you are over-covering the embouchure very significantly. Given how low the tuning you describe is, I think (a) is most likely, then (b), and then (c). Of course, it could also be a combination.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 07, 2018 5:22 pm 
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I play a 100 year old wooden Haynes Boehm flute pitched at 435. I have had to work hard to bring the pitch up to 440 , especially on low C - E. I handed the flute to a professional classical fluter and she ran it through 3 scales at 440 without problems. If you develop your embouchure to that level you can adjust as you play to bring any note in tune. She also showed me to push the flute out more with my right hand as a way of raising the pitch. Remember blowing down into the hole to get a deep sound will lower the pitch.


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:52 pm 
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For many years I played an original c1830 Rudall & Rose and then for many more years an original c1860 Koehler & Son (London) Pratten model and neither had Bottom Ds which were flat enough to be a problem. No lipping required, just supporting the note sufficiently.

BTW I used the footjoint keys regularly on both flutes and those notes were in tune as well.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 6:57 pm 
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wee_celt wrote:
The problem is the overall tuning of the flute is too low even with the slide all the way in... this issue is present with my others flutes which suggests the problem is me.


I've seen players who have the headjoint turned in between the 1 o'clock and 2 o'clock position, so they're blowing down into the blowhole rather than across it, which makes the flute play much flatter.

I play with the far edge of the blowhole in line with the fingerholes, a bit turned in compared to Boehm players.

I've only owned one flute which was too flat with the head pushed home, a Ralph Sweet Low C flute. It was very flat, around a quartertone. The cork was in the proper position for the octaves etc. I sent it to have the top of the body chopped and the tenon re-turned which fixed the problem.

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PostPosted: Sat Dec 08, 2018 7:08 pm 
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bogman wrote:
In my opinion, digital tuners are relatively useless for flute and tin whistle players...


They're useful for telling you the pitch of the note you're playing (which is all they're designed to do) but they won't magically make you play in tune, true enough.

They can develop more in-tune playing if you practice with one... though who wants to practice watching a needle?

Since the point is to develop the ear what I used to do was to set a tuner playing a tone, D, and practiced playing up and down the scale making every note in tune with that drone-note. Being a Highland piper before I was a fluteplayer it was a satisfying way to practice.

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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:25 pm 
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MadmanWithaWhistle wrote:
I have an app on my phone called TuneApp that will generate a tone in whatever pitch you want. I typically use the A, E, and D to tune my flute. You can practice staying consistent tuning-wise by leaving the tone on as a sort of drone while you play.

Much, much better than a digital tuner. Those things just can't handle how "messy" woodwind harmonics are.



EDIT: sorry, that's "Band Tools"


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 11, 2018 1:48 pm 
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PanCelticPiper, I did say that they are useful for finding a starting pitch like G or A. In my personal opinion, rather than using tuners and metronomes to practise pitch or timing it's much more useful to play along with recordings of top players. At least that way you're practicing pitch, timing, lift, the tunes themselves and what it it may be like playing with other people... but that's another can of worms entirely!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 15, 2018 10:55 am 
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What I supposed could be called the Gestalt approach, which in the old days was probably how everybody learned.

I find that sometimes beginners are overwhelmed by having everything hit them at once, and that they progress faster by compartmentalising and focusing on one aspect at a time.

The Highland pipes are an example of that. When you learn the uilleann pipes, the Northumbrian pipes, the Bulgarian pipes, and probably just about every species of bagpipe you're learning the blowing of the bag and the fingering of the chanter at once. With bellows pipes you have yet another thing to figure out from the get-go. But Highland pipe teachers at some point felt that the learning of the fingering needed to be separated from the learning of the blowing of the pipes themselves. (In like manner many flute teachers have the beginner learn blowing with just the headjoint.)

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1978 Quinn uilleann pipes
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