Thursday, August 29, 2013

The Distance Between...

One of the questions that our Repair Technician, Rachel Baker, gets asked quite frequently is about changing the pitch on a flute.  Many people have flutes pitched at A-440 and want to change them to A-442.  So, the question posed to her by many customers is, "Can we just cut the headjoint and shorten it up a bit to change my flute over to A-442?"

Unfortunately, it's the positioning of the tone holes on the
body and the length of the body that determine the scale and pitch of the flute.  In fact, it is the placement of the tone holes in relation to each other that truly make the scale of the instrument.  So, cutting the headjoint would really not affect anything.  If you think about a piccolo, the length of the body is much shorter than that of a flute -- and the tone holes are much smaller.  However, the tone holes are placed in a relative distance between each other to allow for the instrument to have the appropriate scale and pitch.

Powell instruments currently use the Powell scale, which is a modified Cooper scale.  The development of this scale was discussed in a previous post here at  The Powell Scale is available on all Powell flutes, whether they are pitched at A-440, 442, or 444.  The scale is also available on all flutes, whether they have drawn or soldered tone holes. 

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