Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

I am trying out two flutes - both are great. Both 5 piece (inc tuning slide) and made of African blackwood. One is barrel type and the other has bulbous joins for the bottom two pieces.

The bulbous flute seems to be slightly more dense wood than the barrel type - and creates a sweet, rounded tone.

The barrel-type creates a slightly dryer more reedy tone, and seems to takes a little more warming up to get to going if you know what I mean.

This is probably a matter of personal preference, but does anyone have an opinion or thoughts on which type of flute I should go for if the decision were based just on the difference in tone (Sweet and rounded or dry and reeded)?

Thanks

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Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

Another difference is that on the flute that seems to create a sweeter less reedy tone, I seem to be able to hit the 3rd octave notes easier.

Does anyone know if there is correlation between difference in tone and the ability to hit higher notes more easily?

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Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

Is the "dry and reedy" one a Pratten style and the "sweet and rounded" one a Rudall&Rose style?

As you said, it is a matter of personal taste.
That said,
I think a good flute should let you the opportunity of playing either ways.
I would go for the flute that is easier to get a nice tone and volume with.

I can play reedy just by reducing the airstream and focusing it on the right spot (that’s how I play most of the time). Or I can play in a sweeter way by releasing the pressure and opening the space between my lips.
My flute sits somewhere between Praten and Rudall.

Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

Both Rudall and Rose

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Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

"Does anyone know if there is correlation between difference in tone and the ability to hit higher notes more easily?"
There is, some makers "sacrifice" the third octave to get the tone they’re looking for in the first octave.
It has been discussed here https://thesession.org/discussions/26597

Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

Dry and reedy should be up to you. I wouldn’t want that quality by default.

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Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

You can’t get too dry and reedy for my tastes. But that’s my taste.

Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

I’d go for dry and reedy one, if I were looking for a flute for ITM. Opposite for French & Baroque.

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Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

The choice is entirely up to you. Without any preconception of which sound is " best," choose the one that speaks to you. 🙂

Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

I’ve seen musicians get a reedy tune out of a flute that I play more sweet/rounded, so I believe it is mostly a choice and a skill. But, also some flutes might encourage reedy and others sweet.

Maybe the question is whether the flute provides a more malleable tone - one that you can make reedy or not as you desire.

Re: Dry and reedy or sweet and rounded

I would definitely go for the flute which lets me produce a wider range of tones. If a flute will play well with a lot of different approaches then I can usually find any particular tone quality that I want. The technical name for these flutes is "good flutes".

One of the most important qualities is responsiveness - do you feel you have to fight the flute to get sound out of it or does it spring to life before your lips with the slightest of encouragement? Also, how quickly will it move from one note to another? Try doing DEDFEGDADBDAEGEFEDE in both octaves with no articulation.

And if you really want to judge the flute on the sound you get out of it right now then record yourself and listen to that. What you hear while playing can be deceptive.

Having a good in tune third octave is important - the overtones are an important part of the tone of the lower notes too. This doesn’t mean that you automatically know which is the best third octave fingering for that flute either - almost all of them require some experimentation to find what works best. I have a (several) flute with a good third octave and a good lower octave, so I am not a particular believer in the "sacrifice" theory.