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Panflute is very personal, non-standardized musical instrument. It may seems very simple, even primitive for beginner. "Tubes and corks". But panflute, as any other musical instrument, has many aspects, features, tricks. For musician so features form reason for choosing one or another instrument. Understanding of flute's feature, conscious choosing of certain construction is  a «prerogative» for panflutists; and player can do some modifications of panflute construction by oneself. Another flutists couldn't afford so "luxury".

Choosing of personal, most reasonable panflute is like a «designing», selection of options available. And in so way you can manage cost of instrument.

Range

Nai’s lowest note is the defining one for its size:  

Size, Lowest tube

Upper tube

Number of tubes

Description

Soprano,  g1

g4

20

Most often used in folk music. Soprano is considered a classical size for a Romanian nai. Two and half octaves of most loud and controllable sound.

Alto,

 g1

c4 or d4

18-19, short alto

The majority of folk and Baroque melodies  are two octaves. Short alto is of service, as the first, for amateurs because this size have not most loud pitches. But many professionals (for example Damian Dragici) prefer short instruments. Short alto is most "tasty" range of panflute, compromise of timber and technical possibilities.

g4

22, full alto

"Workhorse" of professional panflutist, most popular size, as adding just two tubes greatly extends the instrument’s capacities in the repertoire of classical flute music and enables full demonstration of the original panflute timbre.

Tenor,

 d1

c4 or d4

21-22, short tenor

Short tenor is a choice for players, who want to "transpose" working range of instrument somewhat lower in order to demonstrate the original panflute timbre. But  its hard to play half-tones on long tubes. So flute is heavier, inert.

g4

25, full tenor

Full tenor is needed only for performes, who play pieces that have bigger range than three octaves of alto or short tenor. Think thrice before order so size/type.

Bass,

g of small octave

g4

22

Bass is expensive toy what is used very rare by panflutists because lower octave is too inconvenient for play alterations. Bass most often is used for "special effects", for making performances more various.

You can also choose not "standard" range of panflute, but any you want. The more tubes are longer the higher is a price of panflute.

Acoustics

Inner Diameters of Tubes, Models

Models are systems of tubes inner diameters. Currently we worked out several models (or "systems"), what are oriented for different music styles and different sound timbers and playing possibilities.

Model

Description

"All-purpose"

Model is worked out for:

   -  advanced self-teaching persons;

   -  students of musical school  and  и conservatories;

   -  performers, who plays in different music styles on one instrument.

In this model  natural dynamic over the range is smoothed, sound elicitation on upper range is easier. Model is oriented on "Zamfir" mouthpieces that are turn into mixed type on lower part of panflute range.

"Europe"

Model imitate common panflutes  of European  panflutemakers (Marek Tesluk, Ulrich Herkenhoff and other), inner diameters matching is close to exponential function. In other word, model for those who are afraid to try something new. Model is oriented on "classic" mouthpieces. g1 — 16,3 mm, f#4 — 8,2 mm.

"Moldavia"

Model is worked out as simulant of Peter Zaharia (moldavian master) panflutes. For those who like to play so instruments. Wide upper tubes (f#4 9 mm), relatively thin long tubes (g1  15,7 mm). Model is oriented on "Zamfir" mouthpieces.

If you are not aware of impact of inner diameters on sound timber and playing possibilities then just choose  "All-purpose" model. This model is a good choice for panflute you are going to present for somebody.

If you realize fully the impact of inner diameters then you can order even unique instrument with unique (your own) system (we will work out it on your own whishes). But so instrument will cost more (plus 50-100 USD), because we will need to by drills and order mouldings.

Mouthpieces and Labium

Mouthpieces - second important factor of timber and technical possibilities. Types of mouthpieces:

Models are oriented to certain types of mouthpieces (even to certain combination of mouthpieces types), but you can specify type of mouthpieces more convenient for you (same price).

Tube labium can be both sharp and a bit dulled, and for "mixed" and "Zamfir" mouthpieces it's possible to decrease angle of labium (hissing is louder).

Key

Usually unfamiliar to panflute people think that nai can be retuned and they can tune panflute in any key. It is not the case. Selecting system of tubes' inner diameters of smartly designed panflutes implies tuning only in one key. Panflutebuilder helps to player to eliminate of "neighbouring halftone problem".

All our panflutes are designed with taking into account tuning in G major. It's a common key of Romanian/Moldavian nai. If you want to order panflute in another key, it will cost few dollars more.

Tuning

Flutes are tuned with bee wax. All flutes are tuned very approximately and needed in tuning by player. All flutes have "reserve" of length, near 1 cm of wax. So "reserve" let player to modify mouthpieces. It can be enlarged, but enlarging will inevitably increase flute's weight, because wax is most heavy material of panflute.

Smoothness of Inner Surfaces

Smoothness/roughness of tubes inner surfaces corresponds to timber aspect that often erroneously is ascribed to material of tubes.

Smooth surface makes tube more responsive and gives typical "glass/metal" timber.

Uneven/rough surface insignificantly reduces high  harmonics and flute sound became more «wooden». Varying degree of smoothness, it's possible achieve one or another "timber color": "as a bamboo", "as fine woods".

External Diameters (Walls Thickness)

Wall thickness defines how the mouthpieces serve as “support” for the lips.

Ergonomics And Style

A panflute is not just a set of mutually related acoustic parameters of internal channels, mouthpieces and labiums. It is also an object, that must be comfortable for the panflutist to hold and manipulate. And it must be durable.

Glueing of Tubes

Tubes can be adjusted each other by "gutter" or "plane" surfaces. The former is more simple for maker (and cheaper), but wall thickness between tubes is bigger (that's why in so way only student flutes are glued).

Instrument's Curve

The more panflute is curved the more player head involved in movement. For most of our panflutes we use curve with radius 23 cm, for full tenor - 26 cm (it's it is inconvenient to play on "wide" instrument with small radius of curve).

Belt or Basement

It's possible to fasten tubes with belt or to make a basement. Belt is cheaper, suitable for moving corks. Basement makes panflute more strong. Basement can be cutted in tubes (comfortable holding), or not.

Ergonomic Elements

its possible to make figured elements (ribs, cover plate) of basement on extrime tubes of panflute and basement; they make holding of panflute more comfortable. Presence of so elements rise a price a little, but the result  is worth the money.

Decreasing of Weight

Weight of panflute can be decreased by making walls of tubes thinner (near mouthpieces external diameters still wide). It's option reasonable only for heavy woods.

Materials

For tubes we use several species of wood (usefull in processing and cheap). Choosing of tubes material is issue of general style (not sound timber!).

 

Beech

Just useful pinkish-yellow wood. Homogeneous structure, good  processibility. Aesthetically acceptable with basement of mahogany, amaranth, yarra.

Клен [Maple]

Maple

Light-yellow, relatively colourless wood without marked structure. Maple is good in processing and light-weight wood. With time maple gets  more yellow "noble" color.

Сапеле (Sapele)

Sapele

Cheap  fine reddish-brown wood. At a distance it seems homogeneous, but а closely look show clear structure with longitudinal lines. After varnishing gets little "nacre effect".

Орех дальневосточный<br>[Walnut, Far East]

Far Eastern Walnut

Very lightweight grey-brown wood with restrained figure.

 

You can also choose any other woods for tubes (look here).

Material for basement or belt (veneer) doesn't impact  price, you can choose any wood or even woods combination (look here).

Varnish

Varnish can be glossy or matt. We use urethane-alkyd varnish. It's very durable and scratch resistant, harmless to human  health.

Other

Left-handed or right-handed. You can order left-handed (long tubes in left hand) panflute (no extracosts)

Lacquering/polishing of moutpieces. Mouthpieces from player's side may be polished (very useful to play with a drop of oil on your low lip), but also they may be more coarse (some players  feel uncomfortable  when playing polished mouthpieces). You can make them more coarse by yourself (fine sandpaper), so it's  reasonable to order polished mouthpieces.

Personal marks and note on the instrument. We can put your individual marks on panflute with special printer.

Your Own Ideas

You are welcome to realize any your own ideas in ordered panflute.

 

 

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