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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 9:39 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
The OP continues to be confused by this topic—but feels better as it seems that confusion is broader than just in his mind. The closest that the article from RudallRose seems to come is in the summary in the intro:
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Once the air in the flute is vibrating, some of the energy is radiated as sound out of the end and any open holes.

This seems to suggest that the sound comes out, to one degree or another, from any open hole,l but I can't tell if it is assuming that the bulk of the sound comes from the embouchure hole. Other comments seem to suggest that the nature of the sound varies depending on the source of the sound leak.

You're not the only one confused about that. I've wondered about how the tone holes contribute anything as well. If the sound is caused by a column of air being "excited" by the air split at the far end of the embouchure hole, then it makes sense to me that you would hear at least a lttle of that resonating air through an open tone hole. But then it gets complicated by however the open hole modulates what we hear, whether it acts as a Helmholtz resonance port, and so on.

I don't know the acoustic theory, but just from practical experience, it doesn't seem to me that much sound is coming from the tone holes. We can get a nice loud D note in both octaves with all the holes covered. If the tone holes were making a significant contribution to the volume, I would expect the D to be weak, and the flute would get progressively louder as more tone hole were opened up, until we get a C# as the loudest note. It doesn't seem to work that way, which to me indicates we're not hearing a significant contribution from the tone holes, except in the sense that venting along the air column contributes to strengthening other notes being played. Well that's my two-bit theory anyway.

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Maybe the OP should just shut up and blow..

Well, we would all be better flute players if we weren't spending time yakking on the Internet instead, but it's too early to wake up the house. So...


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:00 am 
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Conical bore wrote:
If the tone holes were making a significant contribution to the volume, I would expect the D to be weak, and the flute would get progressively louder as more tone hole were opened up, until we get a C# as the loudest note.
Try looking at it like water flowing downhill: the sound takes the easiest way out. With all the toneholes covered, the only ways out are the embouchure hole and the bottom end. As you uncover toneholes, more sound comes out of the open toneholes, and less out of the bottom end.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:05 am 
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Tunborough wrote:
Try looking at it like water flowing downhill: the sound takes the easiest way out. With all the toneholes covered, the only ways out are the embouchure hole and the bottom end. As you uncover toneholes, more sound comes out of the open toneholes, and less out of the bottom end.

If the sound takes the easiest way out, then why doesn't the flute get progressively louder as more tone holes are uncovered? The volume of each individual note is almost perfectly matched with each other on my flute.


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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:25 am 
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Conical bore wrote:
Tunborough wrote:
Try looking at it like water flowing downhill: the sound takes the easiest way out. With all the toneholes covered, the only ways out are the embouchure hole and the bottom end. As you uncover toneholes, more sound comes out of the open toneholes, and less out of the bottom end.

If the sound takes the easiest way out, then why doesn't the flute get progressively louder as more tone holes are uncovered? The volume of each individual note is almost perfectly matched with each other on my flute.


The pressure wave inside the bore exits the flute at the nearest opening. If all holes are closed, the foot of the flute and the embouchure hole are the escape routes. If you open the lowest hole, the pressure wave traveling down the bore will take the nearest exit which is now the open hole. If you open the next hole, it will take that one. This is simplified, I'm sure, since my own understanding of the physics is limited.

So it doesn't get progressively louder because it's not like the pressure wave is escaping out all of the open holes equally. It is going to favor the nearest open hole.

This is what tuning holes do on flutes. I can make something like a Chinese xiao, which has a tone hole matrix below the finger holes, and it also has several inches of flute bore down below the tone holes. But the topmost tone holes effectively cut off the frequency at a certain pitch--literally as if you sawed the foot of the flute off at that point. So when you open each finger hole, its as if you simply cut the bore off at that point. Hope that makes sense.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:46 am 
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So what happens when I work up the scale from the bottom D on a keyless flute? Bottom D is nice and loud, E is softer and lower in volume, F# is louder, etc. The difference seems to be related to the size of the first uncovered hole. What's up with that?

And second octave d generally has the top finger hole open, or all holes can be closed and it's pretty much the same note and volume.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 10:54 am 
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Steve Bliven wrote:
So what happens when I work up the scale from the bottom D on a keyless flute? Bottom D is nice and loud, E is softer and lower in volume, F# is louder, etc. The difference seems to be related to the size of the first uncovered hole. What's up with that?

And second octave d generally has the top finger hole open, or all holes can be closed and it's pretty much the same note and volume.

Best wishes.

Steve


The size of the individual vent hole alters the volume. The open foot (with all holes closed) is pretty big (usually half an inch or more). The next hole (E) is the smallest hole on the flute, typically somewhere between .25" and .3" depending upon the maker. That is quite a bit smaller, so the venting is about half as much. The F# hole is the largest hole, shooting back up to nearly the diameter of the open foot, so the volume jumps again. By the time you get to the G, A and higher notes, the holes are not as large but the frequency is going up. Higher frequencies are perceived as being louder. So even if the C# hole (for example) is quite small, it will sound louder than the F# note, even at a fraction of the size.

When I was at the NFA convention a few years ago, I was not far from a vendor selling piccolos. No matter where you went in this enormous vending hall you could hear the piccolos cutting through the cacophony of hundreds of flute players all testing instruments. High frequencies really travel.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 12:45 pm 
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High frequencies really travel.


That's true, it's why the military used to use fifes.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:19 pm 
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Also it's why it's (IMO) a good idea to learn to play the high notes (especially in the second octave) more softly than the first octave notes. One needs to address the high octave notes with finesse. The flute has a tendency to soar in the second octave, best resisted.


Last edited by jim stone on Thu Mar 28, 2019 2:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 1:33 pm 
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Geoffrey Ellis wrote:
It comes out pretty much everywhere I think :-) Having said that, the embouchure hole is primary. I say this based upon making recordings of the flute in my studio and the microphone tells the story. Also, watch any flute player on stage in front of a mic and notice where the mic is relative to the flute. No one is miking the bottom of the flute, for example.


I tend to agree with Geoffrey, and I haven't seen anybody else present convincing evidence that he's wrong. The embouchure hole is primary, though some sound does come out of the tone holes and the end.

However, being pedantic, I question the terminology. In a recorder, for instance, or a Native American flute, the sound would come primarily from the splitting edge, not from where the player blows into the flute. In transverse flutes, or rim-blown, the emboiuchure hole and the splitting edge are the same place.

Is that just my two cents worth of chaos? :party:

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PostPosted: Thu Mar 28, 2019 3:47 pm 
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Would a pair of sound-detecting devices about six inches apart help in locating the source of the sound?


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 2:50 am 
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Surely the sound must emanate from the edge that splits the wind flow, because without it, you don't get a sound.
The edge must create a turbulence in the air flow, & that must surely be where the sound comes from.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 8:49 am 
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david_h wrote:
Would a pair of sound-detecting devices about six inches apart help in locating the source of the sound?

I think ideally you'd want a recording from an array of several matched capsule mics spaced along the length. One mic at the embouchure hole, two mics aimed at the upper and lower tone holes respectively, and then one mic pointing at the end. Each mic placed exactly the same distance from the body of the flute, maybe 6-8" away? Not too far, because you're interested in isolating different parts of the flute. You'd want the flute clamped in a fixed position for consistency. Maybe with some acoustic baffles between the mics to reduce cross-talk and isolate each one.

Play through a whole tune, and then average the volume of each track and you'd know the contribution from different parts of the flute. A frequency analysis could be interesting too, comparing the harmonics at the embouchure hole to whatever comes out the end.

It might be done with just two matched mics and several different recordings, with one staying at the embouchure hole and the other placed at different locations. It wouldn't be an ideal test method though, because the player won't be using exactly the same amount of breath, embouchure shape, and so on for each run through the tune. It still might give you a rough idea of where most of the sound is coming from.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 9:45 am 
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david_h wrote:
Would a pair of sound-detecting devices about six inches apart help in locating the source of the sound?
:) You might need an extra pair, not attached to the source of the air flow.

More seriously, you'd probably also need some acoustic baffles as Conical Bore suggests.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 10:17 am 
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Just thought of a better way to do it. Get 4 clip-on mini condenser mics, the kind with a mini gooseneck clip. DPA 4099's would be ideal because they're hypercardioid. You probably can't use the included clamps, so just remove the goosenecks from the clamps and tape them to the flute body at embouchure hole, near the two sets of LH and RH tone holes, and at the end. Make sure the goosneck sets each capsule at the same distance from the flute body. Maybe add a little bit of closed-cell foam baffling if it doesn't interfere with playing.

Hey presto, now you don't need to immobilize the flute for external mics. You can play normally for a multi-channel recording to compare volume and harmonics along different parts of the flute. These mics are very lightweight with thin lightweight cables, so you'd hardly notice they were there.

Someone here, do this. :D

I used to have more 4099's in my mic kit, but I'm down to just two right now, so it won't work.


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PostPosted: Fri Mar 29, 2019 12:54 pm 
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when I play the flute I feel air under my fingers, especially if for example, I'm running down the scale. But it's not a rush of air escaping: it's more like "turbulence." I'm sure some sound is escaping though


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