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PostPosted: Mon Feb 17, 2020 9:55 pm 
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A recent post suggested that "Boehm flutes are equal tempered. Simple system flutes are not." Maybe that's true for antique flutes, but modern designs from contemporary makers can get pretty close to decent 12TET intonation.

As a demonstration, I thought it might be fun to compare my Thomas Aebi R&R large hole flute to a "modern mandolin" playing the same tune. In this case, the Foxhunter's Jig played through twice on both instruments. Here's the results:

http://ptjams.com/mb/img/flutes/Foxhunt ... RTTA-1.png

I ran both through the Android RTTA app "TTtuner" for analysis, removing the notes that aren't in the tune due to glitches or harmonics. The samples per note don't match exactly between flute and mandolin, either because I'm playing the tune slightly differently or the app is misreading notes here and there. The sample numbers are pretty close on most notes.

I'm not a very good flute player, so maybe someone else could blow this flute into closer 12TET intonation than I can. There may also be better-intonated flutes out there, this is just one sample. It shows the usual very flat low F# with these designs, but I'm happy with the low D being not too flat. I'm not sure why the high A is that sharp, but I do tend to set the tuning slide more on the G notes low and high than on the A, which on this particular flute gets me closer to 12TET across the range.

So, not perfect 12TET for sure! But not terribly far off. Good enough for the local sessions where everyone on a stringed instrument is using a digital tuner these days.


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PostPosted: Tue Feb 18, 2020 7:03 am 
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Conical bore wrote:
A recent post suggested that "Boehm flutes are equal tempered. Simple system flutes are not."


I think anybody who made a statement like that hasn't played enough flutes from different makers and time-periods.

Simple system flutes were built to play orchestral music in equal temperament. Read Rockstro on that.

One of the best-tuned flutes I ever tried was made by Charles-Joseph Sax (Adolphe Sax's father). Every note, open and keyed, was bang-on to ET up the first two octaves. (I'm not much of a 3rd octave guy.) The owner loaned the flute to me for a week so I got quite a bit of playing time on it, an exceptional flute in every way. (The keys looked like sea-shells.)

And with more recent flutes, I played a Dave Williams 5-key flute back in the 1980s that was similarly perfect in its tuning.

For sure there are modern makers creating flutes specifically for ITM that are doing JI flutes, perhaps to match the tuning of the Uilleann pipes. Then again, my Uilleann chanter plays in perfect ET.

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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:16 am 
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Interesting - but if I am reading the numbers correctly this proves the opposite of what you suggest. The Thomas Aebi R&R is pretty true to the idiosyncrasies of the original R&R tunings and the flat D and F# are typical of that style of instrument.

See this note on Geert Lejeune's website regarding R&R "authentic" tuning - yours is pretty much bang on characteristic: http://www.geertlejeune.com/flutes/tuning

Electronic tuners employ concert tuning 12TET like you might expect on a piano. The 19C conical bore wooden flutes don't match the electronic tuner and the player is expected to blow/lip the flute into tune.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:27 am 
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And, if such things are of interest to you, Terry McGee's website is always a good place to look.

http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Tuning.html
http://www.mcgee-flutes.com/Historical% ... dromes.htm

I don't necessarily believe that 12TET is the holy grail for simple system wooden flutes or necessarily something that should be sought after. There were 2 centuries of development before we arrived at the 19thC "golden era" wooden flutes. And certainly 50+ years now of revival period re-imagining especially with keyless instruments which never were required or expected to play outside the D/G/A key family. Lots of makers have elected to tweak the tuning but none have made a marketing angle of achieving perfect 12TET tuning. The improvements and innovations have been subtle rather than revolutionary.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 3:54 pm 
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Richard, when you say just intonation, what note or key signature is the flute trying to match.

A just intonation D-Flute playing in D, might sound good, but then the key of A is messed up.


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PostPosted: Wed Feb 19, 2020 4:07 pm 
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pancelticpiper wrote:
(The keys looked like sea-shells.)

Anything like this one? Same maker:

Image

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