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Distinguished Technician & SOTW Columnist. RIP, Yo
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"on the samples it switches between flutes so quickly I thought maybe he was playing the same flute"

I wondered about that too. Perhaps the silences while changing flute were edited out of the recording. Who knows.
 

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I've seem them go both ways. Rampal would pick up his (gold Haynes) flute and say, "This is what a gold flute sounds like" and play a tune. Then he would put the SAME FLUTE to his lips and say, "This is what a silver flute sounds like" and play the same thing with a different tone color.

Galway did it the other way. Played 3 different flutes, they all sounded the same. At least, any differences were so subtle that nobody in the audience heard them and it would take golden ears and hairsplitting to tell the difference. And even if one *could* hear a difference, preference is a totally different thing. In a double blind test those few who could hear any difference at all might express a preference for the student flute. Flute snobs might scoff at the idea but experiments show that truth is stranger than fiction.

Bottom line is, every headjoint is cut differently, flutes are designed and built differently, and players blow them differently. If materials alone make any difference in the sound - which is a dubious proposition - whatever little difference it makes would be swamped by these much larger differences.
 

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JButky said:
In a way yes, this is being done. If you examine different flutes you will immediately notice some rather remarkably differences in the area where the bore meets the tone hole. Some are almost chamfered and others are razor sharp. You can round and soften these razor edges to improve response. Not to the degree that you could undercut a wood flute, but even a softening of the edge to a radius is a big improvement.

Joe B
This is the same (probably more pronounced) with saxophones. At the extreme are horns like the Super 20, with sharp edges on brazed toneholes (very responsive but brittle to some) to the Yanagisawas with slightly radiused drawn holes (IMO the best compromise...similar to Selmer but more even around the hole), to the German horns (e.g. Keilwerth) with very soft-edged toneholes that produce very spread sounds and are more work to get crispy attacks and articulation.
 
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