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 Post subject: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:19 am 
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many flute makers, for mysterious reasons, seem to reject the idea to make a flute that is perfectly in tune (sorry for my poor English, I hope it's understandable). So we often find those flat bottom D, or/and flat F sharp, or/and sharp A and B.
Does somebody knows a flute maker that is capable (or disposed ) to make e flute that is well in tune?


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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 8:38 am 
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I'm currently trying out various prototypes of flute by a maker who hasn't started to produce them commercially yet, and apart from the ever so problematic C-nat, it seems very well in tune for me, and I'm a newbie to the flute. I guess I'll have to check it with the Flutini, but it seems quite all right with me, better than some of the very expensive flutes by top makers, tuning-wise.

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 11:54 am 
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gian-marco wrote:
many flute makers, for mysterious reasons, seem to reject the idea to make a flute that is perfectly in tune
I would respectfully disagree. Have a go at making one yourself and see what you come up with.

Feadoggie

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:51 pm 
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Feadoggie wrote:
gian-marco wrote:
many flute makers, for mysterious reasons, seem to reject the idea to make a flute that is perfectly in tune
I would respectfully disagree. Have a go at making one yourself and see what you come up with.

Feadoggie


Flute making is not my profession.


Last edited by gian-marco on Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:58 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 12:55 pm 
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gian-marco wrote:
Anyway the flutes I made with a pair of scissors and a plastic pipe are fairly well in tune
Good for you. I've played many flutes over my lifetime and most were well in tune. I do not think that makers, modern or not, reject the idea of making a well tuned flute.

Inexperienced players sometimes find that flutes which they suspect are poorly tuned become suddenly better tuned after they have learned to play.

Feadoggie

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:00 pm 
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gian-marco wrote:
many flute makers, for mysterious reasons, seem to reject the idea to make a flute that is perfectly in tune (sorry for my poor English, I hope it's understandable). So we often find those flat bottom D, or/and flat F sharp, or/and sharp A and B.
Does somebody knows a flute maker that is capable (or disposed ) to make e flute that is well in tune?

Yes, I think Terry McGee does this... But the term "perfectly in tune", is kind of a misnomer, a lot depends on the player. Some makers like myself, like to have the foot kind of flat, so it can be blown into tune.

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:05 pm 
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Inexperienced players sometimes find that flutes which they suspect are poorly tuned become suddenly better tuned after they have learned to play.

Feadoggie[/quote]

Actually, I have played the flute for 35 years only.


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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:32 pm 
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gian-marco wrote:
Does somebody knows a flute maker that is capable (or disposed ) to make e flute that is well in tune?


They all do. But what you have to understand is that the tuning depends on how they are blown. Let's consider a couple of well known good flute makers both of whom frequent this board. When Hammy plays one of his own flutes the tuning is excellent. And the same for Terry; when he plays one of his own flutes the tuning is excellent. But if Terry plays one of Hammy's flutes the tuning is not good. Terry and I have verified this with RTTA.

Find a flute by a maker who blows the same way you do and the tuning will be good. But don't go assuming that there's something wrong with a flute just because you can't play it in tune.

Cheers
Graeme


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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:39 pm 
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gian-marco wrote:
Feadoggie wrote:
Inexperienced players sometimes find that flutes which they suspect are poorly tuned become suddenly better tuned after they have learned to play.

Actually, I have played the flute for 35 years only.

gian-marco: Feadoggie is trying to tell you that your premise may be fundamentally incorrect. The number of years you have personally played the flute has nothing to do with it.

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 1:53 pm 
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groxburgh wrote:
gian-marco wrote:
Does somebody knows a flute maker that is capable (or disposed ) to make e flute that is well in tune?


They all do. But what you have to understand is that the tuning depends on how they are blown. Let's consider a couple of well known good flute makers both of whom frequent this board. When Hammy plays one of his own flutes the tuning is excellent. And the same for Terry; when he plays one of his own flutes the tuning is excellent. But if Terry plays one of Hammy's flutes the tuning is not good. Terry and I have verified this with RTTA.

Find a flute by a maker who blows the same way you do and the tuning will be good. But don't go assuming that there's something wrong with a flute just because you can't play it in tune.

Cheers
Graeme


Yes i know. ( Indeed i can't understand in wich way is determined the pitch of the old original baroque flutes, i think that the pitch of such a flute without tuning slide depends by the player..)


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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:00 pm 
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Gian Marco "Pantera" Pietrasanta, a musical friend of mine, is the fluteplayer in the celtic group Myrddin in Genova, Italy. He is the composer of the well-know tune, "The Cat in the Fiddle Case".
http://www.myrddin.it/

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:12 pm 
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Doug_Tipple wrote:
Gian Marco "Pantera" Pietrasanta, a musical friend of mine, is the fluteplayer in the celtic group Myrddin in Genova, Italy. He is the composer of the well-know tune, "The Cat in the Fiddle Case".
http://www.myrddin.it/


Hello Doug, nice to hear from you! A few days ago I was just thinking to order one of your D flutes.


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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 2:56 pm 
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FWIW it also depends on a particular player's perception of what is in tune. Standardized pitch is a relatively recent development; not everybody is going to perceive that as being in tune or out of tune. In the case of flutes from what I have heard and read making a flute that is perfectly in tune with equal temperament is very difficult or impossible to do, this isn't my area of expertise so I could be wrong. From what I understand even on the best flutes there will be compromises that have to be made, in the case of C-natural using the OXXOOO fingering on most flutes is slightly sharp but if a maker were to try to flatten that note it would throw the C# off as well as the OXXXXX high d fingering. That is why flutes have some compromise in this aspect a slightly flat C# and slightly sharp OXXOOO C-natural fingering. The old flutes were meant to have the C key vented when playing the C#; I find on my J. Gallagher flute that the high C# benefits from this but the mid C# (it is an 8 key so I have low C# too) doesn't really need it.

Personally I think it is up to the player to play in tune as a flute in tune for one person may not be in tune for another which is what I think groxburgh is getting at; 'perfect' tuning is up to the player. A maker can only get a flute so close to whatever 'perfect' tuning may be in their opinion.

Also worth noting is that in the natural scale/just temperament the fifth is sharper than in equal temperament and the major third is slightly flatter than equal temperament. This could explain the sharp As and flat F#s on the older flutes.

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 5:21 pm 
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It would be interesting to know what is meant by "perfectly in tune". Are you referring to the overall pitch level of the flute vs. the relative tuning between notes? Are you referring to how the flute sounds to your ear, or how it looks to a tuner? To which kind of tuner (as not all are created equally)?

One thing that many players don't realize is that minor tuning issues are adjustable on any simple system flute.The safest (and reversible) approach is to flatten notes - thus if one note plays flat relative to everything else, flatten everything else. This is simply done by filling in the holes some with a little bit of beeswax or resin. Uilleann pipers do this all the time, though usually the preferred substance for them is black electrical tape. If the bottom D is flat relative to the rest of the scale, you can fill in all the holes to some extent. If any note plays sharp, however, you can flatten it to your preference by filling it in.

I wonder how many of the old flutes with the flat bottom D problem were at some point "adjusted" for more volume by making the fingerholes larger (or adjusted for a higher pitch as things went from A435 to A440). I've actually had one client attempt to get more volume out of his low flute by making the fingerholes larger. He ruined a number of pieces of wood!

As to modern makers such as myself - I have a standard that is based more on how the flute plays to my ear, to my embouchure, with using a Korg tuner as guidance only. For most players this works but occasionally minor tuning issues arise and then I am usually happy to adjust these.

Casey

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 Post subject: Re: wooden flute tuning
PostPosted: Sun Jan 08, 2012 7:23 pm 
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Unseen122 wrote:

Personally I think it is up to the player to play in tune as a flute in tune for one person may not be in tune for another which is what I think groxburgh is getting at; 'perfect' tuning is up to the player.

Chris Norman once said to me something to the effect, Don't blame the flutemaker for your inability to play it in tune. That was an Olwell, and I was going to respond to the OP that Olwell's flutes are perfectly in tune. What a difference a few years, a lot of work, and sticking with one flute make.

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