Flute Acoustics Essay

Flute Acoustics Essay

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A flute blows a rapid jet of air across the embouchure hole. The pressure inside the players mouth is above atmospheric (usually 1kpa: just enough to support a 10cm height difference in a water manometer). (http://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/) The work done to accelerate the air in this jet is the source of power input to instrument.

Sound requires an oscillating motion or air flow. In the flute, the air jet, and the resonance in the air in instrument produces an oscillating component of the flow. As the air starts to vibrate some of the energy (sound ) is radiated out the ends and through any open holes. Most of the energy is lost as a sort of friction (viscous loss) with the walls. The pitch or note can be altered very slightly by breath and lip adjustment, but if changed completely the length of the air must change.

This is why the holes in the flute are used to remove the constriction of the air at that particular point. The resonance of the air column in the flute mostly determines the playing frequency which is the pitch. (http://newt.phys.unsw.edu.au/music/) Since the...

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