The Complex Flute
A brief history
Click on the photos to enlarge
This remarkable instrument was commissioned in January 2009. It represents the culmination of ideas put forward by the Hungarian flute player and composer, Istvan Matuz, in 1978 and realised by his compatriot Attila Nagy, for a flute with full independence of all keys. A prototype was built by Mr Nagy in 1982 and became known as the Matuz – Nagy Multiphonic Flute. It was essentially an ordinary open-hole Boehm with extra tone holes. Many of the normally-closed cups were perforated, a smaller cup sitting on top and able to be opened independently of the main one. This was possibly the first example of the now well-known “key-on-key” principle seen on all quarter-tone flutes.
For various reasons the instrument never went into production. In 1996 the Spanish player, Julian Elvira, saw this flute and immediately realised he could both improve it and use it to further his career as a contemporary and world music specialist. Another prototype was built, this time in Madrid, by adapting an existing flute; this showed such promise that Julian decided to commission from me a properly engineered instrument incorporating all his latest ideas. This is the Complex Flute.
Since its completion Julian has performed on this extraordinary flute in several countries including Spain, Japan, India, Vietnam and Syria.
He says: “this is an advanced instrument taking the Boehm system to its limits”
Note that the terms referred to in this text are consistent with definitions given in “A Dictionary for the Modern Flutist” by Susan Maclagan.
[All photos in this section of the site by kind permission of Daphne Osmond]