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Flute with bis key

3691 Views 16 Replies 6 Participants Last post by  bruce bailey
As sax player and flutemaker I have always wanted to have a bis key on the flute. I made up a few adding it and while I was at it I made some other changes to the left hand. I did it with the offest G leaving the cups covered in the left hand and open in the right hand. This way the left hand is free to angle at a comfortable position without worry of not covering the holes. I used a smaller lower G hole positioned higher in the body to eliminate the need for a split E or donut in the lower G. With this alteration, the G# lever is elongated and more sax-like in feel. Having the A pad covered also has a small advantage of making F#3 a bit more stable. It feels pretty natural to me. Photos:[email protected]/tags/bis/
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Nice idea. Personally I hate the bis key and never use it, but it is an interesting idea for those who do. The small G# and/or donut has always felt like a tonal compromise to me. I much prefer split E. While you are at it, you might want to take a cue from the Murray flute, which splits the A touch between two keys and eliminates the clutch to allow for a split F#. With that you have perfect venting in the lower 3rd octave...

First, closing the G tone hole independently only vents the E correctly, not the F#. For that you need to close the A without closing the Bb. The only flute to solve that problem was the Murray flute, which had the touch split between those two keys and no clutch, so that you could have a "split F#". I had a prototype for a while. Works brilliantly...

Boehm tried his damndest to make the open G# standard, even refusing fat one point to build closed G# keys (he finally gave up). It might be more logical not to have reverse sprung keys (the Murray flute also had open D#), but the open G# becomes the only place where two fingers have to be moved together, so ergonomically it doesn't feel very good. I have had open G# flutes, and it could be learned easily, but then all the other woodwinds have closed G#, so it would be a doubler's nightmare.

How would this pivot work, exactly? I don't think you have thought it through. The G# needs to stay open when not pressed, but needs to go down with the high E and when the G touch is pressed. Mechanically how do you get that to work? There was an attempt to get rid of the duplicate G# tone hole in the early days with the Dorus G#, which was double sprung, but the reliability and simplicity of the duplicated tone hole won the day.

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MRC01 said:
Bruce - The key arrangement looks similar to some altos, where the finger touch points are offset from the keys to make it more ergonomic. As for the smaller lower G# hole, it makes perfect sense. I wonder why more companies don't build it that way. Tradition?
The Marcel Moyse model had offset touches and was ergonomically wonderful I hear. Obviously it is a closed hole flute, not for the French crowd. The smaller G# tone hole is tonally inferior to the normal one, which is why more companies don't make them that way, except on student flutes. Smaller tone holes are always inferior acoustically, which is why Boehm built his flute with keys in the first place, so that the tone holes could be made larger.

bruce bailey said:
The open/closed G# has been done. McCannless in Iowa makes them that way. It is like an open G# flute that has a double spring set up like a sax. If anyone wants an open G# flute, they can be made easily but there are so many deals on ebay it is good to buy one there. I have a really nice 20s US Selmer all sterling open G# cheap.
Bruce, how does this differ from the Dorus G#, first fitted in the late 19th century with double spring? I assume that it does nothing more than eliminate the duplicated tone hole, or...?

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