French Arms

The arms of the keys connect the key “cup” (which holds the pad) to the key hinge tube. A typical key has an arm that connects to the back side of the cup. French arms connect at the back and across the top of the key, ending in a nice point in the center of the cup. French arms are not found on the keys French Armsthat have openholes. Because French arm keys look elegant, they are sometimes dismissed as a cosmetic attraction. While the appearance is pleasing, my respect for this feature goes beyond aesthetics. French arms are indicative of a higher level of flute building. They require more skill, time, and precision. A company using pointed keys requires better technique for padding the instrument because the assembler cannot tilt the key to and fro to achieve a proper seal. The musician can play with a nice light touch because the arm takes the pressure of the fingered key and applies it directly to the center of the pad – not the back.


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