I build all my flutes to meet concert quality performance. If you're an experienced musician you know why this is important. You'll have a clear sounding instrument that is fun and easy to play, and you'll be able to play in tune together with other instruments.
Concert quality performance
A flute is either in tune, or it is out of tune. To ensure the quality of my instruments I tune them according to western concert standards, applying the following set of rules:
- Able to play all of the chromatic notes in its range, with exception of the minor second
- Tuned with equal temperament note spacing of 100 cents, max. deviation 5-10 cents
- In tune at 40-60% relative humidity
- In tune at room temperature 20-22°C (68-72°F equivalent)
- Tuned to A=440Hz or A=432Hz reference at medium breath pressure.
Pentatonic & full chromatic scale
Native American flutes are usually tuned to a basic pentatonic minor scale with five (or six) notes (penta meaning five in Greek) and five (or six) holes: one hole for every note in the scale. On top of this, Prana flutes have a chromatic tuning meaning they will play an additional seven notes, for a total of twelve notes (chroma = twelve in Greek) per octave.
All notes in the pentatonic scale are in perfect harmony so you cannot play mistakes. Hence they're accessible for beginner players, and easy to improvise on. But whilst this pentatonic scale is beautiful in its simplicity, it is limited.
Playing western music on a standard pentatonic flute is often impossible, because it's missing more than half of the notes. With the additional chromatic tuning, Prana Flutes are easy to play as any other pentatonic flute, while having a much wider range of notes (12 instead of 5) giving your flute extensive musical capabilities, including a variety of different scales.
432Hz, 440Hz & other frequencies
Every quality instrument is tuned to a reference frequency. The international standard reference for musical instruments is A=440Hz. This means that all instruments that are tuned to this reference will play in tune together. So if you're looking to play together with other musicians, 440Hz is your advised tuning.
However a flute can be tuned to any other reference. 432Hz is an alternative tuning, said to be more in balance with the earth and the human body. 432Hz tuning is therefore widely used in music healing & therapy, shamanism, and meditation/yogic practices. If any of these practices is what you're planning on using your Native american flute for, 432Hz is your frequency.
If you're looking for a flute tuned to any other specific tuning (444Hz, 415Hz,...) just get in touch and let me know what tuning your prefer. I make custom flutes also. To see which flutes I have readily available take a look in my flute store.
When playing outdoors, wind can interfere with your flute, at times making it even impossible to make a sound. To counteract this effect my flutes have a windshield designed in the block. It is the two parallel extensions coming out of the down side of the block protecting both sides of the 'True Sound Hole'.
This design makes a big difference when playing while there is a light breeze, making my flutes enjoyable to play and perform outdoors. Keep in mind however you are still playing a wind instrument, and it is impossible to cancel out all wind influence.
If you want to know more about the way I make my flutes and the step-by-step process I go through when crafting them, read my page on how I make flutes.