KIM & SYMPATHIA
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This section is where I talk shop and explain some of the details of the instrument for those who already know about flutes.
The Sympathia is a fairly narrow flute. While I hemmed and hawed over what width I wanted the bore to be, eventually the decision was made by the practical consideration of the tools that were available. In the end, I have been very pleased with the results this has given me. The only downside to the final product, as I see it, is the volume of the low octave. However, there is also the value, to me, of having a softer upper octave, so maybe there is no downside at all.
The tone has turned out to have the "biggness" of a low Aspect Ratio flute, probably owing to the meer size of the bore. Although it is actually a high AR flute, just being an enormous instrument means that there is a biggness to the tone. Although, there is a "boom" to the notes higher on the bore that isn't present on the low end of the bore.
The stopper position is crazy. It is backed off significantly from the embouchure in a way that far exceeds the normal distance. While this attenuates some of the third octave notes that I would otherwise have, it gives power to the first octave that would otherwise not be present.
The embouchure I built with beeswax, and will eventhally replace with something harder. I didn't approach this task with the idea of wanting a shakuhachi-style utaguchi, or a quena-style or Bohem-style embouchure, but armed with the knowledge of how all of these are made, and the variations that produce different features of playability, I simply built the embouchure in the way that produced the playability that I wanted, namely a compromise between adequate power in the lowest notes, with the ability to change the tone qualilty significantly. The result resembles the embouchures on bass, and lower, Bohem-type flutes, with enormous wings and sharply sloped fronts, all of which gives power, and helps make it possible to focus the breath into a very large flute, from a human being who has remained the same size. My enbouchure, however, has a much larger hole, which requires significantly more breath, but is suitable for both this instrument and my playing style. It's just what produces the best results. The larger Bohem-style flutes are created for doublers who may not be thrilled about having to develop a new embouchure (the human's) for the sake of playing a bass line in a flute orchestra. My instrument, however, is for solo play, and is my primary instrument, so the requirements are different.
The keywork has resulted in a great deal of mechanisation on the Sympathy. It is a completely chromatic instrument but some notes are easier to play than others. The F-nat, for example, is played with my knee. I hardly have a need to play an F-nat so, this is hardly an issue, and the key is flat, which gives me a way to rest the instrument on my knee. The keys were necessary not just for reach, but to make the holes as large as possible, giving me a tone and power that I liked. The downside, of course, is that it doesn't give me direct contact with the holes and so limits the expressiveness possible from partially covering holes. But this is a necessary price to pay for a flute for the low pitched range that I wanted. Other mechanical tricks had to be employed to make the keys function, such fishing wire taking the movement from the upper end of the flute to the lower end, with pully mechanisms, aluminum tape to reduce friction, and a jewelry clasp to allow for when the flute is dismantled. Oh, I'll write more about this another time.
The strings are probably the most visually striking part of the instrument while creating a subtle effect. The