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 Post subject: embouchure hole shape
PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:24 am 
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I was looking at F flutes for my next purchase and a couple of sites offer a choice of embouchure hole cuts--elliptical, round, squared ellipse. I have been playing for about a year. I currently play a folk flute by Casey Burns and love it. He describes his embouchure cut as "ovoid." I've also read reviews of some makers who are described as making excellent embouchures.

So, what are the differences, besides the appearance, between the different embouchure shapes and sizes? And what should I consider when shopping for a flute, especially since I am not able to try them out in person?

There certainly are more things in flute playing, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Thanks, as always, for your instruction and advice.

JR


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 8:57 am 
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All of my flutes are ovoid in shape, & I think this makes them easier to play.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:00 am 
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This will get you started:

http://hammy-flutemaker.blogspot.com/20 ... chure.html

http://hammy-flutemaker.blogspot.com/20 ... chure.html

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:23 am 
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Hammy's articles are interesting. One thing I got from them is that a wide variety of embouchure holes work fine. But, that a great embouchure cut is a thing of art and experience.

I have finally (5 years) reached the point where I feel can get a good tone from my flutes, including several different styles/embouchures. All of them are more or less "easy" to play now, but for the longest time I had difficulty, or inconsistent success. Specifically, my antique American flute (Firth family of flutes) required more "focus" that I was able to achieve, while my modern Gallagher was more generous and easy.

Achieving focus, playing third register notes, and exercising fine motor control eventually resulted in success. I think the final benefit came from working on several different flutes.

I believe that playing on the more difficult flute actually was a benefit.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 9:55 am 
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I'm far from an embouchure expert, but I can say that my bad $30 bamboo flute I got a while back, and I've never been able to play second octave on it. Vs My Dixon 1 piece that I can, and my David Angus flute that plays the best of the 3. All embouchure holes look "similar" at first glance (they are all more circular, the dixon a bit longer). But theres obviously more going on that I can see. So yes, a good embouchure cut is definitely an artform I cant quite comprehend.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:34 am 
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Someone had a Folk Flute and let me try it recently. I couldn't get a sound out of it. I like a good square embouchire. I suspect others found this to be the case and this is why he stopped making them. These aren't worth $450, especially without a tuning slide and cork on the jonts. The headjoint did have a big crack in it beause someone sat on the flute recently.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 10:53 am 
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Charles Montgomery wrote:
Someone had a Folk Flute and let me try it recently. I couldn't get a sound out of it. I like a good square embouchire. I suspect others found this to be the case and this is why he stopped making them. These aren't worth $450, especially without a tuning slide and cork on the jonts.

So many assumptions there!

Quote:
The headjoint did have a big crack in it beause someone sat on the flute recently.

So I'm going to make another; the crack was probably the problem if it wasn't your technique.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 11:33 am 
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Charles Montgomery wrote:
Someone had a Folk Flute and let me try it recently. I couldn't get a sound out of it. I like a good square embouchire. I suspect others found this to be the case and this is why he stopped making them. These aren't worth $450, especially without a tuning slide and cork on the jonts. The headjoint did have a big crack in it beause someone sat on the flute recently.

I'm sorry, this is just a laughable review. OK, the board's CCCP does allow an individual to relate their personal experience, but the rest is just wildly inaccurate.

C&F CCCP (see Announcements) wrote:
I do not like Pepsi. I think the bubbles are disagreeable and there is a slightly sharp sensation at the back of one's palate. I prefer the taste of Diet Coke, and this is what I encourage my friends to buy."

vs.

"Pepsi is complete crap, clearly made by drunkards and con men. Anyone who would pay 75 cents for a can of it would have to be a fool. And anyone who would try to sell the crap on eBay is either a thief or is trying to unload a vile elixir that no one in their right mind would want."

First example: OK.

Second: Not OK.


Points I'd like to make:

1) Most flutes for Irish Traditional Music tend to have oval embouchures, and very common on 19th century antiques.

2) The rectangular or rounded rectangle embouchure holes are most found on modern Boehm-style flutes, and do benefit from a different technique in blowing.

3) Casey's Folk Flutes are great instruments, with an adequate range of tuning on a long tenon, without need for a tuning slide.

4) Threaded joints are common, and work as well as cork ones.

5) I think Casey is stopping turning wood versions of his Folk Flutes because all that lathe work to meet demand is wreaking havoc on his hands, & he wants to preserve his for making more expensive keyed instruments, flute playing, & generally use of, well, hands.

6) Cracks or other leaks can seriously impair the ability of a flute to function properly.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 09, 2020 2:43 pm 
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The difference among round, oval, and squared is largely in how forgiving and powerful they are. Peter Noy once lent me a flute with both Rudall- (oval) and Boehm- (squared) cut embouchures. I also play a few baroque flutes, which has a small almost-round embouchure and (poorly) renaissance flutes, with round embouchure.

The ren flute is definitely an entity unto itself, and the baroque/rococo flute is a very different beast from the later classical and romantic flute. That said, the bigger the embouchure, the bigger the sound. And the sound is largely made by the part that's really perpendicular to the air stream, so even with the same area, a squared cut will have a bigger sound than the oval.

The Noy flute allowed me to make a direct comparison, as it was two headjoints on a single flute. I loved the power of the Boehm cut. The sound was pure, rich, and loud. I also felt like it facilitated the third octave a bit. OTOH, I found the Rudall MUCH more flexible sound-wise. I could get the same pure sound out of it as I could the Boehm cut, but could also get a variety of timbres from it. That's what I opted for.

The other thing is that it seemed to me that the Boehm cut allowed for a much sloppier embouchure. It's definitely true when going from a baroque embouchure to the larger Rudall oval, and my impression from a week is that the same is true going from the oval to the squared cut.

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