Some blind test had led to the following results: Materials cannot change the flute sound. Focusing on such topics, I will introduce some of the truth of the flute.
Modern flutes are made of wood, nickel silver, silver, gold or platinum, etc. A lot of musicians and listener feel different sounds of flute depending on the material. Many sellers, described as if the sound is different depending on the material, sell expensive flutes.
But, James Galway says "I cannot tell the difference (of materials) when I am listening to someone play." And, Marce Moyse has continued to play with nickel silver flutes of his life. Hiroaki Kanda, principal flutist of the current NHK, is using the wooden flute.
Like the audio, I was thinking we may have been put on the cajolery of the seller. In fact, there is some experimental results that we cannot tell the difference of materials of flutes. I introduce them.
The following are the results of of blind tests.
The result is here:
|instrument||sound quality (averaged)||Brahms||Bizet|
|9 carat gold||2.16||+ + + +||+ + + + + + -|
|24 carat gold||2.38||+ + + - -||+ + + - - - -|
|Platinum||2.60||+ - - - -||+ + + + - - -|
|silver coated||2.66||+ + + + + - -||+ + + + + - - - -|
|platinum coated||2.79||+ + + -||+ + - -|
|14 carat gold||2.79||+ + + - - -||+ +|
|full silver||2.92||+ - -||+ + - - - -|
The evaluation of the sound quality showed a very small range: the values for all instruments can be found between 2.16 and 2.92. In addition to the evaluation of the sound quality, the test persons were free to use a “+” for “I like it” and a “?” for “I don’t like it”. The following table points out the listeners’ preference depending on the played music.
Tests with experienced professional flutists and listeners and one model of a flute made by Muramatsu from 7 different materials showed no evidence that the wall material has any appreciable effect on the sound color or dynamic range of the instrument. The common stereotypes used by flutists and flute makers are exposed as “stereotypes”.