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Flute/Flute d'Amour question


Dear Mr. Smith,

I just came across your excellent response in 2011 to a question on the flute d'Amour and have just contacted Altus and Sankyo regarding trials and possible purchase.

Are there other technical or sound differences between the Bb and A flute d'Amour beside their length/scale?

Thank you in advance for your time and willingness to share your expert guidance.

Kind regards,


Hello Lewis!

I'm glad that my past answer was useful to you, and I believe you'll find the Sankyo and Altus d'amores to be absolutely stunning instruments.

I find the Bb and A versions of d'amore to be very similar in terms of capabilities and tonal qualities, just as C and Db flutes are very similar to one another.  Obviously an A version will play a semitone lower, but it retains the same combination of warmth and definition as the more common Bb version.  Both Bb and A flutes are quite agile instruments as well, with much of the immediacy of response as a good C flute.  

Which you should choose will really come down to your needs and tastes as a musician.  As one of my previous answers mentioned, many d'amores are found in the hands of saxophone doublers who like having a flute that plays in the same key as their tenor and soprano saxes, so for them it makes more sense to have a Bb flute.  In a different context (such as playing some of the original d'amore music from centuries ago), an A flute might be more appropriate.  And of course, you might simply prefer how one flute plays over how the next does, and that's an important consideration too!

All the best in your hunt for a good d'amore.  They're great instruments and I think you'll find quite a lot of enjoyment if you do decide to purchase one.

I hope this is helpful.  If you have any other questions, please don't hesitate to ask.



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Herbert Smith


I can answer questions about almost any flute-related topic.

I have trained professionally as a flute repair tech and music educator, and have a broad range of experiences as a performer. I also have experience with a huge array of flutes with any imaginable material or specification, and can comment on the quality of various instruments, as well as guide people through the flute-buying process. I'm willing and able to discuss various flute gadgets (Valgon rings, Foster extensions, etc.) as well.

I'm very familiar with piccolo, alto, and other harmony flutes (including those in unusual keys, such as Eb flute, Db piccolo, G treble, Ab alto piccolo, Flute D'amore, Contrabass, etc.).

I am also glad to offer advice on how to approach difficulties within pieces of music, offer teaching tips to those who give lessons, or answer just about any other flute-related query you can throw at me!

Please note, however, that I am not an appraisal service, and will not provide estimates of value. Please do not ask me about the value of your flute. I also must decline to date instruments based on their serial numbers.


I'm a professional repair tech with years of experience, and a veteran high school band director. I've maintained a successful studio for private flute lessons for many years, and have performed professionally in just about any imaginable venue.

I have bachelor's degrees in music education and performance from highly regarded universities, and have trained with one of the best flute techs/flute makers in the US.

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