Friday, February 20, 2015

Closed Hole Keys - Part II

In last week's post, we addressed one of the questions a customer with closed hole keys had about changing over to open hole keys.  As you'll recall, this was not something that our repair technician recommended, since an entirely new mechanism would have to be built and retrofitted to the body.

The next two questions the customer had involved the flute's scale.  Specifically, he asked the following, (1) Does a flute with closed hole keys have a different scale than one with open hole keys? (2) Does a flute with an offset G have a different scale than a flute with an inline G?  The answer to both of the questions is the same -- no difference.  The scale is the same whether the flute has closed hole or open hole keys, and the scale is also the same for flutes with an offset or inline G.  Why is this?  Well, it's actually quite simple.  The scale is determined by the relative distance between tone holes.  You might remember this from a previous post on the Flute Builder blog, which you can read by following this link.  So, the type of key (closed or open hole) would have no affect on scale.  Also, even though the position of the G tone holes on an offset G flute are different from the position of the tone holes on one with an inline G, the relative distance allows for both configurations to have the same scale.


  1. I know this is an old open hole better than closed hole? Inquiring minds want to know. Was hoping to see this question answered once and for all. Thank you for all the great posts

  2. The statement about scales on closed and open holes being the same is outrageous - you are ignoring simple laws of acoustics in which the open keycup is producing a sharpening effect. Might want to double check the notes of Albert Cooper, William Bennett, Trevor Wye and others.

    1. "Mr. Gurstis, thank you for your comments regarding our article on Closed Hole Keys. There are many ways to modify the scale of an instrument besides the position of the tone holes. While our scale (or the position of the toneholes) is not varied due to the style of the cups, our venting, undercutting and key heights are all modified to compensate for any pitch variations. The end result are closed hole flutes that play as well in-tune as our standard French cup models. If you are interested in testing an instrument to evaluate the scale yourself, please send us your information privately."


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