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PostPosted: Tue Jul 01, 2014 11:36 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Hi folks,

I've been playing the Shannon for around two years now, and as I've played it I've taken off the little o-rings it comes with until the headjoint is pushed all the way into the body. However, it still plays flat. The low G is the most flat, but the A is a little better and the hard D is spot on. It's very confusing because the flute is in tune with itself, but the place where the tone really sits and resonates is flat. I've tried rolling the headjoint out, but the tone gets airy and thin. I haven't ruled out more practice solving that one, but I was wondering if anyone else had noticed this, and what could be done.

Cheers,

Madman.

PS: If it'd be helpful I could upload a demonstration.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 5:52 am 
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I've had one for a couple of months now but I haven't noticed, but like you said it plays in tune with itself and I've not bothered to check it against a tuner.
Can you "lip it" into tune?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 6:51 am 
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How's the 2nd octave? Could the head cork be out of position?


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 7:02 am 
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Location: Ireland
Do you turn the head joint in? If so, how much? How does it line up with the tone holes?

Have you tried other flutes by other makers? If so, have you found the same issue?

How have you determined that it's flat? By ear or using a tuner? If you're using a tuner, can you play a scale and tell us how many cents each note is off by?

It can be that the flute maker uses a different embouchure to you, and may be able to play it in tune. You might have idiosyncratic technique, or the maker might. There's no such thing as a flute that just plays in tune, they all need finessing via lipping. Some of the 19th C ones need a LOT of lipping, and some of the exact copies are the same.

Just some thoughts.


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PostPosted: Wed Jul 02, 2014 9:10 am 
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Location: Kingston WA
Many traditional flute players freak out when they first play their flute before a tuner. The scale is all over the place. The 2nd octave looks much sharper than the 1st.

Tuners themselves are not that accurate. In some cases the pitch that the tuner hears and gauges could be the 1st or 2nd overtone, even though it reports it as the fundamental.

Also, tuners represent a tempered tuning. Flutes are more like singing in their playing - so 4ths and 5ths will be perfect, rather than tempered. On a tuner, they will appear out of tune.

One would expect the modern flutes to be tempered tuned since they theoretically can play in any key. This isn't the case. I have seen some published charts showing the tuning gauged by a Korg Tuner in one source (Nederveen) and these scales are also all over the place. And the 2nd octave is always 20-30 cents sharper than the first. My own tests of such instruments indicate the same.

On many flutes including my own, F# and G always look a little flat on my 30 year old trusty Korg tuner. The note A looks sharp and B and C# sharper still. The 2nd octave is 20 to 30 cents sharper depending upon the note. To my ear the flutes play in tune.

In the case of the Shannon flute - does the G sound in tune? What criteria has been used to decide its out of tune? The tuner or the ear? If it sounds fine, ignore the tuner and don't worry about it. Trust your ear - or your fellow musicians.

Just as an experiment - it would be good to post peoples' tuning here on their traditional flutes, as well as any modern flutes, antiques, etc. for comparison. Could be fun.

Casey

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 Post subject: Shannon flute.
PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 2:11 am 
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Location: New Hampshire, USA, or Co Clare...
I've played over thirty Shannon flutes, in sessions and on my own. I haven't ever noticed that any one of them has been out of tune. Out of tune, that is, any more than my Wilkes or my Olwell, or any other simple system flute that I have played. Any simple system wooden flute has to be played into tune, as has been said. The Shannon is certainly able to be played well in tune and offers remarkable value for an inexpensive flute.

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PostPosted: Thu Jul 03, 2014 6:19 pm 
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Location: Seattle, WA
Thanks for your input folks. I rarely if ever use an electric tuner- my ear is sufficient that I always know when something is out of tune with itself (which may explain my limited success in finding a high D whistle I can tolerate). Usually I notice the flatness at a session. When we're tuning, I usually have to shove the headjoint all the way in, and then roll out to barely bring my tone into tune with everyone else. "Lipping it up" to the degree that is required is uncomfortable and makes my tone thin and bland. On its own, the flute is well in tune with itself. I've not touched or adjusted the head cork, which is exactly in the same place as when I got it. I haven't had this problem with other flutes, but it may well be a quirk of my embouchure. It's a shame though- it's a great flute for sessions since it can tolerate sweaty pubs and heavy use without swelling too much.


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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 7:23 am 
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How flat is it in terms of cents?

How is the second octave G? Is it sharp or flat?

If the second octave is in tune, then it is a compromise.

Maybe it is made that way for you to Honk the G note.

Try honking it and test it without flipping to second octave.

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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2014 11:12 am 
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Location: Lawrence, KS
Good point Angel! I used to honk the low G on my Shannon because the flute takes so well to that style of playing (although it can be played quite sweetly as well).

I do think our individual differences mean not every flute will work the same for every player. Madman has been playing long enough and played enough flute to be able to play in tune. I do think flutes without a tuning slide are just a tad more likely to have this issue. Flutes made with slides, obviously, seem to be built to allow a little more tuning leeway.

Jordan, on this board and local to me, tends to blow much differently than me. When we've played the same flute, I have the headjoint out almost a 1/4" more than he does. Since I tend to blow sharp, I lean much more towards flutes with tuning slides. I bet if I played your flute, I'd have no issues since you sound like you're a flat blower.

That said...I love the Shannon...wonderful flute.

Have you asked Walt if you could send it to him for him to sharpen the flute? I bet it wouldn't be too hard to shorten the headjoint 1/4" for you.


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