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 Post subject: placement of thumbholes
PostPosted: 30 Jul 2015, 17:10 

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Posts: 377


02 Jun 2013, 01:13


South Carolina, USA



Today’s notes.

During the past couple of weeks I’ve corresponded to a couple of makers and did some experiments of my own. Old ocarinas have been dismantled, voicing changed to include slightly undercutting the lip in combination with external ducting and internal. Because of my fear of breathing silica dust with these experiments, I’ve used bamboo and expect arguments about their being ocarinas or tubular flutes—points that are not of concern with these objectives as are the keys or the fundamental pitches.

There were two objectives, one was the lip and the other was the size of the right thumb hole. Each of the tests was of nine-holed vessel flutes. I stopped at nine because of the increased size of the thumb holes and concur with other European guilds about that limit we all seem to find.

The three examples shown were and are, and will continue to be tested. The origin of my question(s) was why the original Italian design was transvers and not longitudinal. Surely there are hundreds of examples of successful vessel flutes that are not transvers. The transvers idea allowed lessening of the internal volume by stretching the vessel to a smaller area for the first notes and making the midsection have a larger internal volume. Ah, that might just be the location of the larger holes, the thumbs. Now which comes first?
I’ve posted the first split bamboo cylindrical example. That is somewhat of a standard. The right hand fingerhole is tuned and is rather large. No other fingerhole could have been practical
The second example also of split bamboo and has its voicing located at the end of largest volume. The right thumb holed could not be tuned. As the image indicates, the trial was stopped at an enormous size. Even with that large a hole, the pitch was only an increase of 20 cents.

The third example had its voicing located on the tapered end, reversing the second shown example. This makes the right thumb’s location at the flute’s largest area of internal volume. Regard the size….It is smaller, thus easier to play.

The cylindrical one and the third example have a fundamental pitch of F. The second example is F#. The third example might be a G if the knife had not slipped and the window were a bit less than a millimeter shorter in height (something I may change later).

None of the may make any sense for I really admire the Italian transverse designs for the sopranino –those are almost cylindrical in shape (I’ve tried but have been unsuccessful making these)
Certainly I should welcome any comments from other makers about their designs and to their relationships to the upper fingerholes smaller.

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