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 Post subject: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Fri May 03, 2019 6:01 pm 
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I have noticed on several of my simple system flutes that the E's and the A's tend to be weaker and less clear than the other notes. I understand that the quality of the notes varies across the scale on this type of flute, and that they are not Boehm flutes with high uniformity of tone on each note. I wanted to ask if this is common, and do we live with it as part of the 'sound', or should I make an effort to somehow lift these notes, which seems very difficult to me.

I have also noticed that on the sunny days when my embouchure is working just right that the E's and A's are not too bad, but when it's not going right, those notes in particular seem to suffer. I don't think I have described this very well, but do other people notice this?


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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 12:21 am 
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If you look at the tones holes that make the A and E - respectively the third tone hole down and the bottom one of the six - you will see that they are smaller than the others. This is so that the hole can be further up the tube to enable ordinary, human hands to reach them. However, because they're smaller, the notes produced by them are weaker and with poorer, less defined, tone. They're also quite often not quite in tune without a bit of lip work.

Someone will be along shortly with a more technical explanation ...

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 11:14 am 
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Just keep playing. As your embouchure get stronger these
problems (which are widely noted) diminish. You certainly can
practice doing long tones on these notes. But it should work out
anyway. It may take a while. Patience is a great virtue in this
business.


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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 12:04 pm 
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You don’t mention if your flutes are keyed or keyless... If they are keyed, you can strengthen them a little by “venting” - I.e. hitting the D#/Eb key at the same time. This is standard practice for Bohemia’s flutes. If you’re keyless, see the response above. Good luck!

Pat

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 12:06 pm 
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“Boehm” - darn auto-correct!!!

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 12:32 pm 
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Liked it better with Auto-correct—"Bohemian Flutes", a whole new Forum.

Best wishes.

Steve

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sat May 04, 2019 11:23 pm 
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On my 19th Century Firth, Pond & Co flute, the low E is significantly richer and a bit louder, if I vent the Eb key. This is intrinsic to the design, i.e, it's intentional. This flute doesn't really have a "flat-foot" problem; it has a smallish embouchure hole and medium tone holes.

I haven't noticed a problem with my A note.

I agree that it takes more than a year or two to develop a good, strong tone in the low notes. Working on long-tone exercises for 15 minutes every day has made a huge improvement in my tone quality and consistency.


Last edited by tstermitz on Sun May 05, 2019 10:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Sun May 05, 2019 6:40 pm 
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E is a miserable sounding note
on woodwinds across the board.
It adds character.

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 3:45 am 
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oleorezinator wrote:
E is a miserable sounding note
on woodwinds across the board.
It adds character.

Very nearly a haiku. All you need is to substitute for the first line, "E is a sad note".

:)

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 9:57 pm 
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A long time ago we had whistle-related haiku contests
on the board. The winner won a whistle. I won a whistle,
in fact. We should do that again, extending to flutes, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Mon May 06, 2019 11:15 pm 
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benhall.1 wrote:
oleorezinator wrote:
E is a miserable sounding note
on woodwinds across the board.
It adds character.

Very nearly a haiku. All you need is to substitute for the first line, "E is a sad note".

:)
Image
Very true.....and remember.....
"D-Minor is the saddest of all keys."
Nigel Tufnel

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 Post subject: Re: Weak E's and A's
PostPosted: Tue May 07, 2019 12:58 am 
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It's worth noting that not only are the A and E holes (holes L3 and R3) smaller than all their colleagues, it is further from each of them to the next vent (hole R1 and the first open hole in the foot).

It was observations like this that caused Boehm to spit the dummy and go to his fully-keyed model where every hole is vented by an open key 1 semitone further down the flute. And all the keyholes of identical size, though Clinton subsequently saw (and/or perhaps heard?) the weakness in that plan and fixed it in his "graduated-hole" model. Clinton's solution was probably overkill, and we've settled on a compromise tiering of hole-sizes since.


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