|Frequently Asked Questions
|Fingering Hole Sizes
The fingering holes on my flute are all different sizes. Is this correct or should they all be the same size?
Fingering hole sizes depend on what the flute maker's intension's were when the flute was created. Many flutes can be created with fingering holes that are all the same size whereas some will be easier to finger if different fingering hole sizes are utilized so that they are brought closer together. Flutes that are intentionally created in these ways are fine!
However, if fingering hole sizes differ because of instrument tuning, problems will occur. Whenever a flute is created there are maximum and minimum fingering hole sizes that must NOT be exceeded, not only for correct tuning of the primary scale but also for decent sounding primary and cross-fingered notes. If a flute maker has a problem tuning a particular fingering hole and he/she increases the hole beyond the maximum hole size, the flute will neither play well nor tune correctly. The only way to keep within the minimum/maximum fingering hole sizes is to correctly calculate the precise placement of the holes themselves so that hacking away at fingering holes, in order to force the hole into tune, is not at all necessary.
Similarly, a very small fingering hole amidst others that are larger can also create problems. If a flute maker is not aware of maximum and minimum fingering hole sizes and creates a flute with such a hole that is smaller than the minimum hole size, then that note will play badly and, quite often, very noticeably quieter than the other notes of the flute.
Note: It is worth mentioning that the maximum and minimum fingering hole sizes will, amongst other things, depend on the bore size and 'key' of the flute being created.