E flat fingerhole?

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jim stone
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E flat fingerhole?

Post by jim stone »

It occurs to me that a fingerhole at the place where the Eb key (if you had one) closes, and upon which you could rest your pinky, might be a good and inexpensive way to get a functional Eb on a keyless flute. Opinions?
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Re: E flat fingerhole?

Post by kmag »

Unless your hands are huge I don't see how it would work.
The distance the E hole to the center of my Eb key is about half an inch. The distance from the E hole to where my Eb hole is placed is two inches.
I would need to stretch my little finger an additional one and a half inches to play it. I keep my little finger on the block for the Eb key but it would still require a one inch stretch and keep it parked there until I needed that one note.
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Conical bore
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Re: E flat fingerhole?

Post by Conical bore »

Finger stretch aside, I think the logical answer is that if you really need an Eb note, then you're probably delving into enough of the "outside" Irish or other trad repertoire that you're going to want the other keys on a 6 or 8 keyed flute. And you get that Eb along with it.
:wink:

I know the Eb was historically one of the first keys added to the older style of flutes, and it was just that one key. But that was for orchestral repertoire, not the tunes we play. When I think of the times I use my Eb key in a tune, it's usually along with something else like a G# or Fnat key somewhere else in the tune.
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Re: E flat fingerhole?

Post by jim stone »

Thanks, K Mag. The touch for the Eb key is close enough, and I somehow managed to think that's where the hole is. I need another drink.

CB, in my experience one can play all the keyed notes on a keyless. I can even play Eb but it's a bit scary when I know one is coming in an aire, cause it's borderline reliable. Works better at speed. I know a really good fluter who plays an Olwell Pratten with one key, the Eb, because (she says) that's the one note she can't get.
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Re: E flat fingerhole?

Post by Peter Duggan »

As well as the hole not being under the finger like the key, consider the aspect of the key being a closed-standing key where the hole would be, well, open. So you'd be making the opposite movements from normal to use it as well as having to keep your finger on it for at least Ds.
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Re: E flat fingerhole?

Post by Sedi »

It would be very similar to the fingering of the Sandner "Zauberflöte" -- German type of marching band fife. It also exists in a "low" version that has about the same range as a standard Irish flute.
https://static.yooco.de/storage/s5/8/c/ ... andner.jpg
This is the "low" version -- called a tenor.
https://www.thomann.de/de/sandner_tenor ... _black.htm
But some of the other fingerings are different on that one compared to a normal 6-hole flute. It shares a few similarities with the baroque flute.
I solved the problem myself by just increasing the lowest holes on my flute so you can half-hole the Eb even in the low octave with pretty good results. But you need large hands even then as the finger spacing is rather similar to a low D whistle like a Goldie. And the lower on the instrument the hole sits, the larger it gets. So it might be possible to make a 7th hole that can still be reached with the pinky but it might be problematic -- if you move it closer to the rest of the holes, you'e need to move it up the tube which will make it smaller and mess up the sound -- the note will sound weaker, more "hissy" or breathy and overblow too easily. If you move the other holes further down and closer to the extra 7th hole -- the other holes will get bigger. The flute I made has very "unbalanced" hole sizes but works rather well. But I guess, not everyone would be comfortable with a 13mm-hole.
But as you can see on the Sandner -- a 7 hole design seems to work when changing some of the other fingerings as well.
Edit: the problem with a conical flute and that design would be (what otherwise is an advantage on a conical design) that the holes will get smaller (or rather -- can be made smaller without detrimental effects on the sound) at the bottom as the bore gets narrower -- which is the reason why the Eb-hole is too far down to be reachable without the key in order to make it large enough so it has a good sound and volume. But on a cylindrical design it might work (or does work -- as proved by the Sandner).
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