Physics of Music - Notes

Native American-like PVC Flute

The PVC Flute below is acoustically similar to traditional Native American Courting Flutes, though no claims are made regarding similarities in style, etc. For this type of flute, the air stream is directed across a hole from the outside of the instrument. A typical Native American flute has a relatively large bore diameter to length ratio compared to classical (European) flutes and recorders.

Air Flow in NA Flutes

Make your own

Materials required: Tools needed: Procedure:

Five hole flute:

Drawing & Dimensions for 5 hole flute


Notes:
One can make a functioning flute using 3/16" circular holes for all the holes, though the volume and tone may not be as nice as what is obtained with the rectangular tone hole.

The notes sounded with all the finger holes closed and with all the holes open should be about 1 octave apart. Making the finger holes (slightly) larger will sharpen the notes, if necessary.

The style and/or dimensions of PVC pipe adapters may vary somewhat from manufacturer to manufacturer. Some modification may be necessary. The dimensions above are measured to the nearest 1/16" for finger hole locations.

Questions/comments: suits@mtu.edu
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