More models -
About the originals
In addition to my most common models, I make instruments in the
style of all these famous originals. The value in parenthesis is
the size of
the fourth finger hole, a useful single-point indicator for how
- R.S. Pratten's Perfected (10.7mm), after a flute by Boosey
& Co, London. I picked up the original (No 8626) in a Sydney
antique shop in 1972 for $25. This flute has the largest holes and has
become a legend among flute players for its big tone. The six finger
holes are all on the central section, which is longer than usual,
permitting the g# key (when fitted) to be ideally placed. The
single piece body does not permit the fine adjustment to rotation
between the left and right hand which the extra body section of other
flutes would allow.
- Siccama (10.6mm). This is the predecessor to the
Pratten's Perfected and has two extra keys, to enable the holes to be
moved to acoustically better positions. Such a flute enables
players with small or damaged hands to play the most powerful flute
- Rudall & Rose, large holed (10.5mm), after a flute by
these most prestigious makers, London, circa 1830. The original
(No 655) was in boxwood and had pewter plugs, instead of leather pads,
on each of the eight keys. It can be seen at the Bate collection
in Oxford (Bate No 132). This flute had large holes and
consequently a very strong tone.
- Rudall, Carte & Co, large holed (10.4mm). Carte
joined the Rudall & Rose company in 1850; it was later renamed
Rudall, Carte and Co after Rose's death. This flute is very late
for an 8 key, coming a full fifty years after Boehm released his
cylindrical flute and seventy six years after the start of the company.
The original is No 7174, now in the hands of Ms Alex Offord, an Irish
flute player in Canberra (see Southerly Breeze CD).
The company's records remember it as: 21 July, 1896. Cocus,
conical, 8 G.S. [German silver] keys, knobs [i.e.
block-mounted, not pillar-mounted]. Made by Holland [one of
RC's employees]. Sold 20 August, 1896 to R. Littlewood of
Huddersfield. [no prices recorded]. Being so late, we can
reasonably assume it has incorporated all the improvements made by the
company over the previous 76 years. This is a particularly
vibrant, large hole 8-key flute.
(For those seeking a Rudall based
large-holed instrument, I would recommend my "Rudall Perfected"
model. This is based on the best features of the two instruments
above, plus rather a lot of my own new work. This is a slender,
elegant, powerful, responsive instrument with great tone and excellent
- Rudall Refined (9.5mm), after a flute in the collection at
Edinburgh University, dating around 1845. The original, No 5047,
had small holes, probably to satisfy those who prized uniformity of
tone over all other factors. Like most of the flutes from the
period, however, tuning was an issue. I have reworked the design
to correct the tuning and release the full potential of the bore while
retaining the Rudall & Rose sweetness and authority. It now
has medium sized holes making it a very easy and rewarding instrument
(For more on Rudall, Rose, Carte et al., see my Rudall, Rose or Carte Models Study)
- Metzler (conical) (10mm), another fine London maker. This
is a beautifully designed instrument with large holes and a good tone.
The original is in my own collection and features very finely
hand-engraved silver bands at each joint and silver keys.
- "B&S" Improved, London (9mm). After a flute by unknown
London makers around 1830. Its medium sized holes offer a good
compromise between ease of playing and available volume of sound. I
purchased the original in London in 1974. The original features very
clean workmanship and wide bands, with keys and bands of nickel silver.
- Nöe Frères (8mm), after a flute by these
brothers who worked in Paris. With small finger holes it has a sweet
and quiet tone. Very easy to play, it suits the beginner or occasional
player. The original of this instrument spent several years in Canberra
before being resold through a London sale room.
- Metzler cylindrical (10.9mm), after a flute by Metzler
with the new Boehm system bore but the old 8-key fingering pattern. A
copy of this transitional instrument might suit the player who is
accustomed to the open feel of the modern flute but wants a wooden
flute for the more appropriate sound, fingering patterns and appearance.
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