Many people have asked me about the measurements of my fujara.
So, I've sat down with ruler and calpiers and tried to do some
measurements my G fujara by Pavol Smutney (photo on the left).
I'm not giving away any
secrets here — it is a long way from dimensions to a good sounding flute!
First of all the caveats:
- The furjara is a curved. The body (and the bore) take the shape from tbe
trunk of the tree (bush) from which it was cut. This makes measurements
challenging. I guess measurements should be done from the center of the
bore, but I didn't have the means / patience for that, so I did the long
measurements (tube length, finger hole locations) on the finger hole side.
This is the "long" side on this flute since the curve is away from the
finger holes. The measurement on the back side of the body shows the
overall body length to be about 0.75″ shorter than the front-side
measurements I give below.
- The inside bore is not concentric with the outside radius.
- The outside radius is not round. It is squashed flatter in the front
(finger hole side) and back versus the side-to-side direction.
- The finger holes are not centered over the bore - they are deeper on one
side than the other. This makes the wall thickness at the finger holes a
very approximate measurement.
- The holes are somewhat eliptical. I've noted length and width below.
- Some measurements were made in inches and some in centimeters.
Conversions to decimal inches are given in parentheses.
- The overall length of the flute is 67.25″ (!) and the length of the
sound chamber is 64.50". The proximal (top) end of the sound hole lines up
with the end of the "plug" which makes the top of the sound chamber. The
end of the plug is flat.
- The sound hole width is 1.12cm (0.44in) wide and 1.06cm (0.42in) long.
There is no movable block. The sound holes uses a recorder-style fipple
arrangement, rather than a Native American flute setup. The fipple edge is a net 158 degrees
sharp (with 180 degrees being a knife-edge). So, the fipple is beveled 68
degrees from vertical.
- Measurements for the bore diameter vary from 2.93cm to 3.14cm. I believe
that it is not intentionally tapered, but was routed out with successively
larger bit sizes to an consistent width. The measurements at the sound
hole, 3 finger holes, and foot end are 2.93cm, 3.04cm, 2.95cm, 3.14cm and
2.98cm, so there does not appear to be an intentional taper. I am guessing
that the intended bore size was around 3.00cm to 3.05cm (1.18in to
1.20in). Since these flutes tend to be bored before they are fully dry,
maybe a 1.25in bit was used and then it shrank.
- Finger hole 1: 44 11⁄16″ from the top of the sound chamber to the center
of the hole, 1.13cm wide, 1.18cm long, 0.43cm deep.
- Finger hole 2: 49 1⁄4″ from the top of the sound chamber to the center of
the hole, 1.14cm wide, 1.22cm long, 0.58cm deep.
- Finger hole 3: 53 15⁄16″ from the top of the sound chamber to the center
of the hole, 1.13cm wide, 1.17cm long, 0.57cm deep.
- The flute is tuned to a low low G — G2 or about 98 Hertz. That's two
octaves below a typical mid-range Native American flute in G.
- The three holes are located 69.3%, 76.2%, and 83.6% down the bore. These
are approximately the typical locations for the bottom three holes on a
- Length to bore ratio of about 55. Typical Native American flute is 13 to 22. Recorders run
around 22. Anasazi flutes and Bulgarian kavals and Japanese shakuhachis
run around 31.
- Because of the length, you don't typically play the lowest note. The
first overblown note is a G3, and that is also not typically played. The
usual lowest note is the second overblow, a D4 (D above middle C). So
written Slovakian fujara songs are usually with D4 as the lowest note, and
are typically in the diatonic Mode 5 (Mixolydian) scale. I believe this is
the same tuning as the Great Highland Bagpipes.
- The finger holes are 4.5+ inches apart. See
for advice on how to get the holes covered!
A final note is that the finger holes are used for more than just getting
the correct note. Trilling or slightly cracking one or another finger hole
will help you hit the correct overtone. When you're 3 octaves up from the
fundamental trying to use just the right breath pressure to hit a
particular overtoned noted, trilling sometimes helps to control which node
or anti-node is re-inforced.