What is the Lopatin Scale?
As a long-time professional flutist, Leonard Lopatin has had considerable experience playing and testing flutes with many different scales. The difficulties that most performers encountered on the "traditional" or "long" scale flutes were well known to him as a student, and as a young player starting out his performance career. In a nutshell, these difficulties were a sharp high register and a flat low register. The reason for this seemed to be that the flute makers of the day had responded to a rising pitch standard simply by shortening the head joint or the upper end of the center joint. Doing so raised the pitch of the flute unevenly, raising the high register more than the low register.
In the early 1970's, Lopatin became aware of the work of Albert Cooper. Cooper had come to the correct conclusion that it was necessary to re-work the spacing of all the tone holes, as well as shorten the overall length in order to raise the three registers equally.
Lopatin found that the scales on flutes which followed Cooper's example were a great improvement. However, it seemed that many of the third octave notes were still sharp, though less so than previously. By further lowering some of the left hand tone holes, those which are used to vent third octave notes, Leonard Lopatin was able to make the highest notes on the flute much more in tune.
No two flutists play the exactly the same way, and there will always be compromises in the tuning of a flute. At Lopatin Flute Company, we feel that our scale will suit the majority of players. However, if a player desires that a different scale be used, this can be done by special request.