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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 1:51 pm 
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Is the Flutophone an ocarina?

In other words, does it have a closed end ?

I am talking specifically about the instrument shown here --

http://www.amazon.com/First-Note-FN153-Firstnote-Flutophone/dp/B000EEHE5G/ref=pd_cp_267_2?pd_rd_w=jsMOE&pf_rd_p=ef4dc990-a9ca-4945-ae0b-f8d549198ed6&pf_rd_r=K5KVA2YY0EQ1RNFEC2GY&pd_rd_r=0c3156de-2b0d-11e9-b82a-7d23db4f75b9&pd_rd_wg=IpuMy&pd_rd_i=B000EEHE5G&psc=1&refRID=K5KVA2YY0EQ1RNFEC2GY

Thank you for your feedback.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:00 pm 
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What a blast from my past! I have no idea on the answer to your question, but I had one of those as a young child and had forgotten all about it until I saw the picture in your link. Might have to pick one up for old time's sake. Do they have even the slightest musical merit? (Though I remember owning one, I doubt I did much with it beyond torturing my siblings.)


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:20 pm 
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BobbieCB wrote:
In other words, does it have a closed end ?

I believe not. I'm sure I encountered at least one in some way as a child, but I don't remember the details. However, Wikipedia and other sources describe it as an end-blown flute (which would include whistles, recorders, and other flutes of open-end construction), not as a vessel flute (which would include ocarinas and other closed-end winds).

JackJ wrote:
Do they have even the slightest musical merit?

From Wikipedia:

Quote:
The Tonette [Flutophone, and other names] was introduced in 1938. Designed as a pre-band instrument, the tonette was nearly unbreakable, chromatic, and tunable. It was easy to blow and the fingering was simple. By 1941 over half of the grammar schools in the United States had adopted the Tonette as standard pre-band equipment. The Tonette's pleasant flute-like sound was also used for special novelty effects in radio, television and film.

In World War II the armed services found the Tonette to be an inexpensive and entertaining way for idle troops to pass the time.

Peter Schickele has described the tonette as "a cheap, synthetic recorder with amusing pretensions"; it is one of the instruments featured in the Gross Concerto by P. D. Q. Bach.

This instrument was played by Felix Pappalardi on "Pressed Rat and Warthog" on Cream's Wheels of Fire album.


So I would say that while its merits may be all in the eye of the beholder, it has certainly found use.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:42 pm 
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Thank you for your replies. The good ol' Flutophone!

Yes, the Wikipedia article on "tonette" leads me to believe that the Flutophone is in fact an ocarina (a closed end vessel flute). The reason is that the other instruments that article names -- the tonette and the song flute -- I can personally confirm are ocarinas (I own them). Although they look like dumbed-down plastic recorders, in fact they do not have open ends. They are true ocarinas.

So I'm assuming since the tonette/song flute article mentions Flutophones in the same discussion, it's an ocarina too. But the article doesn't specify and I don't have one on hand to confirm this.

Anybody have one they can check?

Thank you.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 2:56 pm 
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BobbieCB wrote:
So I'm assuming since the tonette/song flute article mentions Flutophones in the same discussion, it's an ocarina too. But the article doesn't specify and I don't have one on hand to confirm this.

While Wikipedia is a great resource to start with on the fly, on occasion it is inaccurate, as I have found to my irritation on topics I knew better. On further searching, it appears that the Tonette and Flutophone possibly should not be considered interchangeable terms, and might indeed be of different constructions. I agree that a hands-on inspection of the Flutophone as such is in order, because any details online of closed or unclosed are so far passed by, and my patience for the search extends only so far.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:16 pm 
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@Nanohedron -- excellent point about my possibly reading too much into the Wikipedia article. Thank you.

Anyone got a Flutophone here they can look at ?


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:26 pm 
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BobbieCB wrote:
@Nanohedron -- excellent point about my possibly reading too much into the Wikipedia article. Thank you.

No, no, I never meant to imply that! But you're welcome anyway. What I was trying to convey was my acknowledgment that Wikipedia may possibly have gotten it wrong in lumping the Tonette and Flutophone together; a lack of terminological rigor, you could say. But I don't know how much leeway a scholar would give the subject, so at this point I just throw up my hands. And if you've ever eaten your hands, you know how difficult that can be. :wink:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:44 pm 
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This article, http://www.mewzik.com/research/fitchhorn/index.php, one of the Wikipedia references, explicitly says the Fitchhorn Song Flute has a hole at the bottom end, but the Tonette does not. "The Tonette is actually a vessel flute in the manner of an elongated ocarina."

The thread at, https://theocarinanetwork.com/question-about-tonettes-and-flutophones-etc-t17808.html, has an informative entry:

Quote:
I've got several of these. Apart from Flutophone and Tonette there is also the Song Flute and the Suzuki Precorder. Tonette and Precorder have a closed end, Flutophone and Song Flute have an open end. Still all of these are vessel flutes. It's pretty easy to put this to a test: close all the finger holes and then close the hole at the end of the "tube". If the pitch drops one octave, it's a regular "tubular" flute, because that's the way these work. The pitch of a tubular flute is given by the length of an air column, and closing the end of the tube will double the wavelength and thus drop the pitch by an octave. But on a Song Flute or Flutophone the pitch will drop only by a small interval, like closing any other hole of a similar size on these instruments. You could even seal the end permanently and the whole Song Flute would play like normal, only out of tune. This clearly indicates it can't be an air column that's vibrating, but an air volume. So obviously these are vessel flutes.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 3:50 pm 
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I have to say that this is the first time I've ever heard that an open-ended flute can be called a vessel flute. If drop in pitch is the determining factor, what would be the physical reason for this?

If the Flutophone is rightly to be called a vessel flute (and I'm not yet convinced), then the Wikipedia article is sorely mistaken in categorizing it, as well as the Tonette, together with the recorder.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:05 pm 
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Imagine an ocarina ... a long, skinny, sorta-cigar-shaped ocarina. For one of the toneholes, instead of putting it in side of the body, put it in the far end of the body. For an ocarina, it doesn't matter where the tonehole is, it only matters how big it is, so covering that tonehole will lower the pitch a little bit. That's the behaviour described in that quote.

But there is a whole continuum of shapes between long, skinny tubes that are obviously linear resonators, and fat bulbs that are obviously vessel flutes. I wouldn't expect there to be a sudden transition between two different modes. The body will resonate, but exactly how the standing waves fill the resonator could vary in complex ways depending on the body shape and exactly which toneholes are open.

One clue is the availability of cross-fingerings. In a pure vessel flute, only the area of the open toneholes matters, and there's no concept of "cross" fingerings. If the holes are about the same size, and OXXOOO gives a very different note than OOOOXX, then there's some fipple-flute tube-resonator effects happening.


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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 7:21 pm 
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But the quote stated that the Flutophone is open-ended, yet calls it a vessel flute nonetheless. That's my confusion.

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 07, 2019 8:20 pm 
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I think they are over-simplifying.

I gather the hole at the end is small, maybe not the full diameter of the tube, so it isn't a fully open end.

With all of the holes covered, maybe even with all but the end hole covered, the vessel resonance may predominate. (But I'd want to test this out for myself before convincement.) With more holes open, the tube resonance may be more significant.


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 3:51 pm 
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...Nothing yet? Nobody's got a Flutophone? Don't worry, we won't give you grief about it.

Much. :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 5:52 pm 
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No Flutophone, however I sit here with a Tonette in hand. The carton says for "Ages 6 & Up" but doesn't say how far up. The box has a copyright date of 2000 so this can't be one of those 1938, vintage ones. However, it does have some sort of closing valve in the foot joint/skirt at the bottom. The foot joint/skirt slides on this valve but doesn't seem to modify the tone so I can't figure why it's part of the design. The head joint slides on a tenon for playing "with an out of tune piano" according to the accompanying instructions. It is solid black in color so as not to be confused with the red and ivory hues of the Flutophone. Also, it has eight fingerholes, seven on top and one beneath for the thumb.

Best wishes.

Steve

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 08, 2019 7:03 pm 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
The head joint slides on a tenon for playing "with an out of tune piano" according to the accompanying instructions.

OMG. I literally laughed out loud at that. :thumbsup:

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