5. The Mechanism
The mechanism or keywork of the flute is found on the body and footjoint - the keys are depressed with the players fingers onto the tone-holes of the flute in order to change the pitch that is produced.
Unlike the tone-holes of wooden instruments, which are normally carved into the body of the instrument, the tone-holes of the modern flute are either extruded or drawn from the body of the tube, or soldered directly onto the tube. In both cases, the tone-holes protrude from the tube by around 5mm at their highest and 1mm at their lowest.
Drawn tone-holes are made by a machine which extrudes them from the tube of the instrument through the use of heat and spinning ball-bearings, and then rolls the top of them down until they are flat and even.
Soldered tone-holes are soldered to the tube by hand, which is a labour intensive and time consuming job. Drawn tone-holes are therefore usually found on most student and mid-range instruments, and it is generally only handmade instruments played by professionals that are made with soldered tone-holes.