Kingma System® Acoustics

This new design allows the Kingma System player to perform in remarkable new ways. The first and most obvious possibility for the flautist is to play accurate quartertone scales. While a French model flute can produce quarter steps by venting the open holes and shading certain notes with alternative fingerings, the Kingma System flute is able to play a complete chromatic quartertone scale through all the registers. It is possible to half-vent every key on the Kingma System, not just the open hole keys. This means that the flautist can now play accurately all of the quarter steps from e.g. F# to G #or from Bb to D. This aspect of the flute makes nonwestern types of music far more accessible to any player, and also provides some interesting special effects for the jazz player. The second acoustic advantage of this instrument is its ability to produce unique multiphonics. Because the flute is able to vent all the normally covered keys, chromatic progressions of multi-phonics can be produced. As a result of this, there are some marvelous compositional opportunities built into this flute. It is possible, for example, to play "triple stops," starting with fundamentals in the low register and moving chromatically up the scale with "triple stops" as keys are sequentially vented. The practiced player can play not only chromatic scales on this flute, but chromatic quarter-steps and chromatic multiphonics as well.

The final acoustic advantage of this instrument is one that both players and listeners can appreciate: superb pitch control. For years, players have used "sensitive fingerings" on difficult notes to match intonation with other instruments. Perhaps the biggest advantage of the French model flute is that it allows the flutist to close a ring on a key in order to shade the pitch down, or to pull the finger slightly off a hole in order to shade the pitch up. With the Kingma System flute, this possibility has been developed to its fullest. With the opportunity to vent what have traditionally been closed holes, the flautist has incredible opportunities to alter notes that would otherwise be "off". Two notes immediately come to mind: the high G and the high Ab. The Kingma System allows the player to shade these notes down by closing rings, specifically the F# or the G# ring, respectively. One can confidently play these notes fff without going sharp. Additionally, the Kingma System creates unique opportunities for alternative fingerings, such as on the high F#. In this case, there are at least three alternative fingerings that result in a stable high F# at various pitch/dynamic levels. For the flautist who plays in a great variety of ensembles, or circumstances, the pitch-control capabilities of this instrument are invaluable.

Professional Opinions

Pahud Ziegler Emmanuel Pahud and Matthias Ziegler

Emmanuel Pahud: "I am deeply impressed by the quality and playability of the Kingma System® Flute. It is a great challenge to find out how well one can play 'normal' standard repertoire and go for improvisation and new music with the same instrument. I believe this is contributing to the future of music and fluteplaying, opening new doors on new fields of developments."

Matthias Ziegler: "The Kingma System® Flute bridges the gap between the music of the past and the future. From barock ornaments to a limitless choice of chromatic multiphonics, extreme changes of dynamics and glissandi. Finally we have an instrument in our hands which enables us to express our musical imagination in the fields of interpretation and improvisation. This instrument is a true motor of creativity."

Robert Dick: "... The Kingma System® flute is a very radical expansion of the flute's possibilities. It might not seem as such a big thing, but it is really Mega when we will look what will happen in expanding the instruments' musicality. Having a Kingma System® flute made my life so much better."

Carla Rees: "'The Kingma system® is a unique and revolutionary design which has changed the future of the flute. The system is fuel for the imagination, providing a huge variety of alternative fingerings, microtones, multiphonics and other techniques, and allows composers and performers to create ground-breaking work and to extend the expressive and musical capabilities of the flute. My work encompasses the C flute, alto and upright bass Kingma system instruments, and composers throughout the world have embraced the capabilities of these flutes, producing over 600 works so far in a range of styles. For me, the Kingma System® is an essential part of every day flute playing, and the possibilities it offers have completely shaped both my career and the status of the alto and bass flute as solo, recital instruments." Carla Rees published two very informative websites about the Kingma System Altoflute and the Bassflute.

alto bass

Wissam Boustany: "When I decided to switch to the Kingma System® Brannen flute, my plan was to use it to develop more subtleties and expressive opportunities in contemporary and ethnic/folk music, which I am very keen on. What came as a TOTAL surprise, however, was my discovery of so many alternative fingering opportunities in traditional 'classical' music as well, leading to far more flexiblity of pitch and timbre in my playing generally. Lesson: A person never knows what they are missing - until they have been exposed to it."

Patrick Gallois: "Eva Kingma is not only a flutemaker, she has a vision of our future. Her 1/4 tone keys flute is the most interesting progress I saw in my flute life. The first wooden Kingma System® flute made by Eva Kingma and Chris Abell was ordered by me and I very often play it."

Marion Garver Fredrickson: "...Eva was displaying her contrabass proto-type at the National Flute Association Convention in 1999 (Atlanta). I was so thrilled to play it that I ended up staying in her booth for most of the convention. I have spent my NFA conventions there since! I am very happy with all of my Kingma instruments- I love the versatility, which I have used in all my projects, whether it be jazz, contemporary classical, funk, electronica and even the Jethro Tull tribute band of which I was once a member. On each of my instruments it takes some time to learn all the intricacies of the keys and sound, but I am always learning new ways to use them."

Anne La Berge: "I have played the Brannen Kingma and the Kingma Alto flutes almost daily for more than seven years and used them in performances that range from virtuoso modern music to free improv with interactive electronics. The abundant fingering combinations combined with a fine blowing flexibility offer me a seemlingly endless source of sonic possibilities. I still love the sounds that I continue to find. They allow me to make the music that says what I need to say. They keep my fantasy alive and hard at work."


Animation 1
For an animation of a Kingma System Flute for the C up, G up, F sharp up and the D up keys. [...]

Dissertation Fether
Deborah Fether wrote a dissertation titled: "A Discussion of Contemporary Flute Designs and Issues Surrounding these Developments" for the City University of London. [...]

Animation 2
For an animation of a Kingma System Flute for the B up, B flat up and C sharp trill keys. [...]

Article by Bijsterveld and Schulp
Karen Bijsterveld and Marten Schulp mention the Kingma System extensively in their article: "Breaking into a World of Perfection: Innovation in Today's Classical Musical Instruments". [...]

Fingering Chart
A fingering chart by Ann LaBerge. [...]

NYU Dissertation by Shiung
A Dissertation: "The Brannen-Cooper Kingma System flute: A resource thesaurus of multiphonic production capability (2007)" by Cindy Ying Shiung. [...]

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