Transverse flute – Buying Guide, Opinions and Analysis
If you really want to get a quality experience when playing the transverse flute, you need to pay close attention to acquire the correct model. The market has several alternatives that vary in size, manufacturer and materials; however, deciding on one or the other is entirely up to the musician. For students there are outstanding models such as the Yamaha YFL-222 , a lightweight flute made with resistant materials to withstand constant use, or instruments such as the Roy Benson rbfl102 , a flute adapted to children with simple mechanisms and a small size. However, while there are very good student options, professionals can also find a quality flute if they search for one.
Buying the right flute depends on making sure you take note of the things necessary to choose a model that can work properly and suits your level of musical knowledge. For that reason, this decision should not be taken lightly and it is necessary to consider different characteristics before choosing the correct alternative.
In the guide to buying the best transverse flute, it is necessary to take into account different qualities and important aspects, however, probably the most relevant thing to keep in mind is whether the chosen instrument is suitable for your level of instruction.
Achieving mastery in the interpretation of the flute is difficult, therefore, there are student flutes and others of intermediate or professional quality. Although they all look the same from a distance, when paying attention it is possible to notice certain small differences in their structure that affect use.
For example, professional flutes have more keys than student flutes, since the latter are made to suit younger flute players and allow them to become familiar with the most used notes before learning the more complicated ones. In addition to that, the instruments usually have small modifications to the top to facilitate blowing.
In this sense, learning flutes also have differences in alignment. The female students, following the French model, provide completely linear keys, which forces learners to stretch their fingers more and obtain greater motor skills. However, the professionals, following the German model, offer misaligned keys that better adapt to the natural shape of the hand.
Finally, depending on the manufacturer, you can obtain a structure with a Do leg or a Si leg. The difference between the two structures is that the second one offers the possibility of playing an extra note, the low B, but since it is not a note that is used frequently, it is not considered very important.
When you decide to look at all the options and make a comparison of transverse flutes, you should give priority to verifying the operation that these instruments offer. Depending on the manufacturer, after the flute and the level of instruction required, the way in which the instruments are operated and used varies.
The easiest thing to notice is that there are two types of keys, those that are closed and those that are not. This, initially, does not affect the sound, but as people perfect their art it is necessary to use open-key flutes, since plugging the holes at your convenience provides a greater musical range. Therefore, if you want an effective preparation to take the step and use the flute in a professional way, then it is advisable to purchase a product with open keys. This also improves the effectiveness of the fingers when playing.
The most modern models come with the holes but also have plugs to cover them, if desired. This allows for double use.
On the other hand, it is preferable to acquire flutes with quick and responsive keys. Otherwise, more pressure may be needed to obtain results. And, finally, the use can also be made easier when cleaning and storing the flute if it is removable. Therefore, it may be a good idea to purchase a model that allows this.
Flutes tend to be expensive instruments, due to the difficulty involved in making them and the attention to detail provided by the best brands, so that you can enjoy a good sound; Therefore, it is advisable not only to look at how much the instrument costs but to get more for the same amount of money.
While some flutes come alone in one purchase, other offerings come with a variety of accessories that can maximize the benefit and experience gained from the instrument. For example, the most common accessory is the cover. This, in addition to protecting the flute from falls and shocks, also offers an easy and safe way to move the instrument everywhere.
Other accessories that are worth considering when trying to find a good and inexpensive option are the cleaning rods and cloth. The first item is used to remove accumulated saliva on the inside of the instrument, while the second accessory can be used for this and to polish the outside.
Although these three items are the most common, some models also include other accessories. For example, some student flutes wear gloves to play the instruments more professionally in some musical performances.
Frequently asked questions
Q1: How to use transverse flute?
To start using a transverse flute it is necessary to learn the position of the fingers to produce each of the musical notes. That way, you’ll have more speed actually doing it.
Place the flute on its side and bring your mouth towards the hole, without completely sticking the lips together. Using your diaphragm, take in air and let it out of your mouth, marking the notes with your fingers.
The force of the air influences the nuances of the sound, which is why professional flute players can control their diaphragms very precisely. The tongue is also involved at times, articulating sounds correctly. In this way the transverse flute is used.
Q2: Who invented the transverse flute?
The transverse flute is also known as the Böhm flute, as it was the German flute player Theobald Böhm who, studying new techniques, managed to perfect the instrument in 1832. Due to this, he is considered the inventor of this specific type of flute.
Q3: How is the sound produced on the transverse flute?
The beautiful sound that distinguishes the transverse flute today was the result of years of research by the German Böhm, therefore the internal mechanism is complex, but gives unique results.
The way the flute works is by making the air circulate within its cylindrical structure after blowing. These vibrations together with the controlled air vents when covering some valves produce the sound that characterizes the instrument.
Q4: What key is the transverse flute in?
The transverse flute is tuned to C 4 and this makes it one of the highest flutes in the family of these instruments.
Q5: What is the highest transverse flute in the family?
In the family of transverse flutes, the instrument with the highest register is the piccolo. This item, also known as a piccolo flute, is made with a C 5 tuning, unlike the concert transverse flute that is made with a C 4 tuning.
However, although the piccolo is the sharpest instrument in the family, it is not used frequently. Therefore, the concert flute is usually considered to be responsible for the high tones.
Q6: How to make a homemade transverse flute?
Transverse flutes are instruments that require delicate manufacturing processes to achieve the sound that characterizes them, therefore, if you want a flute to practice and improve, then it is necessary to acquire an instrument from a recognized brand.
Homemade flutes are only recommended for fun and practice manual skills.
One way to make a transverse flute is by finding a PVC pipe, a cork, and having the following tools at hand: a saw, a meter, and a knife.
Take the meter and measure 33 cm from the end of the tube to make a mark. Proceed to cut with the saw, while you use the knife to clean the hole. On top of that, cut the cork to 17mm.
From the first hole in the tube, measure 2.9 centimeters and mark. Exactly at that point he opens a hole with the knife. Insert the cork and blow through the hole using a tuner, this device should mark C. That way you will know that the cork is in the right place, as it gives the proper tuning.
When tuning properly, draw an end-to-end line down the center. From the farthest side to the hole mark at the point 5.5 cm, 8.4 cm, 10 cm, 12.8 cm, 14.9 cm and 17.1 cm. In those places you will open a hole and, when finished, you will be able to use the flute.
Q7: How to clean a transverse flute?
One of the most important keys to keeping a transverse flute in good condition is its cleanliness, since, due to the constant contact with the mouth and the passage of saliva, this instrument could deteriorate if it is given poor care.
It is necessary to remember that the proper cleaning of a flute should always be done in parts, as it is the only way in which you can take care of each area and leave it impeccable. Because of this, before you start cleaning, detach the flute to handle each part individually.
The vast majority of flutes come with cleaning rods of the right size to reach the most difficult parts and thus keep the instrument in good condition.
Remember that to avoid damaging the flute, it is a good idea not to press the keys while you are cleaning. Always be careful with this.