What is the point of having a low B foot?

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eslyssa
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Joined: Sun Aug 29, 2004 12:13 am
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Post by eslyssa » Tue Sep 13, 2005 2:30 am

Well, I play with a B-foot all the time, and also with open-holes.

For starters, I play a lot of modern stuff, which -does- use low B, and, although many will disagree with me, I think it makes a noticeably richer tone, by being that little bit longer. You know the difference you get with an alto flute? That, for lack of a better word, richer tone? Something like that, though not as distinct. Also, I adore my gizmo key. I was playing on my C-foot flute while my other was in for servicing, and it was really noticeable.

As for the open holes, longterm, there's not that much of a reason for it - unless someone has really short/small fingers, and can't cover -all- of them. Personally, I'm always a bit cynical of someone who plays with plugs longterm when they don't need to - it seems lazy, or something. I do think that open-holes makes a difference in tone, but again, some will argue that it's not noticeably different.

The other reason that you might use plugs - and this is something I've just found out - is with injuries. I broke my right wrists recently, and when it was all plastered up, do you think I could reliably cover all the holes? So I just used plugs in the right hand. (Of course, explaining to the doctor that I wasn't going to "rest up" on my wrist for two months... but that's another story.)

I make use of my open holes all the time. Even apart from the occasional modern piece with glisses, there are quartertones - most of which you can't do with plateau - which you achieve by "venting", which is when you press down the key but don't cover the hole or partly cover it.

That's also really useful for tuning, sometimes. If you have a really high/low note with either really loud/soft dynamics, sometimes it is extremely difficult to pitch the note accurately. By venting one or more keys, or adding another, that sort of thing can be adjusted.

Anyway. You cam see that I'm not going to be convinced - I love mine.

Cheers,
E.
Flute: n., a sophisticated pea shooter with a range of up to 500 yards, blown transversely to confuse the enemy.

cfootfan
Posts: 4
Joined: Sat Sep 22, 2018 10:04 am

Re: What is the point of having a b foot in-line G open hole flute ?

Post by cfootfan » Sat Sep 22, 2018 1:23 pm

I think the B foot flute is highly overrated. I don't see the sense of it. I agree with some responses that it is more of a "status" thing. We go to all this trouble to lengthen a c foot flute to make it a b foot. The added length affects the tonal quality of the instrument and so we have to add a Gizmo key to compensate for fourth octace C - a note which is almost never played. B foot flutes lose some of the brightness of tone in the third octave because of the added length of the instrument. You rarely or never see the acquired b note in musical scores. In the end we have gone to great lengths (NPI) - all for a measly half step ! You don't even get a whole step out of it. What is the point and what was ever wrong with c foot flutes that sent us on such a ridiculous path to acquire a a half step lower note that we barely ever use. Absurd.

Regarding open hole flutes. Can't see the sense of those either. Yes some flutists come up with arguments as to better tonal quality but is that tonal quality SO superior that we end up with open hole flutes whose players end up plugging some or even all of the open holes ? I know three professional flutists who have plugged most or all of the open holes in their flutes. Open hole flutes are uncomfortable and harder to play. Why would anyone torture themselves for such a small difference in tone ? Can the people in the audience tell the difference ? NO !

Offset G flutes - now this was a smart idea ! Flute snobs argue that the offset G mechanism interferes with the overall balance of holding the instrument. I will even go as far as to say that there might be some small truth to this matter. However the difference is so slight that the added awkwardness of accomodating an in-line G mechanism is - in the end - not worth the difference. The offset G mechanism is designed to accommodate the basic physiology that some of our fingers are longer than others. In the end, the offset G flute is more comfortable to play. Simple as that !

Flute players need to stop whining about the inadequacy of C foot, closed hole, offset G flutes and get over themselves. It is musical esotericism run amok !!! Be happy, be comfortable, and enjoy playing a closed hole c- foot offset G flute. Is it really so bad after all ? I don't think so.

JakeMusicMan
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Joined: Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:28 pm

Re: What is the point of having a low B foot?

Post by JakeMusicMan » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:49 pm

Hello SaraBeth, I have been playing flute for the last 55 years. I have compared C foot to B foot models many times. The difference to me is primarily in the tone color of the B note itself. It's not an easy note to hit if you have a B foot joint flute, it takes some specialized practice to get it nice and clear. But, if you play any kind of improvised music, the tone color and expressive quality of that low B in a performance is really special. It is particularly lovely when used for example as a final note at the end of a sensitive Jazz ballad (if it fits the chord...), or when you are playing sustained notes as an accompaniment. For classical, I agree it has very few applications. I have not noticed any difference in sound quality for low D, C# and C whether on a C foot or B foot joint. But you should try it sometime and give it a few hours of practice....It is probably my favorite note to play, especially in the low register..
I also have experience with the plugs, as I now have Carpel Tunnel Syndrome and the numbness in my fingers makes playing an open hole without plugs impossible. But the plugs literally saved my career. Not a bad thing for something that costs like $2.50 Now I play with the plugs and it works just fine!! I don't even know they are there. I used to complain about the scarcity of good quality closed hole flutes, but that's why they made the plugs so universally available...

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