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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 4:52 am 
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Joined: Tue Feb 21, 2012 1:36 pm
Posts: 31
I noticed, that many flute makers do not offer flutes with 8 keys, even if they used to at one point. Also, it is pretty pricy to get c/c# keys, if a makers offers them. That makes me think, it is a really challenging task, to make/add this keys. But on the other hand, you rarely see antique flutes, without the lower keys (even if they are not the most quality ones). Isn't that strange?
Why do such few flute maker offer instrument with up to 8 keys, while it was standard, a 100 years ago?
Also, do the simply system styled lower keys offer and advantage to the Boehm system c-foots (at least for playing in a trady style), or are they more often chosen because for esthetical reasons?

And of course, I wish you all a merry Christmas :)


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PostPosted: Tue Dec 25, 2018 6:06 am 
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Joined: Sun Dec 12, 2004 4:12 pm
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Location: Malua Bay, on the NSW Nature Coast
And a Merry Christmas to you and all, ertwert. It's all over here but the burping (11pm).

A quick answer includes the following:

- the other 6 keys are all normally closed. As long as the key seats are well cut and the pads reasonably well seated, air tightness is guaranteed. Every day they are closed, they are learning to be closed better. By comparison, the two low keys are normally open, and are only closed by finger pressure on their key touches. Convincing one normally open key to close and be airtight all round is quite an ask. Convincing two is a lot harder. Convincing them to do it at the same time is really pushing your luck!

- the other 6 keys are simple one-piece levers. Not much to go wrong. But the two lower keys are both two piece, articulated mechanisms. Any slack simply compounds the problems raised above.

- the bottom D note is pretty important to us, the low C and C# less so. When there are no lower keys, the bottom D vents really well, whether it has a short D or long D (with two empty holes) format. But hang looming pads or plugs over those two lower holes and the quality of the venting goes down. Who wants to put a lot of effort into something they expect will weaken their flutes?

- and yes, aesthetics plays a role. We (mostly) seem to love our block-mounted style. And it's fine for the top 6 keys. But it certainly gets harder for those two more demanding normally-open, articulated and needing-to-be-carefully-synchronised pairs. When Boehm invented his system that relies on normally-open keys, he also came up with new mechanisms to allow them to move with greater precision, and new pads with screws and shims to allow them to be seated with the necessary precision. Our simpler systems cannot compare with his precision. Even if the maker gets it right when it leaves the shop, movement in wood and pads may make that difficult to maintain.

Apart from those few points.....

OK, bed time, this end. Tomorrow is Wren Day....


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