Sax on the Web Forum banner

1 - 11 of 11 Posts

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
7,509 Posts
Discussion Starter #1
If a flute is tuned at 432, how will it effect playing C charts. Is the C now an A?

Can a flutes tuning be changed to modern tuning?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,758 Posts
I know next to nothing about flutes but isn't there a felt plug inside the head joint that can be moved in or out to tune it?
 

·
Forum Contributor 2017
Joined
·
7,509 Posts
Discussion Starter #3
I know next to nothing about flutes but isn't there a felt plug inside the head joint that can be moved in or out to tune it?
I thought that might be the answer. I am hoping Bruce Bailey or an experienced doubler will chime in.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,948 Posts
If a flute is tuned at 432, how will it effect playing C charts. Is the C now an A?

Can a flutes tuning be changed to modern tuning?
432 refers to the A, so if it's tuned to A=432 then it is is very flat and probably not a lot of use when tuning with modern orchestras. No its pitch cannot be changed, pulling in or out the neck or moving the plug can make very minor adjustments, but not that much and anyway, the more you move the neck in or out, the worse the intonation gets (ie being "in tune" with itself)

C charts tis not really relevant in this case as 432 is just a flute that plays flat whatever key.
 

·
Moderator
Grafton alto | Martin Comm III tenor
Joined
·
28,948 Posts
The cork endplug affects the balance of tuning of the instrument and is not effective for overall tuning.
And the one you can never do is change the distance between the tone holes.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,489 Posts
I have read (from Robert Dick, who does have some authority) that this has a lot to do with the purported tendency of flutes to play sharp up top and flat down below.

If you take an A-435 Louis Lot flute and just cut 3/8" off the head joint, then tune to an A = 440, all the short tube notes will be sharp and all the long tube notes will be flat.

If you decide to make American-made copies of Louis Lot flutes and you just copy the dimensions of a cut-down A=435 flute without recalculating the tone hole positions for A=440, you'll perpetuate the tuning anomalies (lookin' at you, Powell and Haynes).

These days, as orchestras tend to creep up in pitch, flutes run from 440 to 442 typically, and modern flutes are designed with a scale that is based on that pitch. Buy one of these, not an A=435 or 432 flute.

If an A=435 flute has soldered tone holes, it is possible to unsolder the tone holes at the extremes of the range, and resolder them in locations closer to their correct locations for A=440. A little crescent of silver is soldered in to cover the gap now exposed on one side, and the tube is cut on the other side to clear the entire ID of the tone hole. Generally, in the pictures I've seen, sections of the keywork have to be cut out or cut and an extension soldered in, to get the pads centered over the new tone hole locations.

Frankly, I would think the cost of this modification would approach the value of the flute in most cases.

Just buy a normal modern flute with an updated (Cooper, Bennett, etc.) scale and declare victory.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,758 Posts
And the one you can never do is change the distance between the tone holes.

I kind of thought the answer wasn't as easy as moving the plug but I wasn't sure. 432 Hz to 445 Hz doesn't sound like a lot on paper but when it comes to cutting out tone holes and moving them it turns out it's a lot.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,587 Posts
Whatever the manufacturer decides the scale will be at Hz pitch for A, the flute has to be in tune and checked for flatness using the wand centering gauge and setting the crown loose so that the cork and its stopper is in correct position. Headjoint cork expands and contracts several times a year so being mindful of that is a must.
 

·
Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
Joined
·
17,204 Posts
The position of the crown cork makes almost no difference to the first 2 octaves. (The location of the embouchure hole, acting as a tone hole, along with the relative location of other tone holes, is what determines pitch. However the crown cork position can make minute changes to the third octave.
It is not intended in any other way as a tuning device, and even when used for the top octave, adjustments should be very small, probably less than 1mm. (A decent and flexible embouchure will make much greater changes.) Moving the crown cork further is likely to compromise notes, eg make 2nd octave E very stuffy.

Having a low pitched flute and modifying it in some way at the upper end is like moving the bridge of a guitar a few mm further away from the frets. The scale is seriously compromised.
 
1 - 11 of 11 Posts
Top