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Listen to Barrere or Moyse or Rampal or Bennett or countless others. They do not struggle to stay on the mark, any more than a good violin player struggles to find the correct finger position on his fretless fingerboard.
Oh course they may have worked harder and they were accustomed to the anomalies when they were faced with the situation, as great players normally are. Pedagogical schools of playing even cropped up to deal with the long scale anomaly. The most notable of these was the Joseph Mariano concept of playing which can be derived as the result of dealing with a long scale flute at higher pitch.

WIBB carried around a ton of flutes with him to cover any pitch standard he might encounter. You never know when you travel exactly what pitch the piano technician would tune to. :bluewink:

I have played many flutes with different scales, and I have never found the traditional scale a great handicap. In fact, I now have an Almeida with traditional scale at 440 and a Powell with Cooper scale at 442, and I am hard-pressed to notice any difference while playing, nor do I find myself making any extra effort to play one in tune as compared to the other.
Almeida and the golden era Powells were not traditional long scaled instruments. They were among the first to modernize the scale. The reason you haven't noticed anything is because they are not that much different in terms of scaling! Now if you still played an old traditional model Haynes in the 435 range with players playing modernized 442 you would most likely get frustrated pretty quickly.

We all do tend to generalize our personal experiences with flutes to everyone. One's person's experience is not necessarily the next person's for lots of reasons I'm sure you are aware of.

You simply cannot expect any instrument to be perfectly in tune.
Most certainly true!

You should also realize that the stopper position really only affects the intonation in the third register, unless it is so far out that you wouldn't be able to play the third octave decently at all.
Also most certainly true. The problem with the long scaled flutes is that it is much easier with embouchure gymnastics to play a flute flatter, cover the embouchure hole more, "blowing down" more, but it is much more difficult to raise pitch with control by comparison.

The more embouchure gymnastics you need to do to play in tune the more compromises you need to make. Why work so hard? If you love those old longer scaled flutes, just play them where they were designed to be played.

It's interesting to note the struggles that many flute players encountered as a result of following the instructions contained in the writings of some of the flute "bibles" Altes, Marquarre, Taffanel, which did not take into account the rise of English pitch. Once you have a flute that is actually scaled according to today's pitch standard (or within a narrow "range") these instructions are much more productive.

Personally, I hear many professional flute players that play out of tune because there is a bit of ignorance regarding scaling. Now that we have the capability of playing more in tune, it seems that many players from the previous generation of great players actually played more in tune than the current.

...at least from my perspective...

Joe B
 

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Very true, Joe. I think the biggest problem is not the long scale at the bottom, because with the lowest notes it is fairly easy to roll out a bit (actually might help the low notes some), but the break between C4/D5. I used to play an old Lot and a Haynes from the 20s, and to be honest I never really encountered a big problem, although it is true that it is better to have the scale correct. 435 is on the edge of easy playability, although 438 is not too bad. John Coltman redesigned the Boehm flute scale, including adding a true tone hole for C#. What a shame that makers are so conservative and did not adopt it.
 

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John Coltman redesigned the Boehm flute scale, including adding a true tone hole for C#. What a shame that makers are so conservative and did not adopt it.
That's easy to answer. It doesn't look traditional..Flutists are funny that way...Maybe we should connect that LH finger touch to a C# trill key on an existing flute somehow and close the vent permanently. Flute players might accept that I think..

JB
 

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Adjust the registers 1st & 2nd with 3rd, with the cork position. Play low D and compare it to the next to D's above it. Compare 3rd D (standard fingering) against fingered low D overblown to 3rd D. To flatten the 3rd D, pull the cork out. To sharpen, push the cork in. 3rd D should be in tune or slightly flat when correct. "This procedure should solve most of your cork placement problems."
Thanks Gordon for that great summary. Just one question: Which 3rd octave D is tuned by moving the head cork, the regular fingered D3 or the D3 overblown using D1's fingering. Thanks. Everything else was clear.
 

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John,

Stopper position affects notes according to frequency, not according to fingering to produce that frequency.
 

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John,

Stopper position affects notes according to frequency, not according to fingering to produce that frequency.
Then I am confused. Both Gordon and Joe seem to be saying compare the pitch of the 3rd octave notes fingered both ways, and then move the head cork a bit to make them match in pitch hence my question.
 

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Then I am confused. Both Gordon and Joe seem to be saying compare the pitch of the 3rd octave notes fingered both ways, and then move the head cork a bit to make them match in pitch hence my question.
If you are comparing the regular played D3 to the overblown harmonic using the D1 fingering, the stopper adjustment is to correct the regular fingered note. It (D3 in this instance) is the higher frequency note and more affected by stopper placement.

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Hi Jon
In fact I know a lot about the subject. A wrong position of the cork changes the intonation, response and sound of a flute dramatically. In fact, the only right position is the diameter of the tube at the centre of the mouthhole. This in fact varies quite a lot between different makes and between different headjoints of the same maker. Haynes headjoints have a diameter at the centre of the mouthhole of 17.2, 17.25, sometimes 17.3 mm. This should be the distance from the centre of the mouthhole to the cork.
If the cork is placed further away, the octaves will be to small and you will find it difficult to play the high notes of the 3rd register soft and in tune at the same time. If the cork is placed closer to the mouthhole, resistance will fail and the flute plays too sharp, especially greater dynamics go wild. C#'' will be uncontrolable sharp, D# will sound too flat. Don't forget to pull the head out for 4 mm.
Only a very experienced fluteplayer can adjust by ear, flute repairers in general don't know anything about the subject and can't be trusted. Please read Flute technique, by Gareth Morris about this subject. Very helpfull!!
I hope this is a help for you.
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Actually this is not entirely correct. While the diameter of the headjoint at the embouchure hole is a good starting point, there is no hard and fast rule that this is the only correct setting, since the end correction of the embouchure hole, as determined by the embouchure shading of the hole, is a major determinant of intonation. Different flute players shade the hole differently, so the intonation varies with the embouchure. The whole point of having a movable head stopper, instead of a fixed one, is to allow the player to set it for her embouchure.

As for "dramatic" differences in response and sound, it is only necessary for a player to record the current position of the stopper and then experiment, finding the setting that suits him best, with the reference to where it was originally if necessary for comparison or "reset to default".

Toby
 

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Discussion Starter · #30 ·
well ive been continuing to experiment with my head cork position. (note: all measurements are approximations due to my lack of instruments to measure precisely) i find that 19.5mm is too far out, as my tone IS affected negatively. since my embouchure varies from day to day, it is also possible to see the higher register too flat, depending on the day. i am now playing with the headcork around the 18.5mm spot and find that my tone is less affected negatively than at 19.5mm (altho it is not as good as the factory 17mm), and my intonation at 18.5mm is far better than either 17mm or 19.5mm.
jon
 

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With this progression as you become more experienced, you may well finish up at around 17.3 which i think is regarded as the ideal base point. :)
 

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With this progression as you become more experienced, you may well finish up at around 17.3 which i think is regarded as the ideal base point. :)
I occasionally experiment with the cork position and I always come back to the middle.
Some notes just go totally wild intonation wise (especially C#) if I put it anywhere else.
 

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I think that if the intonation isnt good when you play, its you and not the flute or the flute head!.
For most flutes, I agree.

Don't start messing with that head cork away from its "standard" position unless you are a reasonably accomplished player. The out-of-tuneness from an inexperienced embouchure and breath pressure can be huge, especially for largely self-taught players..
 

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While I have an almost identical Haynes flute from 1967 in a thin wall version, I often also use an A442 Brannen flute with all the options that I have from the mid 1990s, and I like them both. Both head joints are set by the marks on the cleaning sticks in the middle of the mouth hole and I don't change the cork settings. I feel comfortable on both over the entire range for pitch at close to A440 although many years ago, I played too sharp in the third register, especially on notes such as high D, Eb, F#, G, and Ab. By aiming the air at the toes, minimizing the vertical height of the lip hole, relaxing the face and lips, and frowning a lot while playing, it has been possible to control and feel comfortable about the overall pitch and to play the C#s comfortably, as well. The lip plate can be pressed firmly to the lower lip as well. In other words, blow downward, not across the blow hole, and it works. My first flute teacher in 1958 was Ben Kanter, a famous studio player who had studied with Luis Hustana, a Moyse student, who told me to "blow down at the toes".

Many accomplished players would probably disagree with the above ideas, but I've also heard many accomplished players in bands and orchestras who are studying their instruments a lot but cannot play the third register in tune well.
 

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so far i haven't played with the cork position much and leave it at the cleaning rod center setting, because I assume that the manufacture knew what they were doing, but the information here makes me wonder. I am completely self taught on flute so i assume I'm not playing correctly. My 3rd octave is a bit sharp and i tend to roll the head joint out and slightly pull it out if playing a song that is mainly third octave.
 

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so far i haven't played with the cork position much and leave it at the cleaning rod center setting, because I assume that the manufacture knew what they were doing, but the information here makes me wonder. I am completely self taught on flute so i assume I'm not playing correctly. My 3rd octave is a bit sharp and i tend to roll the head joint out and slightly pull it out if playing a song that is mainly third octave.
I used to roll also until a very good teacher stopped that and to showed me how to change the airstream angle to change pitch.
 
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