A comparison of flute types
People often ask - what's the difference between a
Pratten's and a Rudall, or French and English flutes. How do various
types of flutes compare? Indeed, what types of flutes are there? What issues should
we be comparing when we compare flutes? Fair
questions - let's find some answers.
Parameters to compare
So, what should we be looking at, when we compare flutes?
Here are some possible parameters:
Appearance - how the styling of flutes
changed with time; caps, barrels, rings, ends
Materials and their properties
Bore profile - the diameter of the bore as we proceed along
Hole size - how big the fingered and key holes are;
cross-fingering and half-holing
Venting - the ratio between the diameters of the holes with the
bore at that point
Scaling - how far the holes are apart, determining the pitch the
flute will play well at
Range - what's the highest note easily playable
Flat Foot syndrome - how earlier flutes had really flat foot
Best Pitch - linked primarily to scaling, but influenced by
Intonation - how accurate are the notes, the
Heads and Embouchures - shapes, depths,
undercutting, head diameter, tone, agility and flexibility, lip plates, risers,
thinned heads, patent head
Uniformity of response between notes
Keywork - cup styles, touch styles, single
and double springs, mounting methods, pad materials
We'll discuss what we mean, and what it means, as we get into
each topic. Some of these topics are going to take more time to develop,
so there are big gaps below, and will be until time permits. Watch this space!
In the meantime, take advantage of what I have managed to pull together.
You may be interested in other points
of comparison, in which case I'll be pleased to hear from you!