Flutomatic and tuning Bamboo Bansuri (India flute)

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Tell us something.: I play the indian Bansuri which is a bamboo flute. I have an interest in both playing and making such flutes.

Flutomatic and tuning Bamboo Bansuri (India flute)

Post by vinodt »


I am trying to understand how an Indian Bansuri can be tuned. My understanding is that it is tuned to the Just Intonation method (more or less) with the flute I have currently in the key of E which is the top 3 fingerholes closed.

There are 2 pages which seem interesting. I have a few questions on each.

Page 1
This seems simple enough tho Iam not sure what should be the value of coverage?
I did make a PVC based bansuri from this and it seemed more or less in tune tho my talent in pvc working was bad.

Page 2
https://www.music.bracker.uk/Music/Whis ... lator.html
What is Window to end ca. mean? What does Tip mean? Which fingering position determines the key ?

There seems to be a comprehensive tool but its too much for me
https://github.com/edwardkort/WWIDesign ... .3.0-FINAL

Perhaps experts can guide me here? Initially Iam just trying to validate the measurements off my existing bansuri which is more or less well tuned. There doesnt seem to be an easy way to contact the authors of the pages.


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Re: Flutomatic and tuning Bamboo Bansuri (India flute)

Post by Tunborough »

vinodt wrote:There doesn't seem to be an easy way to contact the authors of the pages.
Hans Bracker drops by here now and then, though we haven't heard much from him for a while. You can find contact info on https://www.music.bracker.uk/Main/Contact-Me.html. "ca." is an abbreviation for "circa", which translates as "around" or "approximately", so for a whistle, "window to end ca." would be the approximate distance from the window to the bottom end. For a flute, I think it refers to the distance from the embouchure hole to the bottom end.

I don't know who posted the version of Flutomat on iotic.com. The info page has this to say about the "coverage" parameter:
In practice, different players will prefer covering different amounts of the blow hole with their lips. This makes the blow hole effectively smaller. Changing this quantity will only affect the position of the blow hole - not the other holes. If you have an existing cylindrical flute you like the sound of, it may be useful to try to model it roughly within Flutomat, and adjusting the lip cover percentage, until the blow hole location is in a similar place as for your flute. This will also tell you what lip cover figure to use, when making other, similarly sized flutes.
In other words, model your existing bansuri with it, and tweak the lip coverage until the Flutomat model matches the real instrument.

As for WIDesigner, I can speak to it. Yes, it is more difficult to get started with than the Flutomat versions that you have found. If either of them provides what you need, by all means stick with them. However, once you understand how to use it, WIDesigner can deal with things that Flutomat doesn't:

- Optimizing hole size as well as hole position
- Stopper placement (headspace above the embouchure hole)
- Tuning in the second octave, not just the first
- Cross-fingered notes
- Variations in bore profile

I can help with any WIDesigner questions that the wiki pages don't answer.

You might want to read comments from Geoffrey Ellis on bansuri tuning.
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