One thing I have learned since coming to work at the Indy Flute Shop just over two years ago is this: there are a mind-blowing number of options available to customize your flute to your needs! Silver content, lip plate shapes and materials, silver mechanisms, engravings, key features–you name it, somebody has requested it! This can make shopping for a new flute both exciting and perhaps just a little bit terrifying. Over the next few weeks, I’m going to be highlighting some of the most popular features of flutes that are available here in the shop. This week, we’ll be discussing the split E mechanism.
The split E mechanism is a feature that is available on several step-up (intermediate) level flutes, as well as most higher-end instruments. This key option uses an additional rod and lever, permitting the lower G key to close when high E is played. Closing the lower G key and fingering high E decreases venting and brings more stability to the note with a faster response and without the “cracking” effect that many players struggle with, especially when leaping up into the higher register from the middle. This feature is very convenient and easy to transition to because there is virtually nothing different that is done by the player–the mechanism works on its own. The addition of the extra rod does add just a bit of extra weight, but it is marginal. Check out a visual of the split E mechanism below, provided by Miyazawa Flutes:
The split E mechanism cannot be added to an existing flute, but many brands offer it as a standard to their intermediate instruments, or players can opt for a model with one. Generally, the addition of this mechanism costs an extra $150-$200. As I mentioned before, there are 4 models of step-up flutes that come with the split E mechanism standard: the Yamaha Allegro 371 and 471, and the Azumi 2 and 3 series. For more information about these models, as well as a chart visualizing the options available on all flutes in the IFS, check out the “instruments” page here.