It is currently Wed Nov 25, 2020 9:31 pm

All times are UTC - 6 hours




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 
Author Message
 
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 8:38 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 5:48 am
Posts: 2
Hello,

As a child I got one of these flutes while on holiday in Mostar, Bosnia-Herzegovina. It's got six holes and is played just like a tin whistle. While it could be considered a toy, it actually makes a nice (breathy) sound, switching octaves is pretty steady... it is quite playable. Only, the tuning is not quite right.

It's tuned in E major. The other day I measured the frequencies note for note, and they are all pretty accurate except for the G# (XXX Xoo). That one is actually halfway G and G#, in other words about 50 cents (not the rapper) or a quarter tone flat.

I am wondering if this can be fixed by filing out the upper rim of the 2nd lowest soundhole so that it gets to start higher up the flute, possibly filling up on the downside with putty so the size of the hole stays the same. Micrometer by micrometer while frequently checking the frequency.

Does that sound like a good idea, or is it a recipe for ruin? I am asking before experimenting, because I do value that flute as a souvenir.

Or alternatively: could the flat note be intentional somehow? Does it make sense? It is a bit odd that all the other notes are quite accurate, except just this one, and that it seems to sit smack in the middle between G and G#...

Thanks!


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Wed May 07, 2014 10:37 pm 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Wed Sep 05, 2007 2:53 am
Posts: 623
Location: Klietz, Germany
This is called a "neutral third", a tone which is neither major nor minor. It is not uncommon, and is used in different types of music. However, in this case I don't think it is intentional because of some weird traditional scale, I think it is because all the fingerholes are drilled to the same size and the same distance to each other (compare with your whistle, you will see the difference).
If you really want to change it, the way to go would be, to plug the hole and drill a new one a bit further up. Most likely, it will also need to be bigger. Be aware that this operation will probably affect the tuning of the tones above.
You will certainly ruin the aesthetic appearance of this flute. A less destructive way (which also is reversible) would be, partly fill the hole until you get a good minor third, and just use it for playing in E minor.
Don't forget, it is a souvenir, as which you treasure it, and has been made to be just that. These yokes are made by folk craftsmen, not by instrument makers. If it does play at all, you're lucky - most of these don't. If I were in your place, I'd be happy with it the way it is - and not try to play it.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 1:29 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
Hi Buccinum, welcome!

I had a similar intonation problem with a cheap Chinese bamboo whistle I bought many years ago in a toy store. Nice tone, but bad intonation. I very carefully enlarged some holes by filing, and reduced other holes with putty, and the result is a very nice instrument.

So if you like the sound of your souvenir frula, and you're willing to risk a mistake, I'd say try it.

On the other hand, I also have a collection of Romanian souvenir frulas (fluiere) in various keys, given to me by a friend. And only one or two were worth tinkering with. The others play poorly enough (weak tone/volume) that they're not worth the effort to fix. But they are nice decorations, as they were intended to be. :-)

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Thu May 08, 2014 6:37 am 
Offline

Joined: Tue May 06, 2014 5:48 am
Posts: 2
Thank you for your helpful answers!

Interesting idea to go for E minor. With a bit of adhesive putty, a tune suggested itself. (How out of tune is this still? My ears ain't too sharp.)

The E minor option means I should really also partly plug the top two holes, to get C and D instead of C# and D#. The downside with plugging holes seems that you give up some tones that might otherwise be available through half-holing (as far as the instrument and my poor skills allow).

Supposing I'd want to go the E major way anyway: how might adjusting that one hole affect the tuning of the higher tones, as Michael writes? MTGuru - was this an issue when you fixed the Chinese whistle?

I have two more (larger) frulas. One looks great in black and copper, but produces hardly any sound :-/ The other looks plain, sounds clean in both octaves, but seems tuned inaccurately and off the A440 pitch standard. As Michael wrote, it's got uniform hole sizes and distances. That is also the case for the flute I am trying to 'mod', but it just happens to end up a bit more closely in tune (except for that G#)... and it looks cool, and I'm so fond of it that I'd love to 'breathe life into it' :^)


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
 
PostPosted: Sat May 10, 2014 11:05 am 
Offline
User avatar

Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2006 12:45 pm
Posts: 18663
Location: San Diego, CA
Buccinum wrote:
Supposing I'd want to go the E major way anyway: how might adjusting that one hole affect the tuning of the higher tones, as Michael writes? MTGuru - was this an issue when you fixed the Chinese whistle?

I honestly don't remember; it's been too long. But I think I had to putty-fill the next highest hole a bit, to compensate for the larger lower hole. At least that's what it looks like. But maybe it was sharp to begin with.

_________________
Vivat diabolus in musica! MTGuru's (old) GG Clips / Blackbird Clips

Joel Barish: Is there any risk of brain damage?
Dr. Mierzwiak: Well, technically speaking, the procedure is brain damage.


Top
 Profile  
Reply with quote  
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 5 posts ] 

All times are UTC - 6 hours


Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum

Search for:
Jump to:  
Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group
[ Time : 0.114s | 11 Queries | GZIP : On ]
(dh)