I offer three separate models of these flutes. The first two, the Pratten and Rudall & Rose models are the most well-known for their qualities. The third is based on a simple system flute from the late 19th century with the same bore as a modern Boehm flute.
The first model is based on the Pratten, a flute originally produced beginning in the late 1860’s and which is favoured in Irish music due to its greater volume – useful when playing in large sessions. This is due to it’s larger bore and toneholes. In the Pratten style of flute, I offer both a 5-piece construction with traditional metal slide and a 3-piece design with a long thin-walled top tenon which forms an integral tuning slide. For more information on the 3-piece design, please also see Pratten Model with Delrin Slide.
Pratten and Rudall and Rose models
The second is modeled on a flute by Rudall & Rose dating from the mid 1830’s with medium-sized toneholes and a much narrower bore than the Pratten. This configuration makes for a somewhat quieter flute in terms of volume but it still manages to project well since it has an even more reedy tone than the Pratten due to it’s thinner bore. Although they are smaller, the toneholes are about the same distance apart as on the Pratten.
The third model is different to the two above in that it has a Boehm bore just like the modern silver flute. The Boehm bore tends to give it a more open, brighter tone than the Pratten and Rudall & Rose types. The toneholes are around the same size and distance apart as the Pratten. Despite the fact that it has the same bore as a modern flute, the combination of the more oval cut of the smaller embouchure hole and the fact that the toneholes are much smaller than on the modern silver flute, together make for a tonal quality which is more similar to the tone of the earlier flutes. Due to the Boehm bore, these flutes have an easier response in the third octave which can be an advantage for some players used to the modern Boehm flute.
As of March 2013, I no longer offer the Boehm bore model all in delrin. The current model of this style of flute still has the Boehm bore head-joint in delrin but the bodies are now made from aluminium tubing. The overall dimensions of the flute and the bore, tonehole diameters and spacing, remain the same. The body is currently made with a joint in the centre, so it’s also a 3-piece flute.
These are generally cut as a fairly wide oval, a design which gives a good compromise between the reedy, “dark” tone preferred for the Irish traditional blowing style on the one hand and ease of playing on the other.
In the Irish style of blowing, a player will tend to cover more of the embouchure hole with the lower lip and direct the airstream in a downward direction to the blowing edge of the embouchure hole. This tends to reinforce the presence of the upper harmonics in the note played and is a strong contributing factor in the production of the “darker” tone associated with this style of flute playing. Tone production on a flute is in any case heavily dependent on the player’s own embouchure and way of blowing, which vary considerably from one person to the next.
A sound clip and some other short sound samples can be found on the Prices/Contact page – just below the prices.
TUNING SLIDES AND TUNING RINGS
All my flutes are in D – that is the note sounded with all six toneholes covered and they are tuned for concert pitch with A at 440Hz. This means that they can be used to play music in the key of D and G and the related minor keys which covers most of Irish traditional music. The tuning can be adjusted by way of the traditional metal tuning slide or by the use of a tuning ring.
The flutes I make without the traditional metal tuning slide are tunable by simply extending the head on the top joint tenon. Usually if a flute does not have a thin-walled metal tuning slide, it will have a smaller tuning range which may not be enough for many players. The headjoint on a flute without a tuning slide can only be extended by a few millimetres or so before turbulence caused by the thickness of the tenon walls may start to cause problems for the player. This happens because a gap is opened up in the bore due to the thickness of the tenon walls. Some notes can start to go out of tune and the response will suffer. An advantage of the delrin is that the tenon walls can be made thinner but I also include a tuning ring to improve on this. I make a short ring, 5mm long, which has walls the same thickness as the tenon in order to help fill the gap in the bore caused by pulling out the tenon while tuning.
So if the player needs to extend the head by 5mm or more, for regular playing, then keeping the 5mm ring in place will help to straighten out any issues that might otherwise occur due to turbulence. This gives a useful tuning range of up to around 10mm extension and ensures that the gap in the bore need not be more than 5mm or so, keeping the problem of turbulence to a minimum.
This system isn’t as convenient to use as the metal tuning slide but it simplifies the construction of the flute and reduces the cost.
ROLL OR POUCH FOR FLUTES
This is a padded pouch for the flute. The material on the outside is a hard-wearing cloth used for covering seating and which has a fleece lining on the inside to pad the flute. With the flute joints in the pockets, the pouch becomes a compact, well-padded roll secured by two straps.