Does a “Small-Handed flute” mean a compromise in responsiveness, voicing, or tonal quality?
Emphatically NO. This flute is essentially one of my own extrapolation and design. My Pratten-based Small-Handed flute began as a strict copy of a Pratten flute by Boosey and Sons. As I made keyless copies of this flute, I found the bottom D to be unstable, until I moved the C# hole upwards a few millimeters towards the embouchure. I eventually, on later copies, moved the remaining finger holes up to be within a more comfortable reach. As time went on, I experimented with slightly different finger placements, bore configurations, embouchure shape, and many other details, always aiming for the goal of an easy to play and wonderful sounding Irish flute in mind. I believe that an Irish flute should fill up easily for both the weak and the strong player, be comfortable on the hands, and support a nice, reedy and firm bottom D, so important in Irish music.