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I understand that smaller tone holes can lower the pitch.

One example is the pre-Boehm wooden flutes from the 1800s. They did not have any keys, therefore, the fingers needed to close the holes. However, if you put the holes at the best acoustic location, then the fingers could not reach them!!!

The solution: if the note was too sharp (due to the tone hole being too "high" on the flute), make it a bit smaller.

Here is a picture of a "Pratten Perfected keyless wooden flute" that demonstrates this t

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